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Tambour Door Repair

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Forum topic by PatP posted 11-22-2011 12:14 AM 5232 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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PatP

43 posts in 2702 days


11-22-2011 12:14 AM

Greetings All,
I recently purchased a Derby roll top desk made around 1890. The roll top is in pretty bad shape and I need to rebuild it. Can anyone give me some guidance here? I’ve never attempted anything like this before. I’m SURE that I can do it with a little help and advice from you folks. Pictures to follow.
Thanks!

-- Pat>>> A Man Don't Learn a Lesson Unless It Costs Him Blood or Money!!!!!


9 replies so far

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 2529 days


#1 posted 11-22-2011 12:19 AM

If it’s truly shot beyond repair, see if you can buy a ready-made replacement. They are available in several sizes and styles. If you can’t find an exact size match, get as close as you can and cut it down to fit your desk.

You could make one, but it takes some practice to get it right.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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Howie

2656 posts in 2384 days


#2 posted 11-22-2011 12:22 AM

Pat: I would check out Norm Abrams New Yankee Workshop Video where he builds a roll top(2 parter) I Think it can be found on NPR website. It was just on TV again the last couple of weeks.
Maybe someone has the url for this????

-- Life is good.

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PatP

43 posts in 2702 days


#3 posted 11-22-2011 01:31 AM

Ya know, I thought that I had seen a show on someone rebuilding a tambour door, and I thought it was Norm. I’ve searched the NYW website for “tambour” “roll top” “rolltop” and nothing comes up. Are you sure it was Norm? BTW, since it is a beautiful original piece, I don’t want to put a replacement door on it. The wood on the tambour is in very good shape. Just the canvas is degraded to the point where it wants to tear when you try to close the door.

-- Pat>>> A Man Don't Learn a Lesson Unless It Costs Him Blood or Money!!!!!

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Howie

2656 posts in 2384 days


#4 posted 11-22-2011 01:42 AM

Yes it was Norm Pat. Sorry I gave you a bum steer on the “NPR” when it should have been PBS.
It was season 21, episode 25 and 26. It was just on TV last week here (Tampa Florida) He went thru the whole process of building the tambours. Other than being time consuming it didn’t look that complicated.

I’m trying to find it too. Might be copywrited like most of his stuff.

-- Life is good.

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

4224 posts in 3195 days


#5 posted 11-22-2011 02:18 AM

They are not that hard to make from scratch.
If you can find some good bullnose molding with an overall width of 3/4 inch, you’re halfway there. Buy some good duck twill canvas from a fabric shop. Stretch it tightly over a scrap piece of plywood a bit larger than the dimensions of the tambour itself and staple it down. Glue the moldings to the canvas with fast-set Titebond or whatever your favorite, non-urethane glue you have. Be sure to keep it square, and allow the moldings to lay beyond the canvas because you don’t want canvas to get into the track. You will be relying on extreme weights to hold the molding down to the canvas, so gather some bricks and whatever heavy iron you have…

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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Bernie

416 posts in 2298 days


#6 posted 11-22-2011 05:39 AM

Poopiekat is right, these doors are not that hard to build. He gives good advise on the canvas and having the wood longer the the canvas. I built a tambour door bread box for my wife last Christmas. The 3/4 inch bull nose molding would have been to wide for my breadbox so I made my own slats. The trick is to cut your stock longer then what you need because this allows you to have handles on the ends of the slats when you rout the edges. Be sure to round off these edges enough for the slats to roll around the curves. Once your done routing, cut them down to size.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

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PatP

43 posts in 2702 days


#7 posted 11-22-2011 02:35 PM

Thanks everyone. I did find the NYW show. It was season 10, at least online. I ordered the 2 part dvd. The wood on the tambour is in great shape, very little wear for a desk this old. I’ll try to post some pics later today.

-- Pat>>> A Man Don't Learn a Lesson Unless It Costs Him Blood or Money!!!!!

View Jeff in Huntersville's profile

Jeff in Huntersville

404 posts in 2655 days


#8 posted 11-22-2011 03:13 PM

Rockler sells a set of router bits to make the tambour if you’re ambitious enough. Doesn’t require a canvas backing. I made one for my roll top desk. See my projects.

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PatP

43 posts in 2702 days


#9 posted 11-22-2011 07:27 PM

WOW Jeff, that is some project. That thing is beautiful! What plans did you use?

-- Pat>>> A Man Don't Learn a Lesson Unless It Costs Him Blood or Money!!!!!

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