Slant front desk #3: Slant front desk #3 - Writing surface/drawers

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Blog entry by Don Newton posted 09-06-2008 03:28 AM 3609 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Disaster Part 3 of Slant front desk series no next part

Well….I got back into the desk project. The most difficult part so far was getting the geometry right for the lid/writing surface. The hinge placement is critical. The dimension of the lid depends on the hinge placement. The whole thing is a Catch 22 situation but that is what mockups are for. The lid is 14” high from a single board of Honduras Mahogany with bread board ends cut from the same board and tongue and grooved to the lid.

Believe it or not, this is the first time I used a router to mortise the hinges. The hinges are from Horton Brass and made specifically for this application. I also ordered a desk lid lock from Horton Brass and will have to mortise it into the lid.

I have begun to dovetail the poplar drawer boxes. As you can see, I’ve started with the through dovetails (cut by hand) joining the sides to the backs, saving the difficult half-blind dovetails joining the sides to the fronts for last. Actually once I get the drawers dovetailed, I’ll pretty much have the fabrication done.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

7 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3739 days

#1 posted 09-06-2008 05:49 AM

Interesting. Nice work, the dovetails look pretty good. Nice resolution to the lid/hinge question.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View acanthuscarver's profile


268 posts in 3738 days

#2 posted 09-06-2008 01:40 PM


Nice job so far. The handcut dovetails look great! Orion and everyone at Horton Brasses is great to deal with, aren’t they? Keep posting the progress on the desk. The fun begins when you start working on the interior. Good luck.

-- Chuck Bender, period furniture maker, woodworking instructor

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

716 posts in 3645 days

#3 posted 09-06-2008 01:56 PM

Chuck…you had to bring up the interior didn’t you! Hadn’t thought much about it…till now! The reason I picked this project was the many steps. I could complete the desk body with drawers and enjoy it, outfit the portion under the lid and enjoy it, maybe build an upper section and watch my wife enjoy it.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3920 days

#4 posted 09-06-2008 02:15 PM

An ambitous project indeed, having done one already

Fantastic so far

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3699 days

#5 posted 09-06-2008 06:53 PM

Thats some nice progress, Don.

View Rob Bois's profile

Rob Bois

33 posts in 3421 days

#6 posted 02-08-2009 04:26 PM

Don, great stuff. I am in the process of building a wine cabinet with a slant-front top (also out of Honduran mahogany). I am just now starting the design for the slant-front top, and am stuck on the hardware. I will have to check out Horton Brasses for some potential solutions. Lee Valley doesn’t seem to have anything specific to a slant-front application. And based on your experience, I think I need to have the hinge mechanisms all figured out before I proceed! Thanks, and keep up the great work.

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

716 posts in 3645 days

#7 posted 02-08-2009 08:26 PM

Hi Rob,

It sounds like you are proceeding in the right direction. Horton Brasses makes a hinge for the drop lid, and they are a quality company all the way. Do a mock-up of the lid so there are no surprizes. Good luck!!!

-- Don, Pittsburgh

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