Slant-top writing desk #1: My First Real Furniture Project. Planning and questions

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Blog entry by adamclyde posted 05-07-2013 03:59 AM 4495 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Slant-top writing desk series Part 2: Long live the scrub plane. Oh, and I need a workbench. Like real bad... »

For my son’s birthday, I’m planning on making him a desk. Though he’s only 5, my wife wants a good sized desk that he can have into his teens. As I was thinking of what to make, I decided on an old school house style flip-top, slanted writing desk. This will be an interesting journey, as this will be the first piece of traditional furniture I’ve made (other than some shelving and bookcases, etc). In fact, this project will have a number of firsts for me: first mortise and tenon joinery (connecting the aprons to the legs, and the stretchers to the legs). First tapered legs. And first table-top glue up. And first time using my new jointer (!!!).

I’ve chosen walnut and found some great walnut at Austin’s Hardwood in Santa Ana, CA. The entire piece is going to be walnut, except the bottom of the drawer, which I think I’ll do in 1/2 inch walnut ply.

I stink at using SketchUp, so I drew the plans by hand and scanned them here:

I’m trying to work through a few questions before I get started. The first is how best to attach the top to the legs/apron. I’m planning on having the wood grain on the top run side to side, so expansion would happen front to back if that makes sense. And since the front 2/3 are hinged, expansion doesn’t matter. But what is the best way to attach the back, stationary part of the top? I was thinking of biscuits and glue along the back edge and leave it at that? But should it be more secure? Ideas?

Also, looking at the design, any major flaws you can see in the early planning here?

2 comments so far

View Tugboater78's profile


2796 posts in 3248 days

#1 posted 05-07-2013 08:18 AM

I gotta make a similar desk for my 17 yr old niece, she wanta it before she leavea for college. I have no real plans yet myself. U could use pockethole joinery. I have the Kreg system and j figured i would use it for the “casework”

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View adamclyde's profile


43 posts in 2969 days

#2 posted 05-07-2013 02:05 PM

Good point. I also have the Kreg system, and maybe I’ll use that plus glue on the back edge of the top then leave the sides free for expansion.

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