Honduras Mahogany Dresser

Viewer Project - By Tom Buhl from Santa Barbara, CA
Added on April 29, 2009

Dresser is primarily Honduras Mahogany with Beech internals, Philippine Mahogany drawers and Walnut pulls. A mongrel design (I mean hybrid?)

Sources of design: Began with a Will Neptune article, Anatomy of a Chest of Drawers (2003 May/June Fine Woodworking). From the Summer 2008 Woodwork Magazine I loved Christopher Schwarz article, A Better Blanket Chest Design. That supplied inspiration for the plinth. I used dovetails rather than finger joints. Mark Edmundson wrote about NK-style drawer construction in A Better Way to Build Drawers (The New Best of Fine Woodworking). I decided to give it a try. I havent seen them mentioned in any other articles, on-line or in print. After making these I still havent decided if I like them functionally or from a construction standpoint better than others Ive used. Any thoughts on this from Wood Whisperer fans?

The November/December 2008 issue of Fine Woodworking arrived just as it was time to figure out the door pull treatment. One of the Four Custom Pulls that Please the Eye by Michael Fortune struck me as perfect. Lastly, the top molding. Trying to decide on basic size/proportions, I held a scrap of drawer runner against the case, below the top. Eureka. I modified the drawer runner with chamfer and round over and was very pleased.

Two disasters: Just as the plinth was completed it fell and bounced on the rough concrete of my driveway. Ouch! The structure survived nicely. Thank you, Christopher. But a corner had nasty gouges and tears as well as a few other bashings. At that point I knew this would be a ?country” piece. Later, as I foolishly stacked drawers on a rolling cart, one of them fell on that same nasty concrete. Direct hit to a drawer front corner. More sanding and acceptance of ?the process being more important than the product.”

Problems?: Of course! When selecting the Mahogany, I liked the look of the 8/4 offerings much better than the 4/4. So this seemed like a good time to try resawing. I used a 3/4-inch Wood Slicer. As soon as the blade exited the wood, that lovely wood sprung to open up huge cups (and/or bows) in each half. Of course I proceeded to cut all of my stock with similar results. By the time I milled the material true it was 5/8-ish rather than the 3/4 I had planned on. On the positive side this saves weight if I ever have to ship it by air. Just doing my part to lessen the carbon footprint.

Construction Details: The plinth is a dovetailed box with two horizontal supports that are glued into rabbets. Case is screwed into those pieces (no glue). The half-blind dovetailed case has a full top and bottom allowing the show top and plinth to be created without considering case integrity. Case has dadoes for horizontal and vertical dividers with exposed dovetails the three front most inches. Horizontal dividers are mortise and tenon frames, Mahogany for front stile and Beech for other pieces. Vertical dividers, same depth as horizontal stiles on top row are separate pieces, glued in place. Beech dividers float in dadoes since the grain runs opposite of other case members. Bottom molding is simple bevel with small lips at top and bottom. Top molding, mentioned earlier, is a bit more detailed but still rather clean. Finished with five coats of 1:1:1, semi-gloss poly:linseed oil: mineral spirits and then waxed.


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