This is my first Instructable and hopefully one you like.
This Instructable will show you how to extend the top on a dresser for use as a changing table. The technique can be used for anything you need to extend and cleanly. All the attachments are hidden and the extension can easily be removed when you no longer need it yet the piece will be largely unaffected. You could easily restore the piece when done by simply filling your holes with dowels.
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Step 1: The Problem
We needed a place for a changing table and we didn't like those you could affordably buy...enter the dresser. The problem was that deep set shelves above it overhung and we didn't want to knock our baby unconscious. So, we pulled it out from the wall, but now there is a gap where things would fall. I came up with a decent solution that will not cause any visible changes to dresser when we want to no longer use it as a changing table.
Step 2: Measurements
First measure the length of the dresser and cut a board to length. I had some scrap 4/4 laying around that was the same thickness of the top. 4/4 (said four quarter) is truly four quarter inches thick in its finished form. Most lumber you buy as a 2x4 is not that actual size because that is the rough cut dimension before all the sanding is done.
My wife wanted the table to stick out about 5 inches further from the wall so I set the fence on my table saw at 5 inches. You could do it any distance needed and could be even buy the needed width the ft the shelf.
Rip your lumber down. Be sur to keep your blade just above the thickness of the wood to minimize mishaps.
Step 3: A Minute on Safety.
As you can see when you use salvaged lumber you don't know what you will find, including nails. Wear hearing and eye protection. I wear a respirator and forgot my eye covers....thus the bloody tear from the piece of nail that hit my eye.
Step 4: Shaping the Edges
Using a rasp begin to shape the edges. I initially was going to use a coping saw but that was too tough. The aggressive rasp made quick work of it. Then use more and more fine grade of sandpaper till you are happy with things. I used 80 then 120 grit. Once finished. Stain it.
Step 5: Preparing Method of Attachment
I wanted the attachment to be clean. Not only clean i wanted it to cause minimal damage to the dresser. Solution....Pegs/dowels and holes. I had some left over dowel from a prior project so I cut some in about 3-4 inch long pieces. The exact length does not really matter just so as to be long enough to prevent wobbling.
Drill your holes at evenly spaced intervals. I used a drill press so my pegs would be closer to straight instead of completely crooked. If you have no drill press then using a hand drill is fine. Just try to drill straight in all directions (up and down, left and right). I purposefullly drilled the hole a little larger than the dowel so to allow for adequate glue to coat the surfaces. Let it dry.
Step 6: Preparing the Piece
Mark your peg location and drill. As you can see my pegs are a little crooked. I would like to say this was on purpose but it's not. It did however work to my advantage. I drilled the holes in the furniture a little larger than the dis,ever of my dowels. This allowed relatively easy install but the angles pegs made for a snug fit.
Step 7: Put It Together....and Voila
Slide the pegs into the holes and put it all together. You now have a final product. (I know, I know, the color is not a perfect match but not bad considering my father in law stained it 30 years ago with God only knows what color.) Now we don't have to worry about things falling behind the changing table dresser nor do we need to worry about knocking her unconscious . Cheers. Enjoy.