Writing Desk

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Project by DonnBialik posted 1264 days ago 1843 views 13 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this writing desk for myself out of sugar maple. The stretcher has a through tenon on each side, the aprons are joined using mortise and tenon jointery, the drawer is constructed using pinned rabbet joints which I had fun with. The top came from a piece of fiddleback maple I found sitting in the maple bin and wasn’t marked up so I snatched it up for $3 a bf. I finished it with tung oil, let that sit a week or so, then used some transtint dye on it, then used a coat of buttonlac shellac on it. I did a rub out with 2000 grit sandpaper and waxed it.

I wanted to make a spare looking desk, and tried to incorporate some Maloof and Hans Wegner stylings into it. Like if the Shakers moved to Denmark.

If I do it over, I think I’ll close up the top curve on the side aprons, make a slightly stronger curve on the larger front apron and not offset the drawer (which was cool to try but might look better with a less figured wood).

18 comments so far

View 747DRVR's profile


199 posts in 1991 days

#1 posted 1264 days ago

Absolutely beautiful.

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5020 posts in 1943 days

#2 posted 1264 days ago

Very nice desk.

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

View blackcherry's profile


3156 posts in 2457 days

#3 posted 1264 days ago

Wow, plenty to like the curves , apron and stretcher make this a real eye candy piece. Nice work love the wood as well, thanks for posting…BC

View smartlikestick's profile


52 posts in 2213 days

#4 posted 1264 days ago

I love the design of the desk – the eccentricity of the drawer makes the piece.

-- -- Mike Beauvais

View AaronK's profile


1397 posts in 2099 days

#5 posted 1264 days ago

very nice concept, and the work speaks for itself.

View Stephen Mines's profile

Stephen Mines

224 posts in 1325 days

#6 posted 1264 days ago

This is delicate and rare…with a whole bunch of strength, it just ‘fits’ all around to me.

-- Stephen Mines (

View pimpson's profile


73 posts in 1503 days

#7 posted 1264 days ago

I like the curves on the apron and the through tenon nice work.

View Dusty56's profile


11644 posts in 2322 days

#8 posted 1264 days ago

Beautiful top although I’d like to see it with more overhang. I agree that the front apron looks “heavy” with those slender legs attached , especially when viewed from the side and the drawer just distracts the eye from the nicely figured wood. Just one fools honest opinion : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Bricofleur's profile


1133 posts in 1828 days

#9 posted 1264 days ago

Congrats! This desk is very elegant and looks so light. Great job! This desk is unique and by offsetting the drawer you made it officially unique. Please, don’t regret!



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View hickeymad's profile


143 posts in 1644 days

#10 posted 1248 days ago

Love the sculpting. It was brave to put the drawer off-center. I rather like it. I really need to sculpt more of my pieces. What was your process for the shaping (tools, techniques)?

View DonnBialik's profile


27 posts in 1603 days

#11 posted 1245 days ago

hickeymad – Well, the arcs on the aprons and stretchers were done with a baltic birch template and a pattern routing bit (after the jointery was completed). After cutting the mortises for the legs, I turned the sections that didn’t interfere with the jointery, then glued it up and hand shaped the rest. Buy a pattern bit and a microplane and just go for it. It’s very rewarding.

View Grit's profile


32 posts in 1216 days

#12 posted 1207 days ago

Lean, strong, functional, and beautiful.

Great design and craftsmanship.

-- "Be more human."

View helluvawreck's profile


15627 posts in 1501 days

#13 posted 1207 days ago

It’s very nice and turned out beautifully. My hat is off to you for a job well done.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Moron's profile


4666 posts in 2528 days

#14 posted 994 days ago

caught the whisper of my eye


-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Ty's profile


26 posts in 1215 days

#15 posted 609 days ago

Gorgeous! well-done!

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