How to Build a Kendal Extra Wide Dresser: Intro

I’ve been wanting to build a dresser for some time now and finally decided to take the plunge.  After searching for a long time to find one I like, I settled on a modified version of Ana White’s Kendal Extra Wide Dresser.  This has an overall clean design and I like the way the drawers are inset into the frame & Ana did a great job with the design.

Model of the Kendal Extra Wide Dresser

Model of the Kendal Extra Wide Dresser

For my version, I made some modifications to Ana’s design.  First of all, I made some changes to the frame construction, specifically changing the back supports to 1x4s (since I read that some of the drawer slide back supports didn’t line up.  I also used 1x2s for the bottom support and added several to the top specifically to attach the dresser top surface to the frame.

I also modified the top of the dresser by framing the plywood with 1×3 strips.  In my version, I mitered the corners to give the top a decorative look since I’m staining mine instead of painting it.  If I were painting, I’d go the east route and use butt joints on the trim.  Since this design has the plywood top fitting just inside the side panels (see the model to know exactly what I’m talking about) I added those top supports so I could attach the top by screwing to these from underneath.

Lastly, I constructed the drawers using 1/2″ plywood instead of the 1x lumber in Ana’s original plan.  Of course, this was after I cut wood according to her original plan.  I thought it made the drawers look to chunky and smaller and after I measured all the other drawers in various pieces of furniture around the house it looks like 1/2″ is pretty much the standard.  And in hindsight, I’m really pleased with that decision.  The other difference in the drawers was how I constructed the bottom.  I used a dado blade on my table saw to cut 1/4″ grooves 1/4″ from the bottom of the drawers and constructed the drawers so that the bottom was inset into the sides.  This is, in my opinion, a little more sturdy than nailing the drawer bottoms to the boxes.

These changes are minor and the dresser will look & function great either way.  I’ve also created a full 3D SketchUp model of the Kendal Extra Wide Dresser so you can download, deconstruct and manipulate it however you would like.

I’ve also created a printable PDF version of this plan which you can purchase for $5 (it’s 43 pages in all).  It’s all the info from the blog posts, but I’ve compiled it for easy printing and included shopping lists, cut diagrams and helpful pictures.  Basically, if you want a handy printable version so you don’t have to get sawdust all over your computer, you might consider purchasing this download.

Cut List – Dresser Top

  • 1 – 3/4″ plywood @ 15 1/2″ x 49 1/2″ (dresser top)
  • 2 – 1x3s @ 54 5/8″ (top trim)
  • 2 – 1x3s @ 20 1/2″ (top trim)

Cut List – Dresser Frame

  • 2 – 3/4″ plywood @ 15 1/2″ x 26 1/4″ (side panels)
  • 4 – 2x2s @ 31 1/4″
  • 2 – 2x2s @ 49 1/2″
  • 3 – 1x4s @ 49 1/2″ (these can be cheap wood… back supports)
  • 3 – 1×2 @ 49 1/2″ (front drawer face frame)
  • 4 – 1x2s @ 15 1/2″ (top & bottom supports)
  • 4 – 1x2s @ 7 1/2″

Cut List – Drawers

  • 14 – 1/2″ plywood @ 5 3/4″ x 16″ (drawer box sides)
  • 8 – 1/2″ plywood @ 5 3/4″ x 22 3/8″
  • 6 – 1/2″plywood @ 5 3/4″ x 14″
  • 4 – 1/4″ plywood @ 22 7/8″ x 15 1/2″ (drawer bottoms, large)
  • 3 – 1/4″ plywood @ 14 1/2″ x 15 1/2″ (drawer bottoms, small)
  • 3 – 1×8 @ 15 3/4″
  • 4 – 1×8 @ 24 1/8″
  • 8 – 1/4″ lattice @ 24 1/8″
  • 6 – 1/4″ lattice @ 15 3/4″
  • 14 – 1/4″ lattice @ 7 1/4″

Shopping List

  • 1 – 3/4″ plywood @ 4′ x 8′ – Buy a nice sanded hardwood plywood since this will be the sides and top of your dresser.  You will only use about half of the plywood.  Since the top panel is slightly longer than 4′, you can’t get away with half 🙁
  • 1 – 1/2″ plywood @ 4′ x 8′ – This is for your drawer boxes.
  • 1 – 1/4″ plywood @ 4′ x 8′ – This will be for your drawer bottoms and the back of the dresser
  • 3 – 2×2 @ 8′ lumber
  • 3 – 1×4 @ 8′ pine boards – I suggest cheap wood here since this is basically frame supports for the back that will be covered up.
  • 2 – 1×3 @ 8′ select pine or hardwood boards – These will be trim for the dresser top, so get nice wood.
  • 3 – 1×2 @ 6′ select pine or hardwood boards – These will be for the face frame
  • 2 – 1×8 @ 8′ select pine or hardwood boards – These will be the drawer faces
  • Lattice strips – You can cut these to size at Home Depot.  You will need 3 @ 4′ long, 4 @ 5 1/2′ and 3 @ 7 1/2′.  This gives you a little room to work with.
  • 7 – 16″ bottom mount drawer slides
  • 4 – rear drawer track sockets
  • 7 – drawer pulls of your choice

Below is a cut diagram for the dresser.  This does not include the lattice trim (see the shopping list above).

