|Project by DohBoy||posted 08-25-2011 03:14 AM||7972 views||18 times favorited||22 comments|
In further support of my wife’s hobby of reenactment (mostly Revolutionary War Era) and my development of my skills as a woodworker, I committed to making this desk for my wife about three or four months ago. I promised to have it done by the end of July. When the plans arrived I was immediately worried. Holy crap this thing is complicated! Not in an intricate parts kinda way (but it has that to a degree as well with the prop) but more from a lot of process steps. Some of which were less than obvious to the hack that I am.
But I managed to pull off some decent handcut through and halfblind dovetails. I would judge them to be good. Not great, but good. Which is awesome as these were the first handcuts for me.
Here are some links to more pix of the project in progress on fb:
Bought an extremely helpful Japanese style pull dovetail saw, which cuts like a dream. The dovetails on the original are a bit smaller than those I made, but to my good fortune, my wife wanted the drawer depth about 1” more so I could reasonably upsize the pins (tails? I can never keep that straight) correspondingly. This meant I didn’t need to have to locate or grind a chisel down to 3/32 plus bevel for dovetailing. Still have pretty small pins/tails.
This is my practice desk – I will be doing another in some beautiful curly mahogany I got from an online source. I used some cherry for this one that my neighbor and I whacked from a property behind us. Had it air-drying in the basement for about 5 years. Yes, I know about air-dried wood and movement :) The cherry is beautiful, and I think I did a decent job with the bookmatching. Bookmatching the bottom of a drawer that is going to be covered all the time seems like gilding the lily though.
So what went “wrong” on the practice desk? Well, to begin, the instructions didn’t ask you to account for the thickness of the baize (feltish looking writing surface) in setting the hinge depth, but they did take the time to tell you to set the depth to half the knuckle rather than just the leaf thickness. So I had to shim up the hinge. In fact, all of the hinges are shimmed to some degree :(. Ummm…. There were some other things…. Nothing that wasn’t hidden real well. And the opening in the carcass is about 1/16 too big for the drawer. I had to shave about 1/16 offa the back of the drawer to make it sit flush with the front of the carcass. Some stuff I had to redo…
Anyhoo, very proud of this project and the way it came together. It really gave my skillset a boost too!
The other issue that I encountered with the plans (besides that of the hinge mortise depth) was that in the drawing the bookrest is shown flush with the back edge of the top panel of the writing surface. This is problematic since in the top panel has to be relieved in order to accommodate the lower hinge knuckle when the two panels are opened parallel. This also means that the bookrest needs to be positioned inboard of the profile of the back edge of the closed top leaf. This detail can also be seen in images of the original Thomas Jefferson Desk (as well as in my first picture).
-- I am an anal-retentive procrastinator. Is it a wonder my projects never get done?