And, for the nephews…

OK, I will admit, I am a sucker for my nieces. As they have been turning 16 years old, I have been building hope chests for them. So far, two down, and two to go. (Plus, a couple of friends of ours asked if they could have one for their daughter… who am I to turn down an offer like that?)

Lauren, her hope chest, and a relieved woodworker..

That has been pretty cool so far, but Rhonda has been asking me, “What about the nephews?” I mean, how could I leave them out of the action?

But, what do you build for young fellas? I mean, they can’t really use a hope chest… And something like a keepsake box isn’t really something I think they would like. Plus, I have more nephews (7) than nieces (4)… and three of them are already way past their 16th birthdays!

Inspiration came to me one night while looking at my messy side of the dresser top in my bedroom…

My dresser top

As with most males, I carry quite a bit of stuff on me in my pants pockets. A wallet. Keys. A multi-tool, My work ID. Pocket change. There are also papers on that dirty sucker, so I will need to clean those items up. But, how can I get control of the sprawl? I mean, there has to be a solution…

Wait a minute….

What about a dresser top valet? You know those things… they are a catch-all for all of the crap I carry on me during the day.

Oooh, my model of cell phone

And, you know what else? Why not a valet that also has a place for me to stash my smart phone and connect it to a power supply to charge it?  That way, I can keep the whole kit and caboodle in one location, and give it a glance over before I hit the hay for the night.

Fortunately, I’m not the first person to think of an idea this crazy. There are TONS of dresser top valets out there… with many of them made out of pleather-covered cardboard or some el-cheapo laminate that just won’t work. Others are highly-lacqured, overcomplicated behemoths that just won’t work.

What I needed was a set of plans.

Wood Magazine's Valet
Photo courtesy of Wood Magazine

Boom. My friends over at Wood Magazine were thinking the same thing back in 2005. And, they came up with this plan for a sweet looking dresser top valet that would suit my needs.

Even back in 2005 (Check out the awesome looking cell phone in that back area!), the plan designers thought about including a corralled in area for electronics, and an area on top for loose change, keys and the like.

The plan also includes a drawer under the top part for stuff you might not use all that much – maybe a dressier watch or something else.

This looks pretty darned good for my nephews. There are some things I might change. For instance, the top calls for a padded vinyl panel, but I’m afraid that might look a little cheap. So, I might go for a leather insert, or maybe a rich green felt.

Also I have to pick the right kind of wood for this. Masculine, but still striking. Maybe walnut or cherry.. not sure yet. Fortunately, the plans look fairly easy to execute.

I think I may go with one for myself first, just to make all of the mistakes on one that won’t see the light of day and perfect my technique once I start pumping them out.


4 thoughts on “And, for the nephews…”

  1. That is a GREAT idea! I have often wondered about the same thing as far as boys and men and gifts go.
    I may just have to try that myself. 🙂


  2. Great idea Tom, I have been thinking about making something similar. Our bedroom is oak, but I was thinking something different as a accent piece. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  3. Good ideas and great looking projects! I wonder if I could incorporate an iPhone charging station into the valet – might give that a try!

  4. Great idea! It may end up looking a little too techy but maybe you could incorporate one of those charging pads that you just lay your phone on and it charges it. Inside the drawer maybe ? I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

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