Portable Writing Desk

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Project by ThreeJs posted 01-21-2008 02:51 AM 7109 views 5 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was inspired to make this portable writing desk after watching Marc (the wood whisperer) interviews the guys at Fine Wood Working magazine. They did a tour of the facility, and one of the items on display was a writing desk. Now the one I made is not like that one, but it was the idea that caught my attention. I had been thinking of what to build for the Not Just Any Box winter challenge, and this fit the bill for me. It’s not just a box. It is a writing desk. :)

The box measures 12” x 10.75” x 3”, and is made from walnut and maple. I did the rough work on my table saw, and miter saw, but I did all the rabbits and dadoes, by hand. I did this for 2 reasons. 1. Some of the angles are a little odd, and it was just easier to do it by hand. 2. I don’t own a lot of tools, so I had no other choice.

I planed, and joined the wood using my Stanley #5, milled the rabbits and dadoes, using a razor saw, and used a Japanese pull saw to rip the incline. I then used chisels, scrapers and block plane for the finishing, and cleanup.

Corner View

The box’s (erm portable writing desk’s) finish is a tung oil finish (oil varnish blend). Not my favorite, but as I don’t know what abuse this will see, I wanted to use something a little more durable than my normal oil and wax finish. I dyed the maple lightly to help the grain pop, and left the walnut alone, as it had really nice color variation.

All the panels are solid wood. I book matched them using my table saw, and the Japanese pull saw to finish the rip. I had to make multiple passes on the table saw, making progressively deeper cuts. I was wishing for a band saw with each pass…

Here are some additional pictures of the box. It really turned out nice, and the wife has already claimed it for her own. It will be interesting to see how she uses this project, now that it is done.

-- David, Charlotte NC

11 comments so far

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3966 days

#1 posted 01-21-2008 02:55 AM

Most definitely a beautiful box, er, portable writing desk. I’ve thought about making one of these for a while and seeing yours makes me want to head out to the shop and start.

-- Working at Woodworking

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4015 days

#2 posted 01-21-2008 02:58 AM

Very cool! Nice execution.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 3881 days

#3 posted 01-21-2008 03:44 AM

What a great idea!

Beautiful craftsmanship too!

-- Still learning everything

View Marge's profile


145 posts in 3980 days

#4 posted 01-21-2008 04:43 AM

Very nice and an interesting use of the two woods

-- Marge, Colorado

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 3928 days

#5 posted 01-21-2008 10:56 AM

Great idea and design, beautifully done JJJ. My wife noticed that this follows the strong LJ theme of wives claiming the creations of male Lumberjocks. We must be doing something right!

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3901 days

#6 posted 01-21-2008 11:34 AM

Great job. Good luck in the contest.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4187 days

#7 posted 01-21-2008 04:58 PM

beautiful “not just any box” ... AND the pictures. superb.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4326 days

#8 posted 01-25-2008 03:23 PM

Beautiful desk, my “Sweety” would love to have this one.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4203 days

#9 posted 01-25-2008 10:29 PM

Triple J, this is a very creative entry. I wouldn’t have thought of this as a wooden box, but what else would you call it? I just love small wooden boxes, so it’s inspirational to have this added to the genre.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3740 days

#10 posted 09-05-2008 08:12 PM

This is NICE!... I love the look of it. The walnut and maple go perfectly together. Very nice job… !!

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View mrgreenjeans0806's profile


1 post in 2475 days

#11 posted 09-16-2011 07:47 PM

I think that writting desk is unbelieveable! That is my goal, to someday be advanced enough to build something as eligant as that project! Very well done my friend!

-- Bob, Wichita, Ks.

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