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Just in time, my vanity is complete

Last night I put the final finishing touches on the vanity table I’ve been building over the past few weeks. And good thing—because this morning it left on its way from Iowa to Indiana. I built this as a gift for my niece, who graduates this weekend from high school. When I offered to make something for her, she chose a vanity table and wanted it painted white. So this project led me into several areas (and skills/lessons learned) I’ve not gone before.

One of the first things I learned to appreciate is, knowing that it would be painted, I could use inexpensive poplar and plywood for the construction. Second, I didn’t have to be as fussy as I usually am with projects that get a clear finish. That paint is very forgiving! Third, I’d never painted a piece of furniture before, so this was a new lesson in using a cup sprayer and latex paint. Turns out it’s much easier than I thought. I put four coats (two primer, two finish) of paint on it, and it turned out very nice.

This was also one of the most challenging projects I’ve built. The curved drawer fronts on the side drawers of the “desk” part proved a new experience. After bulding the carcase with that curve, I built the drawers to full assembly, using 8/4 stock for the fronts. I routed the half-blind dovetails on my Leigh D4R, drilled the holes for the pulls, and assembled the drawers and fit them. The last thing I did was cut the curved fronts on my bandsaw. I clamped on an auxiliary MDF table to give me support of the whole drawer, and it worked beautifully. After sanding the fronts smooth they were done. (I made the top to echo these curved drawer fronts; the center drawer is flat.)

The other challenging part was designing the mirror frame and supports for the cheval hinges. I had to toss my first frame attempt because the poplar warped. So I switched to a laminated MDF frame that works perfectly. The uprights I made by just playing around with French curves, the bevel-edge mirror I’d chosen, and a 5-gallon bucket in my shop. I made a pattern and routed them with a flush-trim bit. Then I mounted this support on a three-drawer valet.

All in all, I’m pleased with how this project turned out. I’m also hopeful that I might be able to entice a few yet-to-be-named clients into wanting one by commission. That would give me the chance to possibly build one from cherry or oak, and forcing me to be even more careful when constructing it to avoid scratches, gaps, and flaws and focus more on grain selection and color. I’ve also got many more nieces and nephews graduating in the coming years, and I’m hopeful they’ll want me to build something special for them as well.

9 Responses to “Just in time, my vanity is complete”

  1. Bob, that is really neat looks like a really good job and a hard one to. Really pretty to I’m sure she will really enjoy and always treasure.

  2. Bob when you say you laminated the MDF what did you laminate with? By the way nice job. Looking forward to the drawer construction.

    I have a 1930 highboy dresser which I am making a matching 6 drawer lowboy dresser to match. The construction for the drawers are 2 parts. Dovetailed drawer box with curved figured blakwalnut fronts attached. ?

  3. Hi Bob. Your Vanity is BEAUTIFUL ! This is EXACTLY what I’m looking to make for our bedroom. I’ve scoured the internet for a woodworking pattern to no avail. Would you guide me as to where to get a pattern to emulate what you made please ? Many thanks.

  4. where can I find a pattern to create a similar vanity? This one is gorgeous!

  5. Bob, Would it be possible to get a set of plans for this vanity. I am planning to make one for my daughter this fall in my woodworking class.


    Mike V.

  6. Hello. This vanity is breathtaking!!!! We would love to make this for our daughter’s 7th birthday. Would it be possible to get a set of plans for this vanity?

  7. hey, i love your plan would it be possible to get the plans for this table off you or buy them off you please?

  8. Bob, I see lots of inquiries looking for plans over the past 4 years on your fabulous vanity project, yet I don’t see a response. Is there a set of plans available for this project?



  9. Hi Bob. Vanity is beautiful. What a great uncle you are. I have a question. I am redoing an old vanity with mirror. The support hardware/screw for attaching the mirror to the frame is missing. Where can I find replacements? I am down to the final touches and this part is essential needless to say to completion. Thanks.

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