Tambour Top Boxes

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Project by TheDane posted 07-22-2011 02:26 AM 2852 views 8 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Several weeks back, I built a Tambour Top Box, as detailed in Sandor Nagyszalanczy’s article in the April 2011 Issue of Woodworkers Journal.

The first box was a prototype, intended to test my skill level. It was fun to build, I had some cherry and maple cutoiffs sitting on the shelf that were just about right, so I spent a good deal of the recent heat wave inside working on some copies.

I’ve built a total of four of them now (I saved the templates and the frame I used for gluing up the tambour), so more may be in the offing. I can see at least one as a silent auction item in our local humane society’s Spring fund-raiser.

The prototype (the one on the left in the first photo) has dove-tailed drawers. I had a lot of trouble with the small half-blind dovetails (it is a skill I need a lot of work on!), so I chickened out on the cherry box and the other two maple boxes and used pinned rebates instead. The ‘pins’ are maple toothpicks (thanks to Charles Neil for the tip!) ... they are incredibly strong, and dress up the joinery a bit.

Here’s a link to a video that details building of the tambour and routing the track it runs on.

Templates are available on the magazine’s website:


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

10 comments so far

View gfadvm's profile (online now)


12122 posts in 1510 days

#1 posted 07-22-2011 02:59 AM

VERY nice! This is one box I haven’t tried as I figured the roll top was beyond my skill level. Thanks for posting the info link.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View CharlieM1958's profile


15889 posts in 3038 days

#2 posted 07-22-2011 03:02 AM

These are very impressive, Gerry. I really like the design, and your build is great.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View freighttrain's profile


119 posts in 1443 days

#3 posted 07-22-2011 03:28 AM

great job on all of those they look great as for myself i like the dovetails better looks to me like you did a good job on those dovetails you should see my attempts at some make you look like a pro at it lol

-- freighttrain,ky

View David LaBolle's profile

David LaBolle

201 posts in 1491 days

#4 posted 07-22-2011 03:30 AM


That is so cool. It almost looks easy from that great video.

“Almost.” ; )

Well done.

-- When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for

View degoose's profile


7066 posts in 2175 days

#5 posted 07-22-2011 09:58 AM


-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ For lovers of all things timber...

View TheDane's profile (online now)


4102 posts in 2483 days

#6 posted 07-22-2011 01:55 PM

freighttrain—Believe it or not, the dovetails on the prototype took me an entire day! I have a pile of about a dozen drawer sides that didn’t make it.

The problem I was having was with the half-pin on the bottom and the juxtaposition with the inside groove for the drawer bottom. Ordinarily, you’d just position the groove so it goes through the middle of the bottom tail, which effectively hides it from view.

The drawers are shallow, and if you position the groove so it is hidden, it is so far from the edge that you lose space inside the drawer.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View NormG's profile


4761 posts in 1824 days

#7 posted 07-23-2011 03:21 AM

Nice work, have seen this type before, just never knew they had a specific name

-- Norman

View Howard13's profile


6 posts in 1320 days

#8 posted 07-24-2011 04:10 AM

Beautiful! I can’t wait to make one.

View tlstc's profile


29 posts in 1781 days

#9 posted 07-30-2011 10:00 PM

Beautiful. Make larger and you have a great breadbox!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

8069 posts in 2872 days

#10 posted 08-22-2011 08:10 PM

That is really UNIQUE… COOL way of opening the top! :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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