Miniature Desk Bookcase with Secret Drawers

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Project by Elm55 posted 05-31-2017 03:37 AM 2903 views 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Four years ago, I had aspirations to make a period furniture piece. But, being a rookie woodworker, I was not sure if I had the skill set. This piece was a good transition piece to see if I was up to the test.

The piece is 1/2.54 scale. It serves as a jewelry box (or a place to store nuts and bolts). Plans were roughly from Glen Huey’s Period Furniture book with multiple modifications. The scale was used because I could just use 1 cm for every inch on the plan.

I had just returned from a week at Roy Underhill’s class, Woodcraft Week, when the golf superintendent from the golf course next to my house decided to have multiple trees removed. There were several walnut trees cut down in addition to hundreds of ash trees. The golf course crew was more than happy to let me have whatever I wanted. I grabbed walnut and ash logs.

The logs were split with wedges and a froe and cleaned up with a draw knife and set to dry for about 6 months. I used scrub planes and a Stanley No. 6 to square up the boards. After getting about midway through the milling, I called Highland Woodworking to order my new bandsaw.

Other than than bandsaw for milling and ripping, everything else was done with hand tools.

The piece is otherwise a pretty standard desk bookcase.

There are 5 secret compartments which the video demonstrates. The last one shown uses a magnetic catch. Click on the YouTube icon for full screen.

View on YouTube

The gooseneck moulding was carved by hand and then cleaned up with a scratch stock.

Primary wood is walnut. The drawer sides are ash (I decided to use a piece that had a D shaped hole for the back of one drawers that the Emerald Ash Borer created as a tribute to all of the lost ash trees). The miniature pulls are from Ball and Ball Hardware. The diamond inlay was from ebay. The string inlay is ash. The shelves are adjustable using adjustable sawtooth or birds beak shelving.

There are several descriptions on my blog about the construction of this desk bookcase. Here is the link to one of them describing all the tools that were used.

9 comments so far

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3665 posts in 4997 days

#1 posted 05-31-2017 05:37 AM

Your work is really outstanding. Every detail appears perfect. You can’t be classified as a rookie!


-- Voltaire: “Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities, Can Make You Commit Atrocities” There are 112 genders (not including male and female)

View bushmaster's profile


4148 posts in 3567 days

#2 posted 05-31-2017 12:30 PM

This was done by a professional craftsman. You got the degree in one session. absolutely magnificent. Could not be done better with power tools

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View Jeremymcon's profile


420 posts in 1964 days

#3 posted 05-31-2017 01:36 PM

So all of the walnut was split into boards? That’s awesome! Peter Follansbee works that way, and I’d attempt it if I ever came across the right tree.

The miniature desk is gorgeous though. That curved molding with the inlay looks tricky.

Bandsaw is definitely the way to go for ripping and milling. I love using my hand tools for most things, but ripping and resawing by hand just isn’t any fun.

View a1Jim's profile


118296 posts in 4861 days

#4 posted 05-31-2017 01:36 PM

View Elm55's profile


38 posts in 2385 days

#5 posted 05-31-2017 03:55 PM

All the logs were split with wedges and froes into very rough boards with a drawknife used to clean up the debris. Then put out to dry in the attic for six months. Ends painted to prevent cracking. The dried boards were planed flat on one side, then resawed with an aggressive rip hand saw to the correct thickness. Then back to the hand planes. After multiple boards, I caved in and got an apprentice…a Rikon 10 325 bandsaw.

View JRsgarage's profile


448 posts in 1794 days

#6 posted 05-31-2017 04:11 PM

beautiful piece and amazing work

-- “Facts don't care about your feelings.” ..., Ben Shapiro

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4151 days

#7 posted 05-31-2017 05:09 PM

This is a beautiful piece and displays a lot of nice details and craftsmanship.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27002 posts in 4390 days

#8 posted 05-31-2017 06:45 PM

Super piece. I love it!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View MelBrandle's profile


33 posts in 2546 days

#9 posted 06-22-2017 02:31 PM

I have always wanted one of such storage cabinets. It would be great for the storage of important or confidential documents as well as precious valuables that you would not want to leave exposed. Great work and I like how every detail is so intricate and careful.

-- Mel Brandle,

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