I start work on most projects by gathering thoughts with pen and paper and designing with compromises in mind. The dimensions of this cabinet (dresser) will be determined by these 3 things; making the design as useful as possible, creating good proportions, and the sizes of my best cherry lumber.
Generally speaking you can either buy lumber to build to a plan or plan around the lumber you have. The first option is smarter but since my second hobby is buying lumber on craigslist I usually end up with option #2. So, when I am starting a design I give myself lots of options. Notice in the sketch that most dimensions are tolerances (an acceptable range). I take these guidelines out to my pile of lumber and start the search. The heights of the drawers will be determined by the width of the best matching boards I can find. The depth of the cabinet will be based on the widest boards I can find. You get the idea.
I’m a little nervous that my stash is running out and I may need to go to the lumberyard to finish. Time to get “digging”. I’ll pick the longest and most visible pieces first – the top and drawer fronts. Stay tuned!