Chest of swingable drawers

Some of my woodwork:  Previous – Overview – Next
Published 31Dec2012, updated 10Feb2013

I have always felt that there was something wrong with the first bedside I made, some 30 years ago: the drawers. Especially the top drawer, where things that may be needed during the night are placed. Why did I have to come to it? So, when we refurberished our room, the idea of a chest of swingable drawers came to my mind. The top drawer should come to me! So I came up with this furniture:

Chest of swingable drawers
More pictures (slide show) there

Actually there is no chest here, in the meaning of a boxed structure: it has no sides. And the drawers aren’t drawn, in the meaning of being pulled. But I have no other words to use.

I now silently can push a little on the closest front side, and the top drawer swings above the bed to me. Just as silent. The bottom drawer I can push silently away from the bed. Not much to expose the contents, since the longest part appears first. With both open, hidden switches to control the «LEDuncle stand lamp» (previous) are exposed. There is available space behind the drawers. Because of the frame this space comes by itself. More later. The top space is for a standard iPad – even if I have never brought it to bed. But it’s a nice format. Actually the long side of it will be visible on the outside, it would be easier to grasp it that way. (Update: I must admit that the upper space is a little too thin for the hand to pick out things that get trapped in there. 5-6 cm would have been more practical than my 3-4 cm.)

I used the same 15 mm aspen panel that we used for the walls to make this bedside. The whole thing reminds me a little of a Chow Chow dog: short and sturdy. I usually try to make things light (like this), but this dimension was more successful than I feared.

So, how about another name for this unit: «Chow Chow Bedside»?

There also is a bedside on the other side of the bed. Both top drawers swing onto the bed, both bottom drawers away from the bed. So the sides will swing in opposite directions. See Previous.

One thing: if you can’t accept that the top drawer is above the mattress, this bedside is not for you. And if there is not enough space for the lower drawer (i.e. the room isn’t wide enough), forget this design. A standard bedside with pullout drawers is what you should aim for then.

Chest of swingable drawers - overview


Paneling is cut so that the visible line between them is completely hidden. This is solved by having an opening on the back side, so the boards are completely tight when pushed together. However, in order to make a plain board of the paneling, the tongue and groove have to be gluable on both sides of the tongue. So I had to cut the front side of the tongue to the same level as that level in the back, about 1 mm. After I glued them I had to keep the boards pressed with vices, because since the forces are still not symmetric they tend to bend.

This made it no easier to saw the mitre joints that do not have any reinforcements. I will not delve into details. I cheated a little and used brass nails to help during gluing, which I assume will help the longevity of the unit.

To make the drawers swing I use threaded rods. They are pushed into the structure from below. For bushings I cut some bushings from concrete nails. The swing like the doors in my 3-dim bevelled storage rack, there. I don’t like the threading, but I haven’t found anything better.

The drawers are pushed back onto a piece of wood that they will hang on, so they should not tilt over the years.

I got a surpise when I opened the drawers in full position. They stopped in the holding structure. So I had to cut out some wood there.

I painted all with white oil paint that I removed with a cloth after some minutes. So the nice structure of the aspen wood is seen through the whitish surface. I cut a plastic shelf liner for the top, but I removed that for the photo shoot.


I have not seen such a bedside design before, neither in real life nor on the internet. Therefore: © Øyvind Teig, Trondheim, December 2012. Should anybody want to manufacture something like this, please contact me. If this design infringes on an already existing and published design, I am not aware of it.

Search words in Norwegian: Nattbord med svingbare skuffer i panel av osp, osppanel, badstupanel. Hengekommode

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