Our daughter was expecting a new baby, our fifth grandchild. She wanted to buy a new changing table, as her old/cheap one is getting rickety and cannot really be reworked into anything decent. So, I step in and start making this, after LOML (Love Of My Life) asked our daughter to not spend any money she does not have. Of course, daughter is unaware of what is happening, or at least she so gives the impression.
Make a new changing table that can later be used as a chest-of-drawers with shelves on the side. Why waste the effort if the changing table would be used only a few months at best?
Design: Based on a Wood Magazine project plan – note that I like to aim loosely at dimensions with a project like this, just in case I mess up a critical joint.
- It must be 42 inches tall, to near elbow height for our daughter.
- Around 20 inches deep.
- Around 50 inches wide. The top will be attached to allow it to float on the top board, to allow for expansion.
- Incorporate at least three, and possibly four drawers, around 30 inches wide, on full extension slides mounted on the sides.
- Have at least two adjustable shelves.
- Light color wood, as daughter hates dark woods.
- The finish should be easily redone, as it is known that some damage will eventually take place. ==>> Thus, Waterlox.
- Use solid wood all the way around. ==>> QS sycamore! Had to order some, to make the drawers.
- Dovetail construction for the main box – tails showing on the side panels; sliding dovetail for the partition (vertical divider).
- ** Depending on how well things go, the final dimensions should be close to those given above. **
- Not shown: Railing, using purchased turned spindles. This will be removed after the baby outgrows the changing table.
The following photos illustrate the steps I took to get the basic carcass done, with some explanation of the why I did things in a certain way:
You can probably tell this is an older design. At the time, several months ago, I used SketchUp; this was done using Sketchy Pen Sepia Style, in Google SketchUp 6:
Both side panels trimmed to final size:
I had to raise and really secure the Leigh D4 dovetail jig to accommodate the longer panels:
Getting ready to cut the tails in one of the side panels:
Cutting the pins on the bottom panel:
Getting ready to cut the sliding dovetail sockets: Note the spacer, to prevent the router from tipping even a few thousands of an inch – the wooden spacer thickness was the distance from the bottom of the router sub-base to the surface of the boards, less 0.006″, to compensate for the double sticky back tape thickness:
Cutting the sliding dovetail socket:
This is how I attached the wooden spacer to the bottom of the router sub-base with tape – the sub-base rides on the jig’s fingers and the spacer rides on the panel:
The sliding dovetail finished, after sneaking up on the final thickness with a total of four passes:
A shot of the finished sliding dovetail from the other end – the finger bar is moved back ever so lightly after each pass on every side of the dovetail, until the final thickness is reached:
Dry fit of the sliding dovetail – a little cleanup will be needed on all surfaces to make things look nice:
Dry fit of the vertical divider in the carcass – it worked just fine:
The dry fit from a different perspective:
Dry fit of the false drawer fronts, two different views – I was puzzled about the gap between the top drawer and the one just below it. It turns out that the grain played games on me, and it resulted in an optical illusion:
I applied six coats of Waterlox Original, tried on the drawers for fit on the full-extension slides, dry-fit the top, and played around with the spindle railing that is supposed to keep baby things from falling as Rita Anne is being changed. Note that at this stage I have already changed the base to an inset plinth, with no openings around it – to totally eliminate things from rolling under the table/dresser:
After buffing the Waterlox finish with 0000 steel wool to a baby-butt smooth finish, the table/dresser is ready for delivery. All drawer pulls are placed 2.5 inches from the top edge, and centered, in an effort to minimize racking of the wide drawers:
The finished changing table: The ONLY camera I had was the one in my cell phone, and it shows – I MUST get better photos!
The table/dresser in place at the old family farm house, where our daughter and her wonderful family live:
A detail photo – the baskets in their place on the dresser, and the new, made-to-spec mattress. Our daughter had the other girls at ballet lessons, and her hubby and I sneaked in the finished project .
Thanks for looking! This was such a fun project for a very special granddaughter – number FIVE!!!