Thursday, October 16, 2014

Work on the desk resumes

It has been so long since I posted about this project that you may have forgotten it.  If you want to, you can refresh your memory by clicking on the Desk topic to the right.  After talking several times with my client/son, the design of the gallery changed somewhat.  At 12" high, the cabinets are shorter and have only one drawer with an open space above them.  My son felt that this would give him the most flexibility, although I am still thinking about providing for a removable shelf midway in one or both.

You will notice that the drawers are made with wide finger joints that are protruding.  I had originally wanted to make this desk in the Greene and Greene style, but my son rejected that as "too ornate."  I think he was reacting to all the ebony plugs, so I decided to sneak in some Greene and Greene influence with these drawers.  I have always admired how they look, especially after seeing them in person at the Gamble house in Pasadena.  

These fingers will be pillowed in the familiar style.  I think they will be in keeping with the style of the desk, the through tenons in particular.  Like the rest of the desk, these are made from rift sawn white oak, which I have really grown to like.  It is somewhat plain, but I think it will provide a nice contrast with the highly figured desktop and draw the eye to it.

I hesitated for a long time about what joinery to use.  In many respects, half-blind dovetails are the logical choice, because neither the top nor the bottom of these will be visible.  However, I finally decided that dados and rabbets would be more in keeping with the style of the desk.  I know some of you will be skeptical about the strength of these joints, but I will write a later post about why I believe they are stronger than commonly assumed.

Just to make sure, the joints are reinforced with 12 riven pegs in each cabinet.  There will also be a half-lap back on each cabinet which my design will cause to be very rigid.

I made these drawers based on the way Paul Sellers made those in his tool chest.  The sides stick out beyond the back so they cause the drawer to be supported when fully opened, a nice feature here so the drawer won't inadvertently fall out onto the desktop or drag across it.

This picture gives you the idea.

Another advantage of this design is that it provides a convenient place to install stop blocks so that the front of the drawers are precisely aligned with the front of the cabinet when fully closed.  Maybe this was obvious to you, but it was new to me and it works very well.

1 comment:

  1. the gallery did change a bit - I can't wait to see this finished