|Project by Joel Tille||posted 07-30-2007 02:04 AM||5833 views||20 times favorited||50 comments|
I had a couple of ideas for this joinery challenge. I decided on the desk, I have been wanting to build one for some time. I used red oak for the main parts of the desk, poplar for drawers and maple for drawer supports.
When I visited Mark DeCou last winter, he encoraged me to challenge myself in order to better my woodworking skills. There were a couple of times I wasn’t sure I would figure out a path to end my project. I thought about my design in my head for about a week. Playing out what order I would need to assemble parts in order for all the dovetails to lock the carcass together.
The legs took me the longest with the left, right, front and backs to consider. Sometimes measuring twice and routering once didn’t work, the left/right thing got me.
Drawer supports were designed with the drawer guide dovetailed in the back of the front support so when slid into the front leg would lock prevent guide from moving side ways, the back of the drawer guide slid into another slot. After the side boards and panels were in, the drawer guide was locked in between the front and back legs.
Side boards are slid into dovetail slots in legs. I was pleasantly suprised after assembling the first section how square and tight the sliding dovetails made it. Although they were not the easiest to alwasy figure out on the router table. Fence moved in or out can have a backwards affect from what you may think is going to happen.
I did have to make a couple of changes along the way. First I wasn’t sure I would beable to make the top slide together being 5’ long. And the top is secured to the base with dovetails on the tops of the eight legs. I made keyhole slots in the bottom of the top to accept the dovetails. As I had the long boards laying on top of the desk, I realized that while moving a desk you normally pick it up by the ends. My top would not have been able to support this type of weight hanging from it and the center dovetail joints would break. I decided to run boards front to back over the legs, this solved the lifting problem and the possible problem of sliding 5’ of dovetail together.
Drawers have dovetails front and back, The handles were a nagging thought I had while building the desk. I never did have a clear solution on how to mount these. I started thinking about Don’s mallet with “Blind Fox-Wedged Tenon”, I tried to cut a piece of dowel and drive it into a hole in the handle and the drawer face but could not get it to seat at a consistant depth. The solution I used was pinning my dowels in the handle first then the drawer face second using a second smaller dowel.
5 coats laquer on top and 3 on sides and drawers.
Although my original intent was that I was not going to use glue or mechanical fasteners in the construstion of the desk; and after reading Karson's comment on plywood ”No one has asked, but I’ll bring it up. In my mind no plywood, because that is glued. The constructor of the project might not have glued it but it is a joint and it does have glue.
I don’t want to be a stickler about this, but, I think that is what the description of the contest states.
So that means no veneered projects either, in my mind.”
I sorted through the wood I had left and was not going to have enough to resaw and replace the panels in the sides and still complete on time. So unlike what Don was able to accomplish with his box, I do have plywood in the construction.
Overall this was a fun and frustrating project. In the true spirit of a challenge I have learned new techniques and some problem solving ideas I will be able to use in the future.
-- Joel Tille