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Cherry Nightstands (2006)


Our new daughter was born on Jan 30, 2006, so the rush is on to finish the furniture for the nursery. These are the second and third pieces for the room - a set of nightstands in cherry. The first piece was a matching double dresser.


This project is based on plans from Woodsmith Magazine, although I heavily modified the construction and materials of their piece. I chose cherry and cherry ply for all the "show" surfaces (top, fronts, sides, legs, etc) and soft wormy maple for the drawer secondary wood (5/4 stock resawn to 1/2" final thickness). The drawers are dovetailed by hand at all corners and the fronts are applied. I snapped a few pics of the dovetail process and put together a quick how-to web page here. As usual, I spent a lot of time fussing over the drawer reveals so that they were even on all sides of the drawers.

The finish is a padded spit coat of blonde shellac for blotch control, 3 brushed coats of Waterlox Sealer/Finish, and a wiped-on custom-mixed top coat of 45% Waterlox S/F and 45% Waterlox Satin and 10% mineral spirits. I did several test boards to choose this finish, and it won out over many shellac, varnish, and lacquer products. The finished color is nice and "natural", and we're looking forward to watching the cherry slowly darken over time as our daughter matures along with it.

We took a long time to decide on the drawer pulls. In the end we chose a pull that would be attractive to a young girl, but I also made a set of matching turned cherry knobs so that she could change the pulls to something more "grown-up" as she grows up. I'm not sure I like these all that much but SWMBO really loves them on these pieces.

I rushed these pieces just a bit, and there a few small flaws that I had to deal with as a result. The finish will need to be rubbed-out and waxed in a few weeks after the varnish fully cures, but they're already put into service holding baby monitors, bottles, and books.


Copyright 2006 Chris Billman