I pushed through on my last vacation days and got the base of the desk re-assembled. I assembled all but the back strip with pocket screws. It is pretty strong right now, but I think I will back it up with some corner braces just to keep it from pulling apart over the years.
The original desk had one drawer, so you can see one mahogany drawer slide and one poplar.
I am a little nervous that the front of the desk will not have enough strength, especially with people pushing off of it to stand up. I am not sure how much I can really do about it. I could add an additional cross piece, but that won’t significantly reduce the potential sag. The original desk had extra rungs crossing the top on the short length. That probably adds to the overall strength, but not much when pushing down on the desk. Any ideas would be appreciated. Ultimately, it probably will be strong enough with the top on.
As for the finish, I ordered some Waterlox. I have never used it before, but it has very good reviews, and was originally designed for floors. It will probably protect the wood better than the original finish of 50 years ago.