Upgraded built-in desk, finished!

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Project by jpl posted 12-23-2009 04:03 AM 1903 views 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just added the finished photos…

The existing built-in desk in my bedroom was a total piece of junk, so I ripped it out, and put a new one in, made of a poplar frame and cherry drawers / top. One drawer holds files. This was my first frame and panel and serious dovetailed drawer project (the other ones in the workshop were practice). As always, took much longer than anticipated. I finished the cherry with shellac and Waterlox satin.

I had no plan for the little storage units on the desktop – I just worked with whatever wood was left over. I needed places to put letters, bills (argh) and other papers for quick access. I thinned 3/4” cherry stock down to ~3/8” by hand – I scored grooves on both edges of a board with the TS, hand sawed the board in half, then hand planed down the surfaces. I tried to find grain that would nicely flow around the edges, and I think that worked out well. All the components on the top are either press-fitted or screwed down, in case it ever needs to be disassembled – if I ever wanted to upgrade the storage…

8 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#1 posted 12-23-2009 04:06 AM

Looks good now well done.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3586 days

#2 posted 12-23-2009 04:57 AM

It looks much better now. Great job!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1593 posts in 3247 days

#3 posted 12-23-2009 06:19 AM

Great job.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View Huckleberry's profile


218 posts in 3848 days

#4 posted 12-23-2009 06:23 AM

Nice job. Kudos on the dovetail drawers all of the ones I have made were practice and wasted a lot of time.

-- I cut it twice and the damn thing is still too short!@#$%

View ohwoodeye's profile


1984 posts in 3148 days

#5 posted 12-23-2009 07:19 AM

Looks very nice. Even, tight spaces around the flush face drawers. Well done.
One area of concern, do you have mechanical slides on the bottom of the big drawer? If not, I bet it’s going to give your arm a work out every time you pull it open and push it closed…........especially after it is filled.

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

View jpl's profile


21 posts in 4100 days

#6 posted 12-23-2009 03:24 PM


My dovetailing skill is still evolving. I consistently undercut the base. I find it completely OK, though, to make strategic repairs to fill all the gaps with leftover wood slivers – part of the craft. Hardly noticeable at more than a foot away. Perfection is an ideal, not reality. The drawers work perfectly, though – function over form.

The file drawer, like the others, is custom, piston-fitted, with no support hardware. I love how you can feel the air whoosh out when closing it! The contact surfaced are smooth and waxed, so there’s no problem with friction per se. Also, the drawer is tall and the handle is mounted high, so there’s not much effort needed to open and close when fully loaded.The handle is at just the right height to work the drawer effortlessly when seated – the draw is ~8” off the floor at the base because of the baseboard moulding.

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3190 days

#7 posted 12-23-2009 04:55 PM

Great upgrade

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View toddbeaulieu's profile


814 posts in 2999 days

#8 posted 02-28-2011 05:02 PM

I love this desk! It’s giving me ideas. My skills aren’t there yet, but I’m trying …

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