Rolltop Desk

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Project by Randy Sharp posted 09-02-2015 04:42 PM 1349 views 5 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Follow the entire build blog series here.

They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. On February 20, I took the first step in building my dream project by cutting the first board for the massive roll top desk build. To be honest, the lumber had been stored in the shop for months and I had no real plans to start it anytime soon.

Out of boredom, I thought, “at least I can label a few of the boards for certain parts.” That led to, “I’ll just clean this board up to see what’s underneath the dust and sawmill marks.” I spent that Friday evening and the entire next day cutting rough sizes and never looked back.

I put the final coat of finishing touches on the desk on July 20…five months later!

The project actually started earlier though, much earlier. The tree from which the desk was built was cut in April, 2013. The log was cut into boards in May, 2013. So, you can say it took over two years from tree to furniture.

A special thanks goes to my neighbor and mentor, Mr. Bill. His expert advice as a master craftsman and his visits to the shop to help work out sticky details were invaluable. But more than that, we have become very close friends.

It was my first project from quarter-sawn white oak and the first time using a “fuming” technique (video here) to color the wood. It was a very educational and enjoyable process. Thanks for letting me share it with you!

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

14 comments so far

View ohwoodeye's profile


1709 posts in 2571 days

#1 posted 09-02-2015 04:47 PM

Very nice.

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's opinion on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View BurlyBob's profile


3456 posts in 1683 days

#2 posted 09-02-2015 06:22 PM

Randy, I love everything about your desk. It’s a real beauty. It’s definitely going to be a family heirloom for generations.

View david38's profile (online now)


2368 posts in 1761 days

#3 posted 09-02-2015 07:37 PM

desk is beautiful

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 1710 days

#4 posted 09-02-2015 08:53 PM

Beautiful desk and I really admire your ability to do this project. I always wanted a roll top desk but took the easy way out and bought one 35-years ago—I love it but I will never be able to enjoy the sense of pride you will have in knowing you actually built your desk.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View pintodeluxe's profile


4824 posts in 2231 days

#5 posted 09-02-2015 10:19 PM

I love the picture of the trailer load of lumber. Some of my fondest memories are of lumber hunts, often with my wife and kids in tow. I have raided many a barn and shop, and even a chicken coop on one occasion to satisfy my questionable desire for white oak lumber.

That is a nice looking desk you have made, you should certainly be proud of your achievement.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View hoss12992's profile


3809 posts in 1311 days

#6 posted 09-02-2015 11:07 PM

That is awesome. Love it. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Ken90712's profile


16862 posts in 2607 days

#7 posted 09-03-2015 01:53 AM

Awesome work, a real beauty

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View hunter71's profile


2695 posts in 2605 days

#8 posted 09-03-2015 02:37 AM

Beautiful workmanship. I built a roll top sections for 2 old school masters desks and can relate to the amount of work you did somewhat. Again, great job.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View rdwile's profile


158 posts in 1530 days

#9 posted 09-03-2015 11:10 AM

Very Nice work Randy, looks like the work of a skilled craftsman!

One thing that never ceases to thrill me in 30 years of woodworking is taking that trailer of wood and turning it into a quality useful piece of work to be enjoyed long after we are gone. Ours is a wonderful craft!

-- Richard D. Wile,

View Roger's profile


21 posts in 2563 days

#10 posted 09-03-2015 11:53 AM

Very nice desk!! I know your feeling of accomplishment having done the same thing.

-- Do like you always do,,,,,Get what you always get!!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3636 days

#11 posted 09-03-2015 02:04 PM

Great job, Randy!

Making one of these is one my woodworking bucket list, and yours will go into my favorites for future reference.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Siegs's profile


50 posts in 471 days

#12 posted 09-03-2015 02:18 PM


View Dust_Maker's profile


40 posts in 1739 days

#13 posted 09-03-2015 03:24 PM

Good work on this. The wood is beautifully used and shown. The features on this desk seem a little lighter and less cluttered than some. I like it.

It sounds like the story behind the desk is as beautiful as the desk itself.

-- 2Cor. 4:6

View gsimon's profile


1150 posts in 1531 days

#14 posted 09-05-2015 02:53 PM


-- Greg Simon

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