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How to Shorten or Modify A Dresser


I spent a considerable amount of time looking for a dresser with the required length. Believe me, I tried many places and sites. I wanted something inexpensive so a custom built dresser was out of the question. I needed about 43 inches but almost every dresser were in the 55 inch range. The dresser I purchased is specified as 47 inches but when I built it it was really 51 inches.

Completed Dresser

Completed Dresser

Assemble the Dresser

In this modification, the dresser is already assembled. I could have just modified the pieces before putting everything together but these instructions can still be applied. The dresser is 51 inches but I need it to be 43 inches for fit within the desired space.

After assembling the dresser, measure the length you want the dresser to be. Decide which side you want to make the cut. I choose the right side because it will be the side that will be hidden. I can make the cuts look nice but it won't be perfect.

Gather Your Tools and Prepare the Work Area

Since the modifications won't make too much mess, I decided to do the work in the same room. This room is on the second floor and my workshop is in the garage in the first floor. It may not look much but this dresser is still heavy even without the drawers. Those particle boards are really dense.

I covered the room up with some blankets so I won't scratch the floor and so I can catch the sawdust.

Mark the new length.  It is the pencil line drawn on the top of the dresser.

Mark the new length. It is the pencil line drawn on the top of the dresser.

Remove the Bottom Section

There is a bottom section attached by screws that needs to be removed. Flip the dresser upside down, take the bottom component off and put aside. This will need to be resized too. Also remove the drawers.

Remove the drawers and bottom section

Remove the drawers and bottom section

Remove the Backboard

The backboard is also in the way. It is secured by several small nails. Take a flat head screwdriver to pry the backboard to lift the nail heads. Use the claw of the hammer to remove the nails. Put the backboard aside to resize later.

Remove the Backboard

Remove the Backboard

Cut Top and Bottom Boards

Pick a side you want to cut first. Depicted below is the top board. I screwed in a straight piece of wood as a guide for my power saw to make the cut straight. The wood is laminate so you will need a very sharp blade or a blade for cutting metal. Otherwise the cut will be rough. Repeat for the opposite side.

Cut top and bottom boards

Cut top and bottom boards

Remove Stabilizer Piece

This dresser has a piece inside to strengthen this long furniture. It was still attached so I removed it and never reused. The dresser will be shorter and smaller and I didn't feel the need to put it back.

Remove the Stabilizer Piece

Remove the Stabilizer Piece

Remove Side Section

Remove the side section you have just cut and separated so you can reattach it to the shortened dresser. Save the hardware if there are any attached so you can reused them.

Prepare the Attachment of the Side Piece

In this example, I have cut out the right side. Now it has to attach somehow to the shorter dresser. To do this match any holes or cutouts exactly like the mating side. Use drills or any tools to duplicate the interface dimensions as much as close to perfect for a good fit. Below, the bottom board was attached by two wooden pegs and 2 screws. I used a drill in this example of the correct size on the correct location.

The top side is attached differently but I just needed to drill matching holes to attach hardware that will connect with the dresser.

Prepare the attachment of the side.

Prepare the attachment of the side.

Attach the Side Piece

Once the shortened dresser is prepared to accept the side piece, attach it to dresser.

Cut the Backboard

I measured the old backboard so that it will fit the back of the dresser. Remember not to make it too small or it will not cover the back. Make it big enough so that you can nail it back.

A hand saw was used to cut the backboard which was really thin and did not take too long to do.

Resize and Attach the Bottom Section Base

The bottom section I removed did not have to be reattached. However, this will make the height of the dresser a bit low. I resized the dresser and made the cuts to fit with the new length. The resized section was reattached with existing hardware.

Resize the Drawers

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures and detailed instructions for resizing the drawers for the side that got shortened. It would have taken another article to describe that.

The basic instruction is to measure the front of the drawer to fit in the new opening. From this piece you can resize the rest of the drawer pieces. After you make the cuts you will need to match the mating components like the drill holes to attach the drawer's side.

As you can see from my example, the drawers on the right were not cut perfectly. However, they fit and later, I will make some cuts to make the front of the drawers look and fit more square.

Completed Dresser.  Note the right drawers.

Completed Dresser. Note the right drawers.

© 2018 Romian1

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