Since the last blog entry I have made some good progress on building new parts for the desk. The apron and legs are nearly ready to assemble. This was my first attempt at building curves into my work. To curve the front and sides I built up layers of laminate and formed it in an mdf forms. I used poplar as the base for these curves, and cut the original mahogany down for the outside faces. Not having a drum sander to smooth each layer, I had to rely on my bandsaw to cut true, which it generally did (Powermatic makes a nice bandsaw). Overall, I am pretty happy with the results.
Working with curves has proved to be a new challenge. I don’t have a great feel for what is actually square like I do with straight boards. If I have a slight twist in the board, there is no easy way to get it out. As best I can tell, I have a slight twist in the front and side aprons. I was originally going to try to mortise the aprons into the legs, but am convinced that with the twist it will be near impossible to pull off without giving the entire desk an awkward twist. My current plan is to go with pocket screws on the front. This way I can focus on getting a flat surface for the top. The back apron will be a straight board, which I made out of some of the Makore I had on hand. This will be mortised for some extra strength.
I am having some doubts as to the original material of the desk. I still think it is some sort of mahogany, but it may be a fairly cheap version. It is very soft. As I mentioned in a previous post, the top is very scratched, likely due to this. Of course, future use will risk scratching it quite heavily again. I will try to mitigate this with a good hard finish. I’m not sure what the best answer is quite yet, and am open to suggestions.