Writing Desk

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Project by DonnBialik posted 1227 days ago 1830 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 1953 days

#1 posted 1227 days ago

Absolutely beautiful.

View Greg The Cajun Box Sculptor's profile

Greg The Cajun Box Sculptor

4930 posts in 1905 days

#2 posted 1227 days ago

Very nice desk.

-- Every step of each project is considered my masterpiece because I want the finished product to reflect the quality of my work.

View blackcherry's profile


3146 posts in 2420 days

#3 posted 1227 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


51 posts in 2175 days

#4 posted 1227 days ago

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

-- -- Mike Beauvais

View AaronK's profile


1389 posts in 2061 days

#5 posted 1227 days ago

very nice concept, and the work speaks for itself.

View Stephen Mines's profile

Stephen Mines

224 posts in 1287 days

#6 posted 1227 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 1466 days

#7 posted 1227 days ago

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

View Dusty56's profile


11638 posts in 2285 days

#8 posted 1227 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


1115 posts in 1790 days

#9 posted 1226 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


141 posts in 1607 days

#10 posted 1211 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 1565 days

#11 posted 1208 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 1178 days

#12 posted 1169 days ago

Lean, strong, functional, and beautiful.

Great design and craftsmanship.

-- "Be more human."

View helluvawreck's profile


15392 posts in 1463 days

#13 posted 1169 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 2490 days

#14 posted 957 days ago

caught the whisper of my eye


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

View Ty's profile


26 posts in 1177 days

#15 posted 571 days ago

Gorgeous! well-done!

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

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