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Roll Top Desk #1: Any one building a roll top desk?

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Blog entry by hunter71 posted 282 days ago 925 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Roll Top Desk series no next part

I have had this on my mind for a LONG time. My wife and I both have solid Oak “school” desks in our office I rebuilt them many years ago. She is always fussing that mine needs cleaning up. Then she does it, moves everything around and I can’t find it. I don’t want a tall back like on this roll top design so I guess I will have to design my own version. I am thinking about as high as where it breaks, maybe a bit higher. I want to be able to look over the top. I have plenty of dry Red Oak.
Oak Tambour already made is not cheep. http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=4968 Or I just might make the Tambour from scratch…....... YEA I can make the jig and produce my own…..........................
Comments welcome..Doug

-- A childs smile is payment enough.



10 comments so far

View Jeff in Huntersville's profile

Jeff in Huntersville

398 posts in 1793 days


#1 posted 282 days ago

Doug, See my project page. The desk can be built from any number of designs. Even the tambour shape and siz can be built to fit your needs. I bought the bit set from Rockler to make my own tambour slats. It’s an up-front cost but I can use them again and again. They’re a bit tricky to use. You need a lot of featherboards to keep the pieces in place. But you end up with a tambour with no backing cloth. They’re kept in alignment with a cable run through the center. I used a brake cable from a bike.

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

6782 posts in 1902 days


#2 posted 282 days ago

doug im glad to see your back home and in the shop again, have a great time making the desk, and i agree with you, make the tambour yourself, and enjoy the whole project….im making a desk myself, im using pecan and walnut for mine, and a few other woods ..enjoy.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

740 posts in 1846 days


#3 posted 282 days ago

Lay neatly cut and presanded strips out on a sheet of canvass – glue them to said canvas – insert strip into side pieces with precut (routed) guide slots. It can go up and around and into the back if you don’t have a slot cut in the desk simply put the top out past the desk and drop it down behind it a little.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman www.artisansofthevalley.com

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1796 posts in 1789 days


#4 posted 281 days ago

The fastest way Doug, is to buy the half round molding then it’s just a fast glue up to the canvas. I repaired a roll top about 3 years ago doing that.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View hunter71's profile

hunter71

1953 posts in 1785 days


#5 posted 281 days ago

I am working on the sides right now, I figured to make the tracks first. Internet is NOT a lot of help. There was a desk for sale down the road and wouldn’t you know it is gone now that I want to look at it close.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View lew's profile

lew

9944 posts in 2354 days


#6 posted 280 days ago

Years ago Norm built one on the New Yankee Workshop. He made the tambor himsself.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Richforever's profile

Richforever

739 posts in 2318 days


#7 posted 280 days ago

There are some tambour making bits that don’t require the wires or canvas. Lonnie Bird Amana brand bits sold through Highland woodworking. They look pretty good.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

740 posts in 1846 days


#8 posted 279 days ago

You gotta get those bits aligned perfectly – which is probably no problem as detailed as Doug is. In my case – I’d screw it up so usually go w/ the canvas. The wire is nice but it’s a pain to align and drill every little hole, best to make a jig to do that. Setup a block and mount it to the drill press so you can slide each one in and punch repeatedly. Drill the holes BEFORE you do any routing or beading it makes it easier w/ the small drill bit to have a square/flat edge. Small bits flex when they hit a curved edge.

Also it doesn’t hurt to round over your ends top/bottom … makes for a better travel and reduces snags.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman www.artisansofthevalley.com

View hunter71's profile

hunter71

1953 posts in 1785 days


#9 posted 279 days ago

I decided on the canvas route. Maybe another one I will make them interlock. I have to get this finished and move on to fall chores. I thank ya’ll for the support and advise. L/J’s is a great bunch of friends.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

6782 posts in 1902 days


#10 posted 278 days ago

glad to see you made up your mind on the plan, now have fun and let us see how this comes out, ive wanted to to a tamboured lid on something, maybe mine will be a super duper bread box…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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