Cut Diagram for the Kendal Extra Wide Dresser

Here’s a shot of the almost finished product so you can get an idea of the look & feel of it.

Here's my almost finished Kendal Extra Wide Dresser

Here’s my almost finished Kendal Extra Wide Dresser

Lots more on this project to come…!

17 thoughts on “How to Build a Kendal Extra Wide Dresser: Intro

  1. Luke Troughton

    Hello Ed,
    Going to be attempting this build. Am I correct in assuming when you say 2″x2″ the actual measurements are 1.5×1.5? And the same with all the other lumber. I am going to be using some reclaimed lumber myself and want to make sure I’m getting it right.


  2. Dave

    Hi Ed,

    I completed my copy of a Kendall Dresser using your plans last week.
    The only substantive change I made was to use wider edging boards on the top so that the plywood part of the top was slightly less than 4′ wide. This change allowed me to get the top and sides from a 1/2 sheet of 3/4″ plywood.

    The dresser is very well proportioned. It fits nicely with the nightstands and desk. I’ll email a couple of photos for your collection.

    Thank you very much for your plans, and for the inspiration!

      1. melissa carithers

        Tried to send these plans to my email but would not go through. My husband is planning to make this for our 5 year old grandson . Could you please e-mail me your plans.

        Thank you

  3. Ben E

    Great work Ed, your modifications to Ana’s plans are a big help. I’m about to build an extra wide dresser for my wife and a modified version for a chest of drawers for myself. The chest of drawers will be similar to your standard dresser you built but with a fourth row of two drawers at the top. Do you have any dimensions for your standard dresser? If not I can figure it out. But more importantly I didn’t realize how shallow the drawers would be until after I’d already ripped the plywood for the drawer boxes (of course). Is there a reason I couldn’t add an inch or so to the drawer boxes? By the time i cut the dadoes for the drawer bottoms these drawers will have at least 3″ less usable space than what the wife has now, more than I’m comfortable losing. Also, the kendall dresser is about 6″ shorter than my wife’s current dresser overall so I may make some modifications to get a bit more height out of it. Luckily, I haven’t cut anything else to the final height so I can still make changes without wasting more wood.

    Thanks Ed!

    1. Ed Post author

      Hi Ben, I have the standard dresser in a SketchUp model that I can share with you. If you’re familiar with the program, you can get all the measurements there. I don’t yet have them down on a nice, well organized post (on the to-do list). As far as the drawer boxes go, you can can add space, but you’d need to compensate for that in either the face frame (if adding depth) or width of the dresser (if adding length to the drawer). Sounds like that would be fine since you’d like to make the dresser taller anyway. I hope that helps… let me know if you’ve got some more questions. Here’s a link to the 3 drawer model:

  4. Dave

    Hi Ed,

    I liked the way the farmhouse night stands turned out. So, I’m building a Kendall extra-wide dresser to go with them. While I was at it, I made a simple desk to match. It’s just a scaled down version of the dresser – 29″ high & the top is 21″ deep x 48″ wide. It very much looks like one of the set. I’ll email you a couple of photos.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Ed Post author

      Hey Ashley, I actually used a combination of 2 Minwax stains: Early American (230) and Provincial (211). I put the Early American on first, then added the Provincial over it. I thought that gave it a slightly more warm look.

  5. Andrew

    I’m trying to figure out the spacing for the back cross members (1x3s and 2×2). I suspect it’s on your 3d model but I’m using a tablet.

    1. Ed Post author

      Hi Andrew, sorry I’m a little behind getting back to you. Here’s a picture of what I think you’re asking for with measurements. Let me know if that helps.

      1. Andrew

        This is perfect. Thanks for responding and for posting this. My daughter is due next month and I’m making this for her nursery.

        1. Ed Post author

          Congratulations! I hope the project goes well. If you run into any questions, let me know & I’ll be glad to answer as best as I can.

  6. Karen

    I really like your version a lot. It is dressed up with some details that really make it look very different. You did a great job on it and I would like to see the finished picture. How much did you spend on the material and how many hours did you have in it. A friend wants me to build him a dresser and I have no idea what I would charge him. If you were to sell yours how much would you charge?


    1. Ed Post author

      Thanks for the note! As for the cost of materials, I actually built 2 dressers at one time when doing this project – the Kendal knock off and the Kendal Extra Wide (in the post). I had some wood on hand and bought stock for both dressers, but probably could allocate around $150-$175 for this one, wood and hardware. The drawer pulls get expensive since there are 7 drawers on the extra wide one. Here’s a picture of the finished Extra Wide dresser: Here’s one of the standard dresser: Guess which one was for the boys? :). I’m hoping to get a plan up for the standard one pretty soon. This is also NOT a weekend project. Count on probably dedicating 4 weekends to it. It’s definitely an intermediate project! Sales is a function of market demand and there are a lot of variables to consider, but if you were to sell one of the Extra Wide dressers, I’d probably charge around $500 or so (depending on the finish). They are solid as can be and there’s a good bit of labor in it.


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