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Thread: Need help with designing the end of an enclosed desk

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Florida
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    Need help with designing the end of an enclosed desk

    I知 building a desk for my daughter. I値l be turning the legs and creating a stack of drawers on the right side. I知 trying to figure out how I would create a panel on the end without running into problems with wood movement. I will join the top of the two legs with a apron and the bottom with a stretcher. This design will be sort of Victorian and painted white. I prefer to use solid wood but I am considering using a plywood panel in a groove in the legs and the apron and stretcher. I am also thinking about gluing up a panel horizontally in which the ends will be let into a groove in the frame. I also considered making a frame and panel but it looks weird to me to have the stiles stop at the apron and stretcher.

    I can稚 find any examples of a desk like this that is made from solid lumber. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Thanks Dan
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    Last edited by Dan Hahr; 07-18-2019 at 10:02 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quality Lattice?
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  3. #3
    I see no problem using solid wood in your design. The wood will move seasonally so you need to allow for it. Look up the amount of movement you can expect for the species you select and allow for half of that movement in the grove depth in each leg (grain vertical). Anchor the panel in the center of your stretcher with a single brad or a small patch of glue. Paint your panel complete before assembly so that if it does shrink you won't see bare wood. You might need to allow for the paint thickness in your groove widths. I would use either soft maple or yellow poplar for the panel, both woods paint well.
    Lee Schierer
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  4. #4
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    If you are going to paint it, there's no downside to plywood. A plywood panel will not contract and reveal unpainted material which used to be inside the dado. A plywood panel can (and should) be glued all around, so it turns into a great big stiffening gusset for the joinery. Use plywood.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    I would probably go with the plywood as Jamie suggests. I would also enclose the drawers, in the same manner, on the inside as well. If you go with a solid wood panel, my vote would be poplar.

  6. #6
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    May 2015
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    NW Indiana
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    Thanks for the movement chart, Lee. Had not seen that before.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Kansas City
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    Go with the plywood. Its not cheating.

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