Mid-Century Modern Dresser

I finally finished my first commissioned piece, and my largest project yet — a mid-century modern dresser.


The case is mitered cherry veneer plywood, and the drawers are solid cherry and poplar. The finish is “Candlelight” gel stain and satin Arm-R-Seal . The knobs are from North Woods Hardware.


It is mitered both on the case joints, for a seamless edge, and on the face frame. Mitering these large pieces accurately was a challenge. I built a large crosscut sled for the table saw just for these miters:


Which produced nice results (here, you can see the edge banding applied to the face miters, while the to-be-joined miters are raw):


I joined them with dowels – yes, dowels – using the DowelMax jig, six on each joint:


The case has two trim pieces: one horizontal piece separating the upper small drawers from the rest, and one vertical piece. These were challenging also in that they are curved, and meet at a curve. I cut this joint by hand:


Here’s where that joint appears:


The drawers are made of poplar. I decided to do these using box joints. Here’s the end result:


And here’s a rather dramatic picture of the unfinished drawer:


I finished the outside of the drawers with amber shellac. I would not choose amber shellac again; perhaps unsurprisingly, it gave the drawers too yellowish a tint.

Side note: I went ahead and uploaded the following picture of the drawer onto the Wikipedia page for “finger joint“:


All in all, I’m pleased with the result:



3 thoughts on “Mid-Century Modern Dresser

  1. This is beautiful work! May I ask a question re: the poplar drawers & the gel stain. You have absolutely no blotching – they’re gorgeous. Did you precondition and/or rough sand before staining?


    1. Thank you! The gel stain was on the cherry, which takes stain well, and the poplar drawers got only shellac – no stain. So no preconditioners!


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