Writing Desk

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Project by DonnBialik posted 03-15-2011 03:39 AM 2695 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 3356 days

#1 posted 03-15-2011 03:46 AM

Absolutely beautiful.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3308 days

#2 posted 03-15-2011 04:01 AM

Very nice desk.

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3822 days

#3 posted 03-15-2011 04:09 AM

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


54 posts in 3577 days

#4 posted 03-15-2011 04:13 AM

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

-- -- Mike Beauvais

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3464 days

#5 posted 03-15-2011 04:15 AM

very nice concept, and the work speaks for itself.

View Stephen Mines's profile

Stephen Mines

226 posts in 2690 days

#6 posted 03-15-2011 04:27 AM

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 2868 days

#7 posted 03-15-2011 05:46 AM

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

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3687 days

#8 posted 03-15-2011 06:11 AM

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


1442 posts in 3192 days

#9 posted 03-15-2011 05:15 PM

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


158 posts in 3009 days

#10 posted 03-31-2011 05:24 AM

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


45 posts in 2968 days

#11 posted 04-03-2011 05:48 AM

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


35 posts in 2580 days

#12 posted 05-11-2011 03:30 PM

Lean, strong, functional, and beautiful.

Great design and craftsmanship.

-- "Be more human."

View helluvawreck's profile


31092 posts in 2866 days

#13 posted 05-11-2011 05:46 PM

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

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3893 days

#14 posted 12-10-2011 06:13 AM

caught the whisper of my eye


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

View Ty's profile


26 posts in 2580 days

#15 posted 12-29-2012 10:48 PM

Gorgeous! well-done!

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

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