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Forum topic by TuffO posted 02-02-2015 02:54 PM 936 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TuffO

15 posts in 673 days


02-02-2015 02:54 PM

Hello there I am look for some help on a work desk/bench that I am designing. I am working on the sides of the desk. They measure roughly 36h x 24w. I am going to designing the desk to be built entirely out of hardwoods (no engineered woods i.e CDX, MDF etc). I am new to designing fine woodwork, specifically traditional joinery. I was wondering how you guys would go about building the sides. Also this desk has to be very ridged and withstand a lot of abuse. I can’t wait to hear what you guys come up with!


13 replies so far

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HornedWoodwork

222 posts in 677 days


#1 posted 02-02-2015 04:34 PM

How high is the writing surface going to be, how thick is the writing surface? Are there legs or does the side go straight to the ground? Most tables have an apron and legs, the joinery here is almost always mortise and tenon and the top is crewed on with buttons or somehting like that. At 36” I assume the sides are taller than the writing surface, so that means something like a dado, sliding dovetail, or through tenons. For looks you can’t beat through M&T joints, they just have so much visual interest, and are very traditional in casework. They don’t work with every design though, so keep the overall visual appeal in mind when designing.

if you are going with through M&T remember that you can opt for wedged tenons or do something like a walrus tooth to add some more weight to the joint, and have the added benefit of being able to knock the desk down and reassemble it elsewhere.

For mechanical strength the sliding dovetail is your strongest joint. If you add a hanger or a kicker rail at the back of the desk that will greatly increase strength and resist lateral stress.

If you are doing dados (or sliding dovetails) think about trying a stopped dado so that you don’t break the verticle line of the sides. Make some sketches and post them if you need more input.

-- Talent, brilliance, and humility are my virtues.

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TuffO

15 posts in 673 days


#2 posted 02-03-2015 04:15 AM

Here is a rough model of what I am looking to build. the top is 3” thick and sits on top of the cabinet bank. I plan to make the outer most panels out of solid wood plained to 4/4. I was thinking of doing a biscuit or maybe a domino to join 2 – 12” or 3 – 8” wide pieces together. However I don’t know how strong this would be (mainly the biscuit). I don’t know if there are any other joinery methods that I could do to join these pieces (i.e. breadboard ends or something else). I also want to avoid any cupping if at all possible and if absolutely need go to quarter sawn to avoid this then it is what it is. I would prefer to find a way to avoid that though as the wood I want to use for the body is not available in quarter sawn and would have to change species.

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HornedWoodwork

222 posts in 677 days


#3 posted 02-03-2015 08:35 PM

If your main concern is strength of the glued panel that’s not going to be too big an issue. I make a lot of panels out of real boards with just an edge butt joint. The key to making good edge butt joints is to spring the joint. If you need tips on a spring joints here are some
Once a panel is made this way you are home free. As to strength, an edge joint is plenty strong if well made. To keep from cupping and bowing and the like you’ll want to go with the 8” x 3, the more you cut the wood, the less the wood curls most of time.

Based on the drawing I assume you will run several rails across the front and maybe a solid manmade board at the back? The front rails can grab the sides in anyway you want, dovetails, Mortise and tenon, screws, whatever. That tension and the rigidity of the table surface shold hold back against any cupping that might occur.

You said this table top is 36” tall? I typically see desks between 27-29 inches for seated use. So I assume this is a standing desk am I right? (I see a dude standing in the picture so I think I am)

-- Talent, brilliance, and humility are my virtues.

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MT_Stringer

2853 posts in 2694 days


#4 posted 02-03-2015 08:41 PM

Why 3 inches thick?

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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TuffO

15 posts in 673 days


#5 posted 02-04-2015 12:43 AM

Ok I was not sure how strong a glued joint is. Would it be a bad idea to use something like 5/16 glued tenons in the joints to help? Good point on the cupping 3 8” pieces it is. This is a goldsmiths Bench so the drawing is not complete there is a couple pullout drawers that need to be added between the two cabinets so technically it is a sitting bench but the table top is not really meant to be worked on from the top down, work is done in front of the bench. When you do work over the top, it is with a hammer so has to be very stout to take impacts. Ss well as that slots get drilled in the face of the work top to accept mandrils and pin, this is why the top is 3” thick.

