Roll top desk

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Forum topic by Matt posted 11-11-2010 03:43 AM 1243 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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212 posts in 3173 days

11-11-2010 03:43 AM

Got another question on a roll top desk I plan on building.

I’ll try to describe this the best I can but. If you take a look at the link I provided. Now on the back section of the top the middle stile carries up to the top of the hutch. Now the tambour needs a groove to ride in. How does the groove carry on through the panel.

I hope you guys understand what I mean. :p

-- Hold on! Let me get the board stretcher!

4 replies so far

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13524 posts in 2765 days

#1 posted 11-11-2010 03:52 AM

all the shelving need to be clear of the top
and rest on the bottom
and the sides below
the straight track
that is also curved down
in the top back
a grove there too
and a place for the roll top to go
maybe some rubber stops
to keep it from banging
and breaking up

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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1408 posts in 2982 days

#2 posted 11-12-2010 04:26 PM

Norm built a roll-top desk (not as fancy as that one). His show explains how the tambour is independent of the structure except where it’s captured in the track on the sides. It has to roll down behind the cabinetry along the back.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View sis's profile


13 posts in 2900 days

#3 posted 01-20-2012 03:51 PM

Has anyone had trouble with the tambour. I bought the router bit set, but it doesnt seem to roll right.
thanks, sis

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2498 days

#4 posted 01-20-2012 04:54 PM

I recently installed a tambour in an audio booth I made. You can see it here in the second and third pictures (ignore the dust)

In my case, I bought a pre-made tambour top from Woodwaves. I think that is the way to do it. I’m very happy with the top I bought and how well it works. I spent about $130 for a tambour top that is 54” wide and 30” deep. Money well spent.

I still needed to put an end piece on the top and cut the tracks for it to run in. The handles and lock are connected to the end piece I put on. The handles are not essential, but they are nice.

I also needed to deal with the mechanical aspects. There is a slot in the back of the work surface and the top runs down the back wall below the work surface. I needed to make a track for the back wall and install a stop so it only opened so far.

Also – you cannot have any wall based support for the work surface under the tambour area. I ran a support brace under the front of the work surface along the length of the work surface. That brace may not have been necessary, but I wanted to be certain we would have no sagging. 54” is a relatively long span.

Finally, if you are smarter than me (most people are), you would not install an electrical outlet in the area that will be covered up when the tambour top is opened. I put the electrical outlet in early in the project and put the tambour top in towards the end of the project. In this case, I failed the concept of “thinking ahead”.

It was not a real hard job, but it is also not a job for a beginner.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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