Saturday, November 3, 2012

3-Unit Wardrobe

For over 3 years I've been wanting to get rid of my old dressers and build me a new wardrobe so I won't have to shove all my clothes into small drawers but instead fold them up neatly and put them on shelves. I guess it's a European thing, but I just find that I can see my clothes better and keep them nicer organized on shelves than in drawers.

Finally, now that Eliana was a bit over 3 months old I decided to tackle this project. I knew it was going to be a long one and between the feeds, naps and other family obligations I knew I'd only get a couple of hours per day in if I'm lucky.

The plan was to build 3 independent units, 36" wide by 7 feet tall, 21" deep with lots of shelves, a place for our TV in the middle unit and building in our little electric fire place we bought a few years ago for some extra ambiance.

Step 1: Plan the wardrobe
Step 2: Get the materials
Step 3: Cut all the parts to their proper size
Step 4: Fill all the holes with wood filler and prep for painting
Step 5: Paint the wood
Step 6: Put it all together
Step 7: Final touch-ups


Old dresser my parents bought me in 1992!
Second dresser. This sucker went through about 4 moves and was still as solid (and heavy!) as when it was new

The plan
Some of the wooden shelves cut up
The sides to the wardrobes
The tops and bottoms
The 9 drawer fronts
A jig I used to space the dowels perfectly
Putting it together to make sure it fits. I ended up inadvertently opening the garage door which squished the unit and damaged one shelf. I was actually quite impressed with how strong it was and that there was not more damage
Close-up of bottom of shelf
I had to create a temporary spray booth for painting the doors because it was raining outside
My temporary paint booth worked perfectly
The doors after they were primed
The sides after they were painted
Most of the parts after they were painted
14 shelves, 9 drawer fronts, 6 side walls, 3 tops and 3 bottoms
1/2" melamine for the drawers. This is for the last 5 drawers; I had already built 4 at that time
One unit once I've emptied the old dressers and my wife's walk-in closet of all my clothes
Just for size comparison. The 3 units are 9 feet wide, 7.5 feet high and 21" deep. They must weigh 500 lbs!
Final shot of the 3 assembled wardrobe units


Table saw, Drill, welder for making the jig, measuring tape, square, air nailer, router, planer, iron for iron-on edging, compressor, paint gun, hammer, pencil, dremel

MDF, dowels, 2x4s for corners, wood filler, screws, primer, paint, nails,

Cost (approximate):
5/8" MDF (7 sheets): $310
1/8" MDF for backs (3 sheets): $40
1/2" Melamine for drawers (3 sheets): $75
2x4s for corners: $30
2 gal primer: $40
2 gal paint: $80
3 packs of dowels for shelves: $15
8 sets of hinges: $50
24 door/drawer handles: $45
9 sets of drawer slides: $100
TOTAL: $785.90

Approximately 50hr

Not sure what 3 custom-built units like these would cost but my guess is at least $750 per unit. So the total savings are about $1,750

Love them! It was a LOT of work but definitely worth it now that they're done. They are so solid that I know we'll still have them in 20 years (if we still want them then)


Veronique said...

Wow!!!!!! That looks incredible!!!! And looks store bought from one of those expensive Great job!

Ursi said...

Great job chris. One question will the floor of your bedroom hold such a massive work of art?

wk-eigenheer said...

When I think of the time we two "schiftede im Saeuganengli" . What improvment of skils! Love it ! I still enjoy the handels on my bedside closet you mad workebal for as a christmas gift. What little John learned that he can do it in latter years as a men !
Glad you had the time and could enjoy it in the shop and in the bedroom.

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