Mission Style Princess Dresser


This information has been reprinted from a 1912 Popular Mechanics publication titled "Mission Furniture And How To Make It".

A design of a princess dresser that is well proportioned and of pleasing appearance is shown in the accompanying sketch and detail drawing. The cost is very moderate and if a mill is not too far away, a great amount of labor can be saved by ordering the material ready cut to length, squared and sanded. Quarter-sawed oak should be used and the material needed will be as follows:

  • 4 posts, 1-3/4 by 1-3/4 by 27 in., S-4-S.
  • 1 top board, 3/4 by 17 by 37 in., S-2-S.
  • 5 side rails, 3/4 by 1-1/2 by 37-1/2 in., S-4-S.
  • 4 end rails, 3/4 by 2 by 17-1/2 in., S-4-S.
  • 2 end panels, 1/4 by 16-1/4 by 16-3/4 in., S-4-S.
  • 1 drawer partition, 1 by 7-3/4 by 18-1/2 in., S-4-S.
  • 1 back board, 3/4 by 4-1/2 by 36 in., S-2-S.
  • 2 mirror supports, 7/8 by 2-1/2 by 30 in., S-4-S.
  • 2 side pieces for mirror, 3/4 by 2 by 42 in., S-4-S.
  • 2 end pieces for mirror, 3/4 by 2 by 21-1/2 in., S-4-S.
  • 2 drawer fronts, 3/4 by 7 by 17-1/2 in., S-4-S.
  • 1 drawer front, 3/4 by 7 by 36 in., S-4-S.
  • 1 20 by 38 bevel mirror.

The following pieces may be of any soft wood:

  • 5 drawer slides, 3/4 by 2 by 17 in.
  • 6 drawer sides, 1/2 by 7 by 17 in.
  • 2 drawer bottoms, 1/2 by 17 by 17 in.
  • 1 drawer bottom, 1/2 by 17 by 35-1/2 in.
  • 4-1/2 sq. ft. of 3/8-in. pine for back.

First be sure the posts are perfectly square and of equal length. Either chamfer or round the upper ends as desired. The mortises can now be laid out and cut or they can be left until the rail tenons are all made and then marked and cut directly from each tenon. The posts as well as the end rails should have grooves cut in them to take the 1/4-in. end panels.

The top board should have the corners cut to fit about the posts. The corners of the back board should be rounded as shown in the drawing.

The end sections of the dresser can be glued together first, care being taken to get the joints square and tight. When these are dry the side rails and drawer slides can be fitted and glued in place. The top board is held in position by means of screws through cleats which are fastened to the inner sides of the rails.

The mirror frame is made by mortising the end pieces with the side pieces as shown. It is rabbeted on the back to hold a 20 by 38-in. mirror. After the mirror is securely fastened in the frame a thin wood covering should be tacked on the back to protect the glass. The frame swings between two upright posts which are securely fastened to the body of the dresser as shown.

The drawers are made and fitted in the usual manner. The drawing shows two drawers in the top compartment, but one exactly like the lower can be made and used instead by simply leaving out the 1 in. partition. Suitable handles for the drawers can be purchased at any hardware store.

The back is made of soft wood and is put on in the usual manner. Scrape all surplus glue from about the joints as the stain will not take where there is any glue. Finish smooth with fine sandpaper and apply the stain desired, which may be any of the many mission stains supplied by the trade for this purpose.


Download .pdf drawing

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