Amana tambour door router bit set - slick idea

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Review by Brandon posted 05-21-2009 09:58 PM 12730 views 5 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Amana tambour door router bit set - slick idea Amana tambour door router bit set - slick idea Amana tambour door router bit set - slick idea Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have been wanting to build my wife a roll top desk for some time but the dilemma always came in on how to make the tambour. The new bit set from Amana is a great idea! No more having to glue slats to canvas or drilling the slats to run a cable down through them. The bits worked great and made it real easy to use different woods. The one drawback that I found was in the instructions and video. They state to mill the stock to 1/2” x 1 15/16” and that is what I did. The issue comes in when setting up the finishing contour path because that dictates the size of the ball and the defines the fit. I test it and found that if I set it up to get the whole contour on the face of the slat, then the ball portion was too small. When I set up to achieve the proper ball/socket fit, then the face of the slat was flat. The pictures show the loose fit and loss of the contour with the proper fit. Unfortunately when I realized this issue, I had already milled all my stock for the desk. It looks nice, but I think that it would have looked better with the proper contour as demonstrated in the video. I would recommend an extra 1/32” to 1/16” on the stock in order to obtain the best of both. The other observation I made was in the video, Lonny Bird’s ball router bit was a 3 flute and the one I received was a 2 flute.

All in all and great idea and design, I just wish I new about the stock issue first.

-- Brandon, Maine,

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30 posts in 3595 days

18 comments so far

View lew's profile


11266 posts in 3178 days

#1 posted 05-21-2009 10:57 PM


I, too, have always wanted to make a roll top desk. When I saw this bit advertised, I thought that might be the way to go.

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

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 2949 days

#2 posted 05-21-2009 11:28 PM

Thank you! I too have been looking at this bit and ponerdering…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3411 days

#3 posted 05-21-2009 11:40 PM

I remember seeing those a long a time age. If I ever needed a tambour I will take a second look at them.

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

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3000 days

#4 posted 05-21-2009 11:42 PM

Thanks for the review I’ve wondered how well these work also.

-- Custom furniture

View Splinterman's profile


23066 posts in 2784 days

#5 posted 05-22-2009 03:41 PM

The three fluted router bit sysytem would run smoother and with better control.

View woodman71's profile


162 posts in 2747 days

#6 posted 05-24-2009 02:14 AM

I to have always want to build tambour door but was never crazy about the building process and i seen the review in woodsmith router table secrets like the review.thanks for your input and info i guess like anything there is always a leaning curve .

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 2981 days

#7 posted 05-24-2009 09:30 PM

Thanks for the review. I have been contemplating this for a while. I was wondering how well it would work. I might have to talk the boss into this set for the shop. We do a lot of tambour units.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Martyroc's profile


2711 posts in 1729 days

#8 posted 02-05-2012 06:54 PM

Hi Brandon, New to LBJ’s but not to woodworking, i had been looking at the tambour door bits from Amana and wanted to get an opinion from someone who actually used them first before I made the purchase as like any good tool or accessory I will gladly pay the asking price if it does what it supposed to. The insight to what the directions says regarding the measurements, and what you say is helpful and I am glad a fellow LBJer like you got me the skinny on that. Love the desk and the use of different woods was a good choice. Keep making sawdust

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View Benno's profile


1 post in 188 days

#9 posted 04-22-2016 07:50 AM

I just built an office addition off our dining room and I want to construct a tambour door (window) between the two rooms (similar to a food service counter window). The opening is 7’ wide and 54” high. The idea is that it will be open most of the time but able to be closed in order to provide more privacy in the office and also lockable for security. My question here has to do with the radius of turn allowable with this type of non-canvas and non-wired tambour. I need to hide this 54” door within a 24” space below the ceiling. I don’t want it to follow a gentle slope and hang under a large swath of the ceiling. Rather, I want it to either turn with a relatively small radius and store in an upside down U shape or in a scroll pattern. I’m coming to the conclusion that this type of tambour doesn’t allow a small enough radius for my needs, so I’ll probably need to use wires with something like the Rockler tambour router bit set. Can anyone confirm or deny?