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HornedWoodwork

222 posts in 677 days


#6 posted 02-04-2015 12:58 AM

Edge joints are strong enough on there own due to the amount of surface area, BUT if you want to overbuild it (and I know you do because of course you do ;-) then you can add dominoes, loose tenons, splines, or dowels. These elements don’t add much strength but they can help you align your joint and give you that “fail-safe” element. Be warned that in thin stock these things have a way of “projecting” (think of a sock under a bed-sheet) into the field as the panel shrinks and swells with the seasons, especially in areas with a wide range of humidity throughout the years. A matte finish will hide this tendency, high gloss will tend to accentuate it.

Good luck and don’t forget to share your project when it comes together.

-- Talent, brilliance, and humility are my virtues.

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Moron

5032 posts in 3356 days


#7 posted 02-04-2015 01:03 AM

we start at the top

and then work our way down, through the differences of what works

and all too often doesnt

never underestimate the power of glue

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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TuffO

15 posts in 673 days


#8 posted 02-04-2015 01:10 AM

Yes I always over build things because I can :). As for the projecting I was unaware of this. I Was taught when I was a boy you don’t go more than 1/3 the thickness of the board if your putting a tenon or dowel into it. I assume this was for strength but does that rule also help with the projection? Also you mentioned the rails in-between the drawers. I am going old school on this build and not using draw slides on the regular drawers (the three large ones will have them though). I was not sure if I should go with a solid divider that is dadoed into the vertical panels or have a front and back rail with two slide rails. I personally was thinking about the later option as one it saves a lot of material and two I think that frame style should be strong enough for the application and the first option provides to much friction on the drawers. Along with that I was wondering if using a wood such as Cocobolo or similar wood that has a high oil content as the slide rails would be beneficial or is that simply a novelty of an idea?

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Moron

5032 posts in 3356 days


#9 posted 02-04-2015 01:44 AM

why not let your soul guide you through the paces of what wave of wood can decide what your future holds

if it were up to the glue we put forth, the academics of the world would have already solved this question and the world would echo the answer

overbuilding something isn’t always the right choice, even if that choice presents itself

when your soul takes you there, your own sense of self inflicted pain, heals the need to fail again

there are somethings that cant replace experience, nor can the experience of failure be put into words, they are much like music, soothing to some, painful to others cause anyone who has tried to join thinner boards then starting out with thick boards, knows they are two kettles of fish, where all the glue in the world, no matter what its properties, will not mask the failure of inexperience

in this wonderful world of wood, too many think they master it, when really, the wood masters you : )_

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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Moron

5032 posts in 3356 days


#10 posted 02-04-2015 02:16 AM

in the tens of thousands of hours we spend trying to make the world a better place through enslaving ourselves into reading a book, or cutting a mortise with a perfectly cut tenon, it is always wood, that has the last word, often leaving us wondering why,

when really, the wood speaks before we do

even the most talented woodworker, the master, the 40,000 hour man, is often humbled by its very nature and this isn’t taught, its learned and passed on through experience and not words : )

the olive branch should always be used before the archer lets the arrows go, and the problem isnt with the archer, but rather the over abundance of arrows

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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Moron

5032 posts in 3356 days


#11 posted 02-04-2015 02:22 AM

who owns a desk that stands 36” tall ?

thats not a desk

its a bench

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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Moron

5032 posts in 3356 days


#12 posted 02-04-2015 02:30 AM

and yet the height of the desk is only as uncomfortable as the seat height of the stool and or the chair to which we seat our butts

and put our minds to bandwidth in the hope that somehow facebook will save us through glorified accolades of people we never meet

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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HornedWoodwork

222 posts in 677 days


#13 posted 02-04-2015 12:11 PM

Slide rails are a better option, less wood wasted, less frustration for you. Pretty sure if you used cocobolo as hidden drawer slide you would win the “overbuilt” prize by a wide margin. Poplar will do fine, just wax it before you slide the drawer on.

-- Talent, brilliance, and humility are my virtues.

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