Here be dragons: Thrifted Ikea dresser remade with graphite paper and woodburning kit

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Love love love it! Nice remix of thriftstore Ikrapa.

Just want to point out that one might want to be careful with a woodburning kit and Ikea or other MDF style furniture. I’d be sure to play with my woodburning kit in a well ventilated area, one that sucks the fumes away from you and then to the outside. Or just do it outside (says the guy in CA in the middle of winter) There is all manner of nasty stuff that you could be breathing if you go past the paper thin veneer on some of their stuff. A good respirator might also be in order.

Not trying to be Debbie Downer on this idea as it is lovely. I just don’t want anyone to be hurt or get some icky something from all the glues and binders etc. We never burn MDF or preserved wood for similar reasons.


Not everything at Ikea is made from MDF. From what I can gather MOPPE is made with birch plywood. Some considerations should be taken to avoid fumes from the laminating adhesive but probably not much more than that of any wood you might burn.

MDF is nasty stuff though. Even cutting it can be hazardous.


Being Ikea furniture, is it not likely particleboard that will decay swiftly?

No, it’s not. This is a common misconception about Ikea furniture. Some of it is particle board garbage, but a lot of it isn’t. There are levels of quality.


Lorraine is not a “guy”.

From the pictures, the case is fairly thick plywood, connected with dado joints. The drawers are likely the same material, and appear to be finger-jointed at the corners. This is good solid construction, and the woodburning pen won’t produce anything more toxic than woodsmoke (which admittedly isn’t entirely benign).

Yes. We have IKEA dressers in the bedroom similar to this, but made of solid pine. I had to reinforce the drawer corners when their patent fasteners started to loosen, but otherwise they are holding up fine after 25 years or more.

Even their particle board Billy bookshelves have lasted for decades (and counting) with a full load of books. I get the impression that most IKEA stuff is thrown out when it is overstrained or the corners get chipped during a move,


Agree that it is on a case by case basis, but caution is advised when burning inexpensive furniture. This chest does look like it is made of plywood, but even there the ply adhesives aren’t intended to be burnt and inhaled (now if we made it out of hemp… hmmmm… throw in a USB charger and now you are talking!) A rude sort of fume hood can be made with a fan, a window that opens to the outside, scrap cardboard, a bit of duct tape and some cursing. Slow down the flow by covering parts of the intake or McGuiver a rheostat in there or something. Make an Arduino project out of it.

Just trying to be the safety nerd.

Still this is a beautiful piece and this is the sort of thing i love seeing here on BB!


IKEA furniture, if you avoid the absolute cheapest ones, is generally higher quality than people think. Even the bulk ones, like the Billy bookshelves you mention, last for a long time and have a wonderful price-to-quality ratio. What they don’t take well, though, is moving; especially being taken apart and then rebuilt again. That will loosen the joints and the fasteners quickly, which leads to unsteady shelves, which leads to strain and damage.


Even the cheap crap can be made much more durable. Staple gun with brads for the backboards, PVA glue for the long edges and structural joints/dowels. Bracing large areas of backboard with a strip of wood helps, too. You won’t be able to take them apart, but they’ll survive a house-move or three intact.


He was referring to himself…

3 Likes is full of simple reinforcement techniques in addition to the more creative stuff like this dresser.


That’s actually a common misconception. It only decays when it is exposed to air.

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Nice! And yet, it will still fall over on you if you open the top two drawers.

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