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Thread: A Small Desk of Sapele and Birdseye Maple

  1. #1
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    A Small Desk of Sapele and Birdseye Maple

    This is a small desk I made for a friend. It's 16 x 32 x 8" high. It's made from shop sawn Sapele and Birdseye maple on the outside and ash on the inside over BB plywood. The main joinery is mitered corners with biscuits for alignment. The front of the desk has a mitered edge as do the drawer fronts to give an almost joint free look. The drawers are just simple finger jointed maple boxes.

    The finish is a very dilute Transtint dye, 1 drop of Reddish Brown in 15 ml of DNA, wiped on with a stain applicator. I felt the Birdseye maple needed a little reddish tint to harmonize better with the Sapele as it looked very yellow under the clearcoat alone. The topcoat was 3 coats of TC's EM-6000 Acrylic Lacquer.

    Fun project. Oh yeah, it will sit on some hairpin legs for a very MCM look.








    John

  2. #2
    Very nice work, in both design and execution! How did you achieve the nice clean miter joinery on the two carcases (no small accomplishment)? Also, the front edges of the boxes appear to be angled at something less than 45 degrees and have either a solid wood lipping or edge banding to hide the Baltic birch substrate. What are the details on that?

  3. #3
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    The angled drawer front edges that enable the mono block look when closed are very well done.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Stone (CT) View Post
    Very nice work, in both design and execution! How did you achieve the nice clean miter joinery on the two carcases (no small accomplishment)? Also, the front edges of the boxes appear to be angled at something less than 45 degrees and have either a solid wood lipping or edge banding to hide the Baltic birch substrate. What are the details on that?
    Thanks. It's actually just one box. I seamed the Sapele and maple veneer end to end and glued them onto a single piece of plywood. I glued a 1" wide piece of maple to the front edge of the plywood first and sanded it all flush through the drum sander, then put the plywood and veneer in the vacuum bag.

    The bevels on the front edge of the desk box and drawer fronts are 45 degrees. I left a small flat on the edges exactly the thickness of the veneer (1/16") to make them more durable.



    I added two dividers, centered on the joint between the Sapele and maple, just butt glued to the underside of the desk top with biscuits for registration. Those dividers have a solid wood front edge as well, but I added that afterwards to simplify cutting the angles. The joints between the desk top and sides are 45 deg bevels, too. Cut from that single piece of veneered plywood the grain wraps around and over the edge w/o interruption.



    John

  5. #5
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    Gorgeous looking piece John! Well done Sir!
    Ken

  6. #6
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    Really nice work. But why such a short desk?? Are legs going to be added at some point?
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USN(Ret)

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  7. #7
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    I also appreciate the mitered drawer corners when "the wood" is to be the feature as well as with the clean, modern look of this project. (I did that with the one drawer on the cherry desk I made for Professor Dr. SWMBO many years ago...my first actual project..and have never regretted that decision)

    This is really beautiful, John!
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 11-14-2021 at 4:59 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    Really nice work. But why such a short desk?? Are legs going to be added at some point?
    Yes, it's a small little desk at only 32" long, but that's what the customer (friend) wanted. It will sit on metal hairpin legs to bring it up to about 28" at the writing surface. The bottom is 3/4" thick to allow them to be screwed on and it's dadoed into the sides to carry the load.

    John

  9. #9
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    Beautiful work John. Actually quite surprising with the drawers open as the closed boxes do not evoke 'desk' to me. I also agree the angled drawer fronts are excellent and key to the design. The wood selection provides a balanced contrast, which is not easy to do IMO!

    I'd be curious to see the piece with the legs if you get a chance. Thanks for sharing.
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  10. #10
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    Thanks Charles. I delivered the desk yesterday; the owner will add the legs. Hopefully, he'll send me a photo once he's done so.

    John

  11. #11
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    Here's a poor photo of the desk with the hairpin legs attached. The owner says it's very stable. He hasn't delivered the desk yet to its eventual owner. In the meantime, his son seems to think it's a good place to display some of his toys.



    John

  12. #12
    Wow!, just Wow! ...that is some remarkable veneer work! ...and a beautiful piece.

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