|Project by Rb12||posted 04-05-2014 11:23 PM||1886 views||5 times favorited||12 comments|
So here is my first attempt at a federal style of desk. This was for my youngest daughter so it had some non-federal elements that were particular to her, such as the sun inlay.
There were a lot of new skills for me on this desk (which also meant I needed a number of new tools ;-)
I discovered the joy/benefits/utility of hand planes on this desk (Woodriver No 4 and 1945-ish Stanley No 7). I also picked up a Veritas router plane which worked phenomenally for getting really tightly fitting tenons as well as doing the string in-lays. I did strings on the front legs, the drawer fronts and the table top. The hand planes also made leveling the desk top and jointing them (doing a spring joint) remarkably easy.
I built a taper jig to taper the legs. Basically this style
But out of some scrap MDF and maple I had in the shop and some short cuts of t-track. Really easy to make for virtually nothing and works like a charm.
I made all the banding, medallions and inlays myself from boarded stock. I couldn’t find holly, so I used a clean piece of maple; the darker wood on the banding is cocobolo. The desk itself is cherry; I also made the knobs out of cocobolo with a maple middle. The guys of the drawers are poplar.
These were the first time I handout dovetails for a finished piece (I have done practice dovetails, but never anything I wanted preserved. The pic is the second drawer, they were quite a bit better than the first drawer ;-)
The sun inlay is maple burl in the middle, yellow heart and orange osage as the rays. It was the trickiest inlay I have ever done (I used a hole saw and a piece of scrap plywood to make a repeatable pattern with a router bit with a bearing on the top. Then I used a small carving set gouge, chisels and the router plane to clear the waste on the rays. Once they were done, I used the router and plywood circle to clean a new circle and inlays the maple burl. The hand planes made it incredibly easy to leave the inlays proud, glue them, and then level them with the table top. In the past I have used a belt or orbital sander and it never comes out as flat and even as this.
I am still by no means a hand plane expert, but this project is really pushing me in the direction of more hand tools.
The finish was two coats of natural Danish Oil and then two coats of shellac (sanding in between). I will also do a couple coats of spar urethane on the top for some additional moisture resistance.