Roll top computer desk

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Project by Ray posted 05-08-2008 07:54 PM 3012 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Working weekends a friend and I built our roll top desks from scratch. Always wanting a roll top desk we decided that if we worked on our own we would never get one done but combining our tools and efforts we could accomplish it.
It took us three years only working on weekends and excluding the summer since my friend golfed every weekend. We stated from scratch with rough wood. I used oak and he used cherry wood.
We did use a pattern for the basic measurements but it was a secretary’s desk so we had to change everything. The drawer areas where too narrow for the computer to fit into so we widened the drawer area as well as making it deeper again to accommodate the PC. Probably the most difficult change was the top portion. The original design had the top tapering back quite quickly and then raising up. Needless to say we could not fit a CRT (all there was at that time) into it. We raised the top by at least 10” and brought it way forward and minimized the curvature. We used a lot of cardboard templates to check the fit. Obviously now with flat screen monitors we have tons of room on top! I finished it with many coats of Tung oil. This was a long project and one of the most rewarding projects that I have ever made.

8 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3985 days

#1 posted 05-08-2008 09:13 PM

Looks like it was worth the three years it took to build! Fantastic job.

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

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3669 days

#2 posted 05-08-2008 09:49 PM

Wow dataman! Beautiful work. Of all my woodworking goals, a roll-top desk tops my list. Working up to the courage to tackle such a job. Thanks for the encouragement!

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3819 days

#3 posted 05-08-2008 10:36 PM


This is a beautiful desk. You did a wonderful job on the construction and finish.

Thanks for sharing this project. I really enjoyed looking at this.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3752 days

#4 posted 05-09-2008 12:39 AM


Beautiful work!!!

I envy you. I have always wanted to build one of these ever since I saw one in an old W. C. Fields movie.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Grumpy's profile


23916 posts in 3848 days

#5 posted 05-09-2008 02:10 AM

timeless piece, great job.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3720 days

#6 posted 05-09-2008 04:55 AM

Dataman, I’m jealous! I’ve always wanted to try something like this. That looks like it would be a lot of fun to build…you did excellent work!

-- Martin, Kansas

View Kipster's profile


1076 posts in 3750 days

#7 posted 05-11-2008 01:34 AM

3 years of building will give decades of use.

Thanks for posting.

-- Kip Northern Illinois ( If you don't know where your goin any road will take you there) George Harrison

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3771 days

#8 posted 05-14-2008 01:44 AM

You guys did a great job on your desk. Looks very nice. Thanks for posting.

God bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

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