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aromatic cedar in dresser drawers

mark14's picture

Hi all - neophte question. In making a dresser, is it OK to use aromatic cedar in the constuction of the drawers? i.e. using the cedar for the drawer bottom, instead of plywood. I know it will cost more, but would it cause any problems with storing clothes. In a cedar lined blanket chest I havn't heard of problems. I've come across a bunch of the cedar strips that are sold for nailing to walls and I was thinking of jointing them into panels for the drawer bottoms.

DonC's picture

(post #83365, reply #1 of 7)

If you use the cedar, apply a finsh to it  called cedar oil. Whenever the smell goes away, rub a little more on and it's like new again. Finish the rest of the project with your favorite finish.

I make hand mirrors for ladies gifts and include a small vial of cedar oil with the gift. Everytime the gal brushes her hair she gets a wiff of cedar.


















stewart4's picture

(post #83365, reply #2 of 7)

I would suggest making the construction out of a more durable wood and line it with cedar. Aromatic cedar comes in thin sheets on a roll,(same principle as the way plywood veneer is obtained) or tongue and groove strips.  I use the tongue and groove strips and tack them down. Every year or two I remove them and take them to my shop for a light go over with the electric sander.

Jamie_Buxton's picture

(post #83365, reply #3 of 7)

Rather than removing and replacing boards, you can use a potpourri bag -- a mesh bag containing cedar shavings.  When the smell "wears out", you just replace the shavings.

Jfrostjr's picture

(post #83365, reply #7 of 7)

Your post reminds me of the story about the gentleman who saw potpouri bags in a store. He asked the clerk what they were used for.

She informed him that "You put them in your drawers to make them smell good."

He replied, "But isn't that uncomfortable?"


Cedar strips would probably be worse.

Lataxe's picture

(post #83365, reply #4 of 7)


Cedar drawer bottoms are possible but even 1/4 inch cedar can be rather brittle and prone to crack or even snap, were a heavy weight to be dropped into the drawer.  As others have said, use cedar to line a more durable drawer bottom in some way, instead. 

Personally I like to stick 1/8 inch thick, 1 inch wide strips in the drawer bottom, with a couple of dabs of glue.  Alternatively, you could screw them in, which means they can be easily renewed if necessary.

I would also advise the owners of the drawers to cover the cedar bits with lining paper.  Some cedar is quite oily and the stuff can leach into cloth, which might smell nice but also leaves a difficult stain, especially in light colours.  (Yes, this is the voice of unpleasant experience - the lady wife did not approve of her best lace table cloth having those blotchy yellow bits on it).


mark14's picture

(post #83365, reply #5 of 7)

thank you all for your responses!

CWilson's picture

(post #83365, reply #6 of 7)

I just came across this discussion and had a question along these lines.  I built the sides of the drawers out of cedar with a cherry front.  I milled the cedar to 3/8 inch and put 1/4 inch plywood in for the drawer bottom.  All the joints are held together with glue. I'm a beginner and I'm not familiar with cedar, and was unaware of it tending to crack.  Does anyone think I will have a problem.  If so, how long should it take to split and is there any way to prevent it?  Will the cedar oil do this?  Thanks,