|Project by FJPetruso||posted 02-19-2009 05:56 AM||16121 views||18 times favorited||25 comments|
I like to make projects that fit in with my re-enacting & camping hobbies, so a couple of years ago I found some great plans for a Shaker Lap Desk & some beautiful Walnut lumber & was ready to build. But like many of us my shop wasn’t ready. Since finishing my new shop I now have the tools set up for resawing lumber, which is what I needed to do for this project & finally got started. This project requires wood thicknesses of 5/16”, 1/4”, 3/16” & 1/8”. It was thouroughly enjoyable just walking over to the table saw & ringing the edges of the panel & then just walking over to the band saw & re-sawing the panel without having to move stuff from pillar to post for a half an hour or so to access the top of the tool..
This project also required making hand-cut dovetail corners & edge joining some thin wood. I think I did OK for my first time on “half-blind” dovetails. The front of the drawer was the “blind side” & is 5/16” thick. The sides of the drawer are 1/4” thick. I think it would have been a bit easier working on thicker wood the first try. But I believe it was fairly good. Making the molding for the bread-board top was fun. I made a couple of changes to the plans… I just added a strip to the top & the lid to give the hinges a bit more wood to grip into. The only hardware is a tiny pewter knob that I saved from somewhere years ago, some wire brads, a couple of old brass tacks for drawer slides & two store-bought hinges. I took a propane torch to the hinges to burn the cadmium plating off. (I took care to give myself plenty of ventilation because of the cadmium fumes.) This gave the hinges a nice patina that matched the hinges real well. I topped the thing off with a couple of coats of Tung Oil applied with some 280 wet/dry sand paper. This allows the sand paper to grind up the walnut, mix it with the tung oil & fill the grain & joints a bit. I then finished with 2 coats of tung oil applied with a cloth & after drying the gloss was removed with an X-fine scotch bright pad.
This Shaker Lap Desk is very light for it’s size, about 14” X 20” X 6.5”, which makes it easy to carry. I thought about adding handles & a lock but I believe the Shakers had it right by relying on only simple lines, the beauty of the wood & their own skill.
-- Frank, Florissant, Missouri "The New Show-Me Woodshop"