To save the bad back of his client, cabinetmaker Loy D. Martin of
Palo Alto designed this bird’s-eye maple chest on an L-shaped,
16-1/2-inch-high stand. She can reach even the lowest drawer with
little or no bending. The top drawers are at a convenient height for
her 6-foot 3-inch husband.
The supporting bench turns a corner to create a dressing alcove. A
pillow on the slightly lower, shorter arm of the bench invites sitting
to don shoes and clothes.
This ensemble combines practical design with handcrafted joinery and custom details; Martin’s use of hardwood and dovetailed joints
makes it especially sturdy. The chest measures 49 inches high and 27
inches wide. The bench’s long and short arms span 65 and 45 inches
respectively; each arm is 20 inches wide.
You could build a similar, simpler set by adapting the design to
conform to your woodworking abilities and equipment. Make sure the
bench you devise can support the weight of your dresser and its user.
If you plan to use softwood, choose one of the harder kinds, such as
vertical-grain Douglas fir or ponderosa pine. Reinforce softwood stands
with metal or wooden brackets, girders, or gussets for strength.