started building a desk for my son, David, just after
Christmas in 2005.
I bought the rough-sawn cherry wood from
Collector’s Specialty Woods in southern Colorado, as well as
the hackberry wood that is used for the drawers. All
of the work on this desk was done with hand tools. No
power tools were used.
Here is David with the desk in his room. We
put protective glass top on the desk.
The next picture is of some of the
rough-sawn lumber in my workshop. This wood is 4/4
thickness and was used for the top, panels, and drawer
fronts. The next shot is of some of the lumber used
for the legs of the desk. It is being cut to length
with a crosscut saw (Disston #12. It will then be cut
to width with a rip saw to form the basic leg.
After cutting the legs to rough size, they were planed to
square at the top and inside tapers toward the bottom.
The legs were made to join to the desk
with “triple miter” joints. This joint uses a
mortise and tenon with a mitered fit of the frame of the
desk into the leg. Here I am cutting the mitered
joint for the lower part of the desk frame. The
frame has tenons that are mortised into the legs.
Here I am chopping the mortise into one of the lower
miters of a leg.
You can see the completed mortises and mitered joints of the
lower joint. The top of the leg is mitered and I have
just started chopping the mortise into the top of the leg.
The top of the desk is composed of three panels. These
panels float in the frame of the top. I used my best
smoothing planes to get the best finish possible on the top
panels. Here is one of the top panels being planed
flat and smooth.
The previous photo is of one of the side
panels. The central panel is larger and composed
of two pieces of wood glued into a wide panel with grain
matching at the joint. A tongue was planed onto
the edge of each panel and a frame was built to hold the
This frame has a groove around the
inside edge to mate with the panel tongues. There
are floating tenons at the corners of the frame and the
center dividers of the frame are attached to the long
rails with mortise and tenon joints. Here are a
couple of pictures of the frame and panels of the top
being glued together.
The bottom side of the top is up in these pictures.
The panels were finished with shellac before assembly to
make sure that they would have finish all over to inhibit
moisture transfer in the wood.