"The Ultimate Executive Desk"

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Project by JCWoodworker posted 11-20-2010 09:33 PM 3982 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is the last piece for the customer I built the bar & conference tables for. I put more effort into this piece, all of my heart and soul to make this the very best. The final result was exquisite. But it was 2 shades too dark for the customers’ taste. So now it sits in my dining room waiting for a buyer that will appreciate it. This unit is 10ft W x 11 ft L (with an extension cabinet in back, which you see in first photo) x 31” T. Made with solid cherry wood. Stained dark cherry. Inserted drawers and door fronts. Top is 42”D with a 6” overhang from the front. The 3rd piece which is separate from the desk is a stand alone filing cabinet 84”W x 22” D x 31” T. The 2nd piece that extends to the desk has a drawing holder. This project took 4 months to complete. Waiting once again, to get paid for my labor. Otherwise if I cannot sell this piece, we will be dining in style, lol. Selling for $12,500 (but willing to negotiate)

-- John Cahill

15 comments so far

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2008 posts in 4369 days

#1 posted 11-20-2010 10:10 PM

I’ve made mistakes like this…..just not this big…ouch. Hope you recover from it. Sorry for the problems, it’s a beauty for sure, and I like the dark color even if your customer didn’t. Surely someone will fall in love with it, who has both the space and resources to take it off your hands.

Hang in there,

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4159 days

#2 posted 11-20-2010 10:59 PM

It is truly a beautiful piece.If I had the space for it (and could even remotely afford it) I’d own it. I am curious about the customer refusal of this, though. Keep in mind I’m not in woodworking as a business, but I have had plenty of business customer relationships. Did you show the customer a sample of a finished piece? Did he/she seem fine with it? If I were going to make something for someone (for money), even though I hate paperwork, I believe I’d have them sign off at a couple of points in the process. First, to approve the plans/drawings. Second, before applying the finish to sign off their approval on a finished sample piece which included the stain/dye components/formula and finishing component. Having these agreements on file could protect you from customers bailing on you because they changed their mind or just decide they don’t like it. In my opinion, woodworking is a great thing and filling our lives with legalese BS is a crappy thing. But if you run a business, it’s a necessary thing. Anyway, it’s just my opinion…free & worth every penny. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View sras's profile


4790 posts in 3093 days

#3 posted 11-20-2010 11:10 PM

Wow! That is a gorgeous piece! Sorry to hear about the customer issue – that has to be rough…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View JCWoodworker's profile


41 posts in 2724 days

#4 posted 11-20-2010 11:27 PM

Tx all for the compliments on the desk. But in this particular incident, lighting was my enemy. The sample that was given to me from the customer to match, matched in my fluorescent lighting (bad way to finish). I seriously need to invest $500.00 in professional finishing lighting. The color in in his office was 2 shades lighter than the desk. This particular color is very complicated in transparency of coloring in different lighting. If anyone has advice for me on the appropriate finishing lighting, I would love to avoid this from happening EVER again, HELP!!!!!! In the long short, I was at fault.

-- John Cahill

View sittingbuller's profile


16 posts in 2963 days

#5 posted 11-20-2010 11:33 PM

Those pieces ae abolutely gorgeous. Ilove the dark cherry finish. It is just so rich looking. The guy wouldn’t know beautiful if it hit him in the head!.

-- Requirements for woodworkers: Sharp mind, sharp wit, sharp tools.

View MayflowerDescendant's profile


414 posts in 2750 days

#6 posted 11-20-2010 11:50 PM

Beautiful work. Sorry about the color / tone issue.

-- Glen - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3525 days

#7 posted 11-21-2010 12:42 AM

It is beautiful.

With that much at stake I think I’d take a finished good sized sample board to the customers place and have them sign off before committing stain to the project. There are too many variables in trying to match a given set of lighting conditions in your shop.

-- Joe

View CCWoodcrafts's profile


37 posts in 3007 days

#8 posted 11-21-2010 01:55 AM


View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2724 posts in 3556 days

#9 posted 11-21-2010 02:47 AM

OUCH, That’s got to hurt the wallet and pride. It is a beautiful desk. Great job. I think it’s harder to sell a custom piece when it is already done. To bad you can’t just refinish it?

-- Dennis Zongker

View Gator's profile


383 posts in 3640 days

#10 posted 11-21-2010 04:58 AM

It may be a good idea to take two matching pieces of the finished material to the customer for review, and if acceptable, you both sign the back of each piece.. they keep one, and you keep one.
Keep it until the project has been completed and paid in full. You both have the material and stain that was agreed upon, and if it does not match, you both know before it is too late.

Sorry about your trouble with this one, but it is a beautifull piece and I am sure it will move quickly.


-- Master designer of precision sawdust and one of a kind slivers.

View savannah505's profile


1812 posts in 3550 days

#11 posted 11-21-2010 08:31 PM

Great piece John, left you a private message.

-- Dan Wiggins

View Jason's profile


659 posts in 3472 days

#12 posted 11-22-2010 07:05 PM

Sorry to hear of the circumstances. It is a gorgeous project that I am sure someone will want to use as their workspace. Best of luck.

-- Jason - Colorado Springs

View PflugervilleSteve's profile


99 posts in 3006 days

#13 posted 11-23-2010 05:21 AM

Wow. After hearing about that custom bar and then this… You do attractive work, but man two ouchies like that… I hope you don’t have a ton of capital tied up in the materials.

View Nicko's profile


11 posts in 2453 days

#14 posted 08-02-2011 07:55 AM

wow nice… tone and color of an art pieces must be based from were it was placed by the owner or the buyer and what kind of place did the owner want to place it….
it was a great art….. good for hotels and some private rooms for conferences….

View helluvawreck's profile


30765 posts in 2830 days

#15 posted 08-02-2011 11:36 AM

It is a beautiful piece of furniture but that had to hurt. I’m sorry.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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