Shaker dresser finishing touches – FineWoodworking

I prefer oil-based wiping varnishes when finishing cherry. They’re easy to apply and produce a pleasing richness as the patina deepens over time. I finish all exterior cherry surfaces and both sides of the top with two to three coats of Waterlox original sheen before adding a final topcoat of Waterlox satin sheen. For a traditional touch, I use a scrub plane to subtly scallop the outside faces of the back boards before installing them, leaving a tactile surprise whenever someone runs their hand there. All interior surfaces, the back boards, and the underside of the dresser are sealed and finished with two thin coats of clear shellac. (The interior is easy to finish with the rear dividers removed.) Drawer interiors and sides also get clear shellac, lightly sanded with 320-grit sandpaper, and buffed with paste wax.

Tom placing a light colored piece of wood in slots mounted in the case.
Install the dust partitions and rear dividers. The dust partitions are a traditional touch, so McLaughlin takes the traditional route by beveling their undersides to fit into the web frames’ grooves. After those are in, slide the rear dividers in place dry, and screw the top one to the drawer guide.
Shims help space shiplapped backboards. Starting on one end and moving over, install the
boards with screws. Temporarily placing 1⁄16-in. shims between each keeps them evenly aligned.

You can get the full-size plans for this project at Tom’s website!


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