Charles Rohlfs Revolving Slant Front Desk

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Blog entry by Woodbridge posted 02-01-2014 07:32 PM 2674 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of my woodworking objectives is to reproduce a room full of Charles Rohlfs furniture, similar to the pictures of the living room in his Park Street Home in Buffalo N.Y.

So far I have reproduced Rohlfs 1898 Desk Chair, Tall Back Chair, Oak Rocker and Coal Hod (in the form of a coffee table).

On my list this year are the Tall Case Clock and Revolving Slant Front Desk.

Original versions of Rohlfs desk are on display in museums in Kansas City, Dallas and Detroit. Prior to staring my reproduction, I had planned to travel to one of these locations to view the desk first hand. However, last year, fate intervened in a wonderful way. Through the good graces and generosity of another woodworker, who was aware of my interests in Rohlfs, I had the opportunity to see, photograph and measure an original Rohlfs desk. There are no plans available to reproduce Rohlfs work and only a limited number of pictures available on the internet and in books. It was a great opportunity to see first-hand how the desk was built.

So I snapped as many pictures as I could and recorded the dimensions of the various parts and pieces. I plan to make my version of the desk out of Mahogany.

To make sure that I had recorded the information and interpreted the photograghs properly I decide to make a mock-up of the swivel desk. This way it would give me a chance to make sure everything fit together and better understand how to build the final version.

The mock-up is about 90% complete. A few decorative elements need to be added along with the four drawers. I will make basswood samples of the major carvings on the desk to get some practice before tackling the final product.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

8 comments so far

View CC's profile


21 posts in 2218 days

#1 posted 02-01-2014 07:39 PM

Wow, fantastic

-- CC, King City, Ontario

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3689 days

#2 posted 02-01-2014 08:21 PM

im looking forward to seeing your goal met, when i saw mark do the chair it opened up a new worl of wood work, as i didnt know of this work or the woodworker, that is why i love this site, so much education to be gained and enjoying the work that comes from talented woodworkers as yourself .

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14181 posts in 4369 days

#3 posted 02-01-2014 08:36 PM

Super work … love the style also

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 4082 days

#4 posted 02-01-2014 09:58 PM

It is going to be very nice, good.

-- Chuck, wiswood2

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 2015 days

#5 posted 02-01-2014 11:43 PM

Fantastic !!! Can I have the mock-up? :)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View DocSavage45's profile


8814 posts in 3228 days

#6 posted 02-02-2014 02:29 AM

Interesting stuff happens once we commit to an action? Sounds like you’re having fun! Is mahogany easy to carve?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Woodbridge's profile


3688 posts in 2804 days

#7 posted 02-02-2014 04:12 AM

Hi Tom, yes mahogany is relatively easy to carve. Its not basswood easy, but better than carving oak (which is what the original is made from).

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View justoneofme's profile


725 posts in 2866 days

#8 posted 02-08-2014 05:14 PM

Hi Peter … Looks like you have your work cut out for you over the next while with these reproductions! I’m looking forward to viewing your version when completed!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

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