How To Build a Chifforobe

A Chifforobe is a combination wardrobe for hanging clothes and a bank of drawers for folded clothes. Some Chifforobes have a dressing mirror on the wardrobe door and this will be considered as an accessory option. A mirror can be secured to the wardrobe door at a later time if desired.

Prior to assembly select a medium density lumber such as #1 Pine or Mahogany. The lumber stock will be ¾” thick and vary in widths from 2” to 8”. In addition, a laminated ½” veneer in similar material will be used for the bottom, top and side panels of the cabinet and also the wardrobe door. The cabinet back and drawer bottoms will be ¼” laminated veneer in the same material.

The standard size of a Chifforobe is approximately 36” wide x 72” high x 24” deep. However the unit can be sized smaller or larger depending on the size of the area where the unit will reside. This instruction will apply to the standard size as given.

  1. Begin by sizing (4) pieces of ¾” stock to 2” wide x 72” long and (6) pieces to 2” wide x 24” long. These will be the sides, tops, bottom pieces and mid rails of the frames for the sides of the unit. Rabbet a ½” deep channel along one edge of each piece to receive the laminate veneer. Miter the corners of the (4) 72” pieces and (4) of the 24”pieces to 45 degrees and assemble both four-sided frames. Make the corner attachments along the outside edge of the frames using glue and 2” wood screws, counter sunk to ¼”. The countersink holes will be filled with wood dowels and sanded flush.
  2. Next cut the remaining (2) 24” pieces to fit across the mid-span of the frames and rabbet an additional channel along the opposite edge of the piece so there is a channel along both edges.
  3. Attach these pieces at mid-span of the frames with glue and wood screws. Be sure the channels align with the channels on the side pieces. Turn the frames over so the channels are facing up and cut (4) pieces of ½” veneer to fit each of the (4) panel sections. Attach the veneer using glue and small ¾’ brad nails, inserted at an angle so as not to penetrate the face of the frames. Set the assembled pieces to the side.
  4. Next build (2) frames that are 36” wide x 24” across using the same size stock as the sides and assemble in the similar manner as the side pieces. Cut ½” veneer to fit within these frames and attach this in a similar manner. Attach the completed top and bottom pieces to the sides using glue and wood 2” screws countersunk to ¼” deep. Fill the countersink with dowels and sand flush.
  5. Cut a piece of ¼” laminate veneer to fit the back of the unit and attach this piece using glue and #4 finish nails.
  6. For the center face frame of the unit cut a ¾” piece of stock to 3” wide and attach it at the center of the front opening, from top to bottom and flush with the front edges of the top and bottom.

This unit will have (5) drawers in a stacked configuration.

  1. Choose one side of the unit for the bank of drawers and cut (4) 2” wide drawer frame pieces that span from the center piece to the side of the unit. Layout for (5) drawer openings and attach the drawer frames flush with the face of the unit and beginning 8” up from the bottom of the unit. The uppermost piece will attach tight to the top of the unit. Use glue, wood screws and countersink to ¼” as before.
  2. Measure and build the drawer sides and back using 3/4" stock that's sized in width to fit the openings allowing ½” height clearance inside the face frame openings. The drawer bottoms will be ¼” laminate veneer. Rabbet the frames and install the bottoms using glue and brad nails. Cut ¾” thick drawer faces to a size that overlaps the face frames approximate ½” all around and attach these to the drawers using glue and #4 finish nails.
  3. For the wardrobe door measure the opening and build a frame similar to the side frames of the unit and be sure to allow 1/8” inch all around for clearance. Install the door using cabinet door hinges selected per the desired design. Attach a catch latch to the door and drawer pulls that match the hinge design. Use a piece of 1-1/2” wood dowel for the hanger rod and install this using closet pole rosettes.
  4. For the legs use 2” x 2” stock cut to approximately 4” in length. Insert a 3” x 3/8” threaded lag into one end of each piece in the center. Affix metal cabinet leg anchor plates at the (4) corners of the unit and screw the legs in place.
  5. Sand and finish the cabinet by applying (2) coats of the desired stain and (2) coats of clear top sealer.


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