"Friends help you move. Good Friends help you move bodies." ~ Anonymous
I figure this is a one ... maybe two-body coat rack. - lol.
I built this for a Good Friend. The dimensions are a little peculiar because it was designed for a specific spot in a specific house. If I was going to build it for a less specific location, I might have added another 2-3" in depth to it - but as it is it works very well.
Cost was around $600, but that's a rough estimate because of ever-changing lumber prices and what material you might choose to use. My materials of choice here were quarter-sawn White Oak ( which is a little spendy but traditional) - Hard Maple, Baltic Birch Plywood, Tempered Hardboard, cast iron hardware, and a custom plate-glass beveled mirror.
Overall dimensions: 78" H x 32" W x 16" D
A Few Notes:
1) A number of dimensions are going to vary based on YOUR particular build - specifically the thickness of your panels which will drive the width of the dadoes you cut as well as the thickness of some parts ("K"). I glued-up and flattened all my panels by hand (no fancy panel sanders in MY shop, buddy), so my final thickness was not *exactly* 3/4" (maybe 1/32" less) - and I adjusted my dado width and the thickness of part "K" accordingly - so keep in mind you'll have to pay attention to how that might affect your assembly and part dimensions.
2) This design is based on solid-wood construction which comes with a few details that have to be considered - specifically compensating for expansion/contraction across the grain. Building the case with plywood or veneered MDF would eliminate the need for these details.
3) I'm going to be a *little* lax in regards to illustrating all of the dimensions - mainly because I'm including a SketchUp model from which dimensions can be taken directly. I'll try to hit most of the high points - but I hope you'll forgive me if I miss something - remember you can always get it from the SketchUp model. (If you don't have SketchUp, you can download it here: http://sketchup.google.com/ )
4) Unfortunately, there is a lack of "in process" pictures. I'm not sure what happened to the ones I took, but I wasn't able to find them all (dagnabit!). I'm trying to make up for that with lots of illustrations.
5) The hardware I used was sourced from a company that has since gone out of business. Do a search for "Arts and Crafts Hardware" or "Craftsman Hardware" or "Mission Hardware" and you're likely to find something very similar. I used moderately priced, good-quality hardware - just be aware that there's a huge range in price without a huge range in functionality - so shop around. As always, I recommend having hardware in-hand before making any kinds of construction/design decisions.
Step 1: Pieces and Parts
On Sanding: It's a good idea to sand all your parts to finish level BEFORE you go assembling things. Yes, you'll have to probably sand a few areas again, but it's SO much less tedious to do it when you can set a part on a bench and sand it there, as opposed to trying to sand into some small corner while practicing your contortionist act and praying you don't put a bunch of cross-grain scratches into neighboring pieces. Just be careful not to round over ends or edges.
The images above contain a parts list and bill of materials. I've also included a SketchUp model from which you can take measurements. Once again, if you don't have SketchUp, you can download it here: http://sketchup.google.com
NOTE: Just FYI - To see the full-sized images of the Bill of Materials, click on the small "i" in the box at the upper left corner of the image - it will send you to a new page displaying just that image. Under the image on the new page, there will be a link next to the words "original file" to open or download the full-sized version.
Step 2: Lumbering Along....
Take your time and lay out all your pieces you'll want to get from your stock - I usually trace them out roughly on the boards with chalk. The boards I chose had an interesting streak in them, and through careful layout I was able to "wrap" that around the case and use it as a design element in the drawer fronts.
2) Once the main panels were glued and trued, I was ready to move on to jointing and dimensioning the other parts. FYI, I use a hand-held belt sander and some simple techniques for flattening panels. You really don't *have* to have a panel sander.
3) Note: It's critical that the legs be square and straight. Cut the front and back legs to length. Use the top edge of the front legs to establish the bottom edge of the 1/8" deep dadoes that wrap around the back legs. This will ensure that your table top sits flush front to back.
4) Cut the dadoes in the backs of the Front Legs and the front of the Rear Legs - width should be based on the thickness of your panels. Be sure to set up stops so that you don't overshoot when cutting the dadoes that run along the length of the Rear Legs - and **mark your sides** - it's very easy at this stage to cut the wrong side, or use the wrong offsets. Just take your time - "measure twice, cut once" is sage advice.
5) Cut the "wrap around" dadoes that will capture the "tabs" on the outside edges of the table top. These dadoes *could* only be cut on the outside only - they're there to capture that little "tab" of wood and support it - but that would require a perfect cutout in the table top - and I'm not that precise ;)
6) Cut the tapers on the legs on the *insides* only. I cut 1/2" tapers over 4" of height. These can be cut a number of ways (chop saw is probably easiest) but however you do it, clean up the faces at this point since it will be much easier at this stage to work on them.
Step 3: Gettin' Framed
8) Using any technique you choose (I use the bent-board technique) go ahead trace out and cut the ~3/4" arches on parts E, G, and the side panels, S.
9) Go ahead and cut your Top Cap ("T") to width and length.
10) The Mirror Frame Side Rails could be cut to ROUGH length at this point - you'll cut them to exact length later (add 1/2" to be sure).
11) The Case Braces ("A") could also be cut at this point. For the most efficient use of wood, make your cuts in your stock alternate as you go - like this: / \ / \ not this: /|\ /|\ /|\ /|\ (I hope that makes sense ;) - you'll have a lot less waste.