View NuBeRick's profile


5 posts in 120 days

#10 posted 06-28-2016 10:32 PM

As my user name suggests I am new to wood working (sort of) and need a lot of advice. In an early post to this thread Brandon said ” I would recommend an extra 1/32” to 1/16” on the stock in order to obtain the best of both.” I assume anyone past newbie level would be able to figure it out but for me I would like some clarification as to which dimension to add the extra 1/32” to 1/16” to. Do i add it to the 1/2” or the 1 15/16” dimension? Also if you have time can you explain why I should know which one it is. He did mention that it was “on the stock” so I would appreciate knowing what “on the stock” means.
Thanks for any help.

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30 posts in 3595 days

#11 posted 06-29-2016 12:23 AM

Hi NuBeRick and welcome to the forum! This router bit set is real neat because it creates a “ball-n-socket” that readily allows multiple materials to be used. “On the stock” means the blank that you will cut first before milling the tambour profile. The extra material would be added to the 1/2” dimension. If you look at the picture on the right, you will see the first ones that I milled with the stock dimensions at the instruction specified 1/2”. You will see on the left, in order to obtain a clean cut on the face profile, that the “ball” is too narrow to properly fit the “socket.” The piece on the right shows that in order to get the “ball” the correct size, that the face profile is flat. By adding the extra material to the stock, you will be able to achieve both the face profile and a proper sized “ball” to fit the “socket.” I hope this helps clarify your questions. I have the set for sale if you are looking to tackle this ;-)

-- Brandon, Maine,

View NuBeRick's profile


5 posts in 120 days

#12 posted 06-29-2016 12:13 PM

Hello Brandon. Thank you for responding to my question which I now realize was not worded very well but you answered it anyway. What I was trying to ask was, to which dimension did you add the 1/32 to 1/16 of an inch and although I thought I knew what is meant by “On the stock” I was not sure if in fact it meant the thickness or width of the blank. I just received my new bit set and will play with it before making my final doors. I never thought of looking for a used set on line but thanks for the offer.

You also mentioned using different woods. That was going to be my next question which is. Is it best to use hard woods or soft woods. I’m guessing they were using soft wood in the video because of the feed speed and chip size but that is only a guess.


View recipio's profile


6 posts in 787 days

#13 posted 10-23-2016 12:23 PM

I’m thinking of trying these bits – however … one mentions how they look in the groove. I understand they ride fully inserted in a 9/16” groove without any tenon or shoulder.That’s fine but its not as neat as the traditional ‘flat tenon’ setup and I wonder if dirt will accumulate in the gaps between the slats. ?

View NuBeRick's profile


5 posts in 120 days

#14 posted 10-23-2016 12:43 PM

Greetings recipio. I have not made my tambour doors yet but mine will be sliding horizontally. I plan on making the upper grove deep enough so that I can easily lift the doors out of the bottom grove for removal and installation if cleaning were ever required. I would guess that dirt accumulation would depend on how clean the area where the door is installed will be.
I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “how they look in the grove”. Does the video of the bread box not help you visualize the end result?


View recipio's profile


6 posts in 787 days

#15 posted 10-23-2016 02:51 PM

Thank you Richard. Good idea to make the tambour removable although I think a lot of designs have a removable back to do just that.
I’m probably being pernickety but if there is no ‘shoulder’ for the tambour to abut the side you are going to see into the little voids between the tambours. Its a trade off in aesthetic terms as the tambour will of course function just fine. In fact its probably easier to simply mill a 9/16” slot than trying to mill perfectly accurate flat tenons on the ends of the tambours. I wonder if inserting a small dowel in the ends of the tambours would allow you to make the tambours in the usual way. ? Anyway the router bits are on order and I will experiment next week.


Brian C.

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