View Full Version : Desk for the Wife

alex grams
05-08-2008, 8:13 AM
Well, after my wife somehow supporting me buying more tools than I should be legally allowed (in her words.. not mine), I had to bribe her with something, so a new desk it was.

The project didn't take as long as i suspected, and I was able to learn some new techniques along the way. I have a wall mounted bookshelf with end doors in the works now, along with a stand alone bookshelf, so she will have a nice ensemble of furniture for her office at home. Her company is going to pay for her to get her masters, so this will hopefully give her a nice relaxing place to study.

The frames are done in a rail and stile manner (it would have been nice to do the panels as raised, but my wallet would only cry for that much walnut).

The top is a veneered sheet of birdseye maple my wife and I found at the lumber shop. We like it because it gives a very nice dynamic to the desk top. The front panels of the desk are a curled walnut that we managed to find only 1 sheet of (wish i could find more, it is a beautiful figure).

Some things I wish I had done differently:
- More accent on the arches on the panels, they get hidden by the top of the desk
- bought a dovetail jig for the drawers, but cost is a factor on that, so I just did rabbeted construction.
- raised panels (but another $$ issue)
- hidden drawer guides (but once again.... $$)

I will try and get a better picture of the top that shows its figure, none of those pictures really do it justice in my opinion.

Greg Cole
05-08-2008, 9:01 AM
That one seemed to come together pretty quick! Must be ya don't have kids huh? ;) I've been boondoggled helping my BIL, getting the pool opened up for the year FINALLY and Coach Pitch Baseball with my 6 year old lately... so little or no shop time for me (and I have 2 beds underway in the shop too!!!).
Looks good and I'm sure the client is very pleased. Hopefully ya won't have to bribe her with a project for every future purchase!
I'm sort of on the fence with the dark streaky top, but thats merely personal preference as it brings "rustic" to my simple mind. Then again, photos don't always do the piece justice as it's hard to see any figure in the pics.
Did you wind up doing a real frame & panel, or did you simulate it building it up on plywood? What's the finish?
Instead of DT's on a jig, maybe try box joints on the table saw for the drawers. For drawer guides I like good old wood runners, most home desks aren't subject to abuse or wear n tear like at a day job).
In regards to DT jigs, I've told myself to not buy one cause they're bloody pricey for a good one and they're single use deals (plus I have an Incra router "joinery package" I can cut DT"s on stuff thats not toooo big) I'll force myself to learn'em the old fashioned way as I did with M & T's.
Then again I wound up bringing home a Domino a couple weeks ago..... the speed is appreciated after 1,000's of whacks with a mallet n chisel :D.
Lastly, hope you're a hockey fan as we can have a little banter about the game tonight....;)


alex grams
05-08-2008, 9:56 AM
No kids... yet... I've been lucky to spend about 3 hours each evening on it for the last month and about 6-9 hours each day of the weekend for the last month.

She liked the design of the top, and wanted the pattern to be the centerpiece of the top. We wanted a contrast on the top and maple would hold up best in contrast as the walnut lightened, but a simple sheet of maple would be too simple it seemed for such a large piece, so the Birdseye got her attention, and this piece had some of the most intense patterning we could find.

The finish is a natural non colored oil stain with a few coats of waterlox on top of it. I am tempted to wax the top to help give a little more smoothness to it, but not sure how the wax would look over the waterlox (any experience with this?)

The panels are an actual rail and stile with 3/4" ply rabbeted to fit in them.

Greg Cole
05-08-2008, 10:43 AM
Hi again Alex,
Nope, no hands on with Waterlox. I'm assuming you can either rub it to the sheen-silkiness you want or wax it. Just give it plenty of time to fully cure before trying either... I'd think the wax would look fine.
Not criticizing the top by any means as I love figured maple alot. And the customer is always right!;)


Jim Becker
05-08-2008, 10:54 AM
That's a pretty sharp looking desk!

alex grams
05-08-2008, 10:56 AM
I concur that it gives it a rustic look, but you know the rule,as all married men know the rule:
If momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy.
(at least thats how we say it down here in Texas)

I didn't take it as criticism by the way, but many things are a matter of taste. And I am always up for criticism of the constructive kind. :)

finish your beds!

Greg Cole
05-08-2008, 11:56 AM
I'll hopefull get some shop time starting tonight... NHL Conference Finals start tonight so I'll pipe the game into the shop.
What about a chair for the desk... you going to build one?
As mentioned awhile back, I have a desk on the to do list too.. but one of the beds is for the same guest room as the desk & the MIL is coming this month (so the bed for our house WILL get done, the one for the BIL will wait til he gets is butt in the shop so sand the curly maple veneer I had him slice 3 weeks ago). Actually the need for speed on the bed was the "final push" needed for the Domino (and seeing one on SMC classifieds didn't hurt any other than the wallet).
BTW, rustic is my sort of like, taste etc....
Man, can ya tell the day job is a wee slow today?:rolleyes:


John Thompson
05-08-2008, 11:57 AM
Very nice and she should be proud, Alex. Very nice looking addition in hopefully a long line to follow.

Keep up the good work...


gary Zimmel
05-08-2008, 12:19 PM

Great job on the desk for your wife...

I find the more furniture I build for the house the easier it is to get more tools..

Jim Tobias
05-08-2008, 12:33 PM
I really like the top. I think it makes a piece very interesting when it has a figure/grain pattern in it that is unique. Very nice walnut also. I like it.