Baby Got Back:
12) Assemble and glue up the back frame parts: O, G, D, and B using biscuits joints. NOTE: You will NOT install the Case Back Middle Rail Upper ("C") at this point. Make sure that the top of D is flush with the bottom of the wrap-around dados cut in the back legs, and make sure that the Coat Hook Rail ("G") is flush with the tops of the Rear Legs ("O").
Baby Got Front:
13) Assemble and glue up the front frame pieces F, E, and N using bisciut joints. Use the position of the bottom edge of the side panels to determine the position of the Case Front Rail Lower ("F") - i.e. they should be the same distance from the bottoms of the legs.
Step 4: Starting to Take Shape
13) To install the Side Panels ("S"), you can either use a chisel to clean out the length-wise dados, or, notch the upper back corner of the side panel - whatever works for you. I glued the panels to the front frame assembly first, let that dry, and then attached that whole assembly to the back frame. I did it in two steps because I didn't want to wrestle with 4 joints that had to be kept flush and aligned all at the same time - two is enough of a challenge.
14) Once the main carcass is assembled, it's time to install the corner braces. I realize that this isn't the "traditional" way to assemble this kind of carcass - but it's plenty strong in this application. I've stood on this piece and did my best Elvis impression to test it's strength, and it passed ;). There are 8 corner braces - and you should note that the top 4 have an additional hole drilled in their middle. This hole should be made larger in diameter than the screws you will use to fasten the top down with. Why? Because you will want to allow the top to "move" with changes in humidity, and the oversized holes will allow this movement without loosening the screw or the top (use a button head screw and oversized washer).
Step 5: Fit the Top
16) When the glue had cured, I went ahead and installed the Case Back Middle Rail Upper ("C") with three biscuits installed between the case top and C. There is no glue or mechanical attachment between C and the Rear Legs ("N") - it's not really necessary - the joint between the rail and the table top is very strong.
Step 6: Let There Be Drawers
18) After building the drawers, I installed the Drawer Runner Rails ("K"). These parts were thicknessed so that they were flush with the inside face of the front legs - they really just serve as spacers. I chamfered the edges of the K parts a small amount - just to ensure that there were as few places to snag or drag on when opening and closing drawers. These were screwed and glued (lightly) in place.
19) I installed the Mirror Frame Side Rails at this point. Set them in place and transfer your cut lines to the pieces. Remember that the top cut outs will not be square due to the arc in the Coat Hook Rail ("G"). I installed them with glue and screws - the screws being more expedient than necessary - but any additional mechanical attachment is always welcome. You could cut the rabbet in the rails at this point to accept the mirror. I used a rabbet bit in a router and cut a rabbet all the way around the mirror frame opening (in parts C, G and P). Make your first passes light and build up to the depth you want - again, take your time. Once this opening is cut, make a cardboard template of the mirror, take it to a glass shop, and have them cut a plate glass mirror for you. I had a 1" bevel ground as well to give it a more classic look. You may as well take the template in before you're done because I've never seen a glass shop do something like this quickly. Cost for the mirror was about $85.
20) I installed the Top Cap ("T") with three biscuits and glue - keeping the back flush with the back of the Coat Hook Rail ("G").
21) The thickness of the Drawer Runners ("L") is obtained by taking the dimension of the drawer opening, minus the dimension from the drawer dado bottom to dado bottom, divided by two, and subtract an additional 1/32." Yes, that's an ideal and you'll probably have to do some fitting, but that formula should get you close and will give you a 1/16" of total "slop" and will provide smooth running drawers that can't hit the sides of the legs. You will want to drill a close-fitting hole for the front mounting screw and make a slot for the back screw so that the case can grow and shrink without changing the position of the front edge of the runners which in turn control the depth that the drawer faces sit at.
22) With the drawer runners mounted and the drawers fitted, it was time to install the drawer fronts. After drilling the holes for the hardware, I installed screws through the back of the front faces of the drawer boxes (pointy-side out) with about 1/16" of tip showing. The bottom drawer front ("H") was spaced with 1/16" shims from the bottom and sides, and while holding the face, I pulled the drawer box up against it to transfer the position of the screws. Pilot holes were drilled where the screws left "dimples" and then the drawer face was set back in place and the screws driven home to secure it to the drawer box. Once this was done, I moved on to the next drawer face and installed it the same way. The top drawer face is a little harder since you can't reach through to grab the drawer to slide it forward to do the marking, but a friend can help with that ;)
Step 7: Finish It Off
24) Once the finish is all thoroughly dry (give it a few days), reassemble the drawers. To make the drawers function smoothly (up until this point, they'll act pretty "sticky" because they're so short) you'll want to wax the drawer runners and dadoes. I use a plain paraffin block that I bought at the grocery store - but you could use a candle as well, I suppose. I found the best method was to soften the wax with a blow-dryer or heat gun (be careful with a heat gun!!), rub the bearing surfaces with the wax, and then kind of melt the wax onto the surface with the blow-dryer/heat gun. You'll be amazed at how smoothly the drawers function. On that note, if you have children, you may want to install some kind of drawer stop - chains, tabs, whatever - to keep the drawers from being pulled all the way out - it's pretty easy to do with a drawer that's so short.
25) At this point, go ahead and make the Mirror Backing Panel ("Q") and Rear Bottom Panel ("R") and install "R" with screws. Install your hardware per the manufacturer's instructions in a visually appealing arrangement on the Coat Hook Rail. Carefully remove the wooden "shoes" on the bottoms of the feet, and install metal feet (or the feet of your choice) in their place. Set the mirror in place and install the Mirror Backing Panel with screws.
Enjoy your new Arts&Crafts Coat Rack :)