A dresser made from junk
I had been thinking about building a drawer cabinet for my big garage workshop when I came across some drawers on the curb, along with two sides of what was once a dresser. I figured, reusing these, I could get something with drawers for much less work.
I started with the bottom, measuring the spacing of the dowels in the sides along the bottom edge, then drilling holes of the same spacing in a piece of MDF using a doweling jig
There is something ingenious about how so much furniture today is put together with just knock-down fasteners, often assembled by the customers on site (if it's from Ikea). But these knock down fasteners are not very strong. If people also glued the dowels, the furniture would last much longer.
Here I'm applying glue to the dowels...
Cutting out a back panel with my table saw sled from some recycled plywood. This used to be the back of a bookcase that I helped a neighbour dismantle.
I attached the back with glue and nails, just for good measure.
The back helps stabilize the dresser against side-to-side deflection.
For the top of the dresser, I wanted to use some particle board that I picked up from the garbage just for this purpose. But particle board is not that stiff, and if the top flexes too much, it hits the top drawer.
Clamped together, waiting for the glue to dry. I used my long reach C-clamps to clamp the far edge.
I considered various alternatives for attaching the top. I could have just doweled it to the sides, but the particle board I used for the top wasn't that nice, and maybe some day I'll want to use this dresser in a house and make a nicer top for it.
I could have used knock down fasteners (the holes were already there), but these aren't that strong. Or I could have used pocket holes, but I don't have a pocket hole jig (because I rebel against the notion that pocket holes can substitute for proper joinery)
So instead, I glued a rail, with screw holes already in it, to the inside edges of the sides. This just barely fits without hitting the drawers.
I also reinforced the drawers. They were assembled without any glue, and with the drawer bottom being quite loose. But the drawer bottom was the only thing that held them square, so they had quite a bit of give to them.
Taking the drawer fronts off was as simple as undoing the knock-down fasteners and pulling the front off. I pulled out the bottom, glued it in, then glued the front back on. This made them much more rigid.
The brad nails really hold in the particle board, but it's tricky. Some of the nails for holding the bottom just went inside the drawers, and a few poked out through the front of the drawers. So brad nailing isn't something I'd necessarily recommend.
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