Thomas Walnut Dresser: Progress Update

Tomorrow I will officially be one week behind my delivery date for the dresser. Luckily the customer I’m working understands. One of the reasons I picked the dresser as the first official project for Upper Cut is because of the challenge of the piece, the design elements I’d be responsible for, and the coolness of the customer.

GAKMAN has been helping every Sunday night, and it really helps to move things along. It is amazing how fast you can move with two people, one on each side of the bench.

Here is what is done, and what’s left:

Completed Work

  1. All materials and hardware have arrived (knobs, slides, wood)
  2. All solid wood has acclimated, been rough sized, and the twisting and turning has slowed down
  3. New tools necessary for the build have been bought or built (eight 5’ clamps, router bits, crosscut sled, router dado guide, etc.)
  4. Sides are at final size, and the dados for the dust frames and bottom are done
  5. Top, back, and bottom are at final size
  6. Stock for drawer boxes is rough sized; these also have a finish applied (easier to do before they are built)
  7. Finish has been tested – feels smooth and looks good!
  8. The dustframes (horizontal pieces between drawer banks) are done including dadoes for dividers
  9. The dividers (vertical pieces between drawers) are done
  10. The bottom feet are done!

Remaining Work

  1. Assemble the dustframes as a sub-assembly
  2. Assemble the dustframe sub-assembly into the carcass (top, bottom, sides, back)
  3. Attach feet
  4. Build and install drawer boxes
  5. Size, trim, and install drawer fronts; install drawer pulls
  6. Sand and finish

Some Highlights

  • The bottoms look awesome. I left them just shy of five inches so I can put felt pads on the bottom.
  • I made an extra bottom in case the dresser sags in the middle. If we can live without it, I think it will look better, but if we need it, it’s done.
  • The complicated dustframes are done! Built and assembled yesterday, trimmed and dadoed tonight.
  • The finish looks awesome and is smooth
  • The sides look great – they are book matched and have interesting patterns (but aren’t wacky)
  • The dustframe on this piece is more complicated than other dressers because of the asymmetric drawers (which are a really nice feature)
  • The drawer fronts are coming from one piece with continuous grain, which will look fantastic

Schedule Impact

I think I’m about 2-4 weeks out depending on the amount of shop time I can carve out. This is a fun, challenging build and will really start to move once the carcass is assembled. Building drawers can move very fast once you get the jigs and tools setup. I want to make sure I include enough proper time for sanding and plenty of coats of finish.

One thought on “Thomas Walnut Dresser: Progress Update


    Good times in the shop last night! It’s great fun, and will be too cool to see the final product.

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