Tambour Top Boxes

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Project by TheDane posted 07-22-2011 02:26 AM 4166 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


14940 posts in 2653 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


16274 posts in 4181 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


120 posts in 2587 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

216 posts in 2634 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


7228 posts in 3318 days

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


-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View TheDane's profile


5399 posts in 3626 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


5928 posts in 2967 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 - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Howard13's profile


9 posts in 2463 days

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

Beautiful! I can’t wait to make one.

View tlstc's profile


29 posts in 2924 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

10045 posts in 4015 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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