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Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

author-gravatar Kevin0611 Apr 22, 2019

My son’s room is on the small side so by combining this Mike Pekovich-inspired chest of drawers with Chris Becksvoort’s plans for a desk hidden in a drawer (AKA a “butler’s desk”) I was able to give him plenty of storage along with a workspace. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

We went with cherry to match the furniture in his room. Also, it’s a great wood to work with both hand tools and power tools. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

The legs taper slightly as they reach the top and intersect with this cove detail. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

The top is just two boards and have a gentle arc on the ends and an undercut curved bevel on the edges. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

Half-blind dovetails in the front and they dovetails in the back on all the drawers in this piece. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

Instead of using plywood for the rear panel, I used some thin cherry I had laying around. It is shiplapped and set into grooves. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

The sides of the piece are frame and panel construction. All solid cherry. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

The desk slides out partway before it hits stop blocks. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

Here you can see the button catches with keep it closed. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

When the button catches are pressed you can fold down the drawer front 90 degrees to give yourself a writing surface, room for a keyboard and access to the cubbie drawers. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

All brass hardware is from Ball & Ball in Pennsylvania. Tricky but fun to install. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

The router was put on a swivel to rout out a smooth arc on the side for the quadrant stay to fit into. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

More dovetails. All handcut. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

I saved a certain board to get a nice grain match across the four cubbie drawer faces. Interesting grain but still not too loud. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

Secret drawer #1 is revealed by sliding out a second drawer in the back. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

Secret drawer #2 is a small mitered box that tucks away in the back of the drawer pocket and looks like a back panel as it’s plain. There is a magnet mounted on the inside that allows you to slide it out by using another magnet. These were a blast to design and build!

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk
Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

My boy and I. He loves it and we got to spend quality time together designing it and planning out parts together. Needless to say, his favorite part is the secret drawers!

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

Here’s the frame of the case. A combination of traditional mortise and tenons and Domino joints were used. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

Putting a chamfer on the leg bottoms. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

I tried this technique, tapping a sharpened card scraper in the kerf,  to cut the half blind dovetail waste. Still not sure if it saved enough time to justify it. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

Putting the curved bevel on the table top edges. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

For the desk case I used the specially ground table saw blade to cut the tails. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

Dry fitting the desk case into the opening. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

Using this neat router jig to precisely rout the 1/4 dadoes for the desk case dividers. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

The desk case and drop down lid had to meet precisely to open correctly. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

Using a jig to rout the curved mortises for the quadrant stays. 

Photo of Chest Of Drawers With Butler’S Desk

Cutting the button catch stay mortises by hand. 

3 comments

You did a fantastic job on the chest, Kevin! It's absolutely perfect. So many small details that take it over the top like the hidden drawers, grain matching on the draw fronts, the hardware and so much more. Thanks for sharing!

What a great idea and excellent execution! 

A true testament to a skilled craftsman! Bravo! 

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