Michael’s Nightstand/Mini Dresser
By Michael Korostelev from Philadelphia, PA
Added on March 4, 2015
First of all, thanks to Marc for all the free content he provides. I used many of the techniques he shows in this project. Popping the curly maple figure, installing drawer pulls, and especially the table saw sled.
This is my fourth project and first with a table saw and router. Previously, I just built stuff with a Harbor Freight biscuit joiner. After getting pretty confident with cutting a straight line and gluing some wood together, I asked the girlfriend what she wanted me to make her for Christmas. She asked for a nightstand, so I drew one in sketch-up. After all with a good plan, it should only take me a couple weeks. Took about 9 months of weekends!
I started by making the drawers first. I figured since there are 9 of them, there will be a lot of very repetitive work so I might as well set up stop blocks and fences how I need them and cut them all at once. That worked out okay. I did sliding dovetails all the way around on a router table. With some chiseling and sanding, they fit together. Some were looser than others though. Before moving on to the cabinet, I finished the inside oak by wiping 2 lb shellac. This took probably a week by itself. The drawer fronts are curly maple from a board I was lucky to find at a big box store. I popped the figure with dye like Marc recommended and was really satisfied with the results. The fronts were then covered with a few wipe-on coats of poly and a full strength brushed coat on top.
The cabinet is mitered all the way around with 1/2 inch maple plywood sides and back. The poplar frame is really what holds it together though, and is done with lap joints. I made the ogee looking feet by making coves on a table saw and planing the top curve. These feet are probably what I’m most proud of in this thing.
The top is solid maple with a oak inlay finished the same way as the drawers, wipe-on poly and brush top coat. I found that I get really good results if I wet sand up to 2000 grit right before the last coat of poly.
I’m really happy overall with the way it came out. I would do a lot of things differently though. Some of which are: Build the case first and the drawers second; don’t rush to finish individual pieces before gluing the big stuff together; and don’t touch the finish before it’s dry (even if it is “probably dry”).