Solid Walnut Desk

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Project by kevinwstuart posted 10-13-2010 04:55 PM 5222 views 10 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first attempt at a woodworking project. I spent a great deal of time looking at desks and joinery to figure out what I wanted, but eventually it just came down to actually starting the work. I was also fortunate enough to have an uncle who has done a good deal of woodworking himself, so I had access to some very useful tools as well as a host of invaluable information (the desk would have been much different without his assistance, and I owe a great deal to his help). All in all, it was a tremendous learning experience, and although I love the way the desk came out, the greatest thing I got from this was all the knowledge I gained from working with an experienced teacher and the many mistakes along the way.

The first thing I learned was that wood will be wood, and I have to be able to work in coordination to it. If there is a bend in the grain, then it won’t always fit with a long, straight piece for making the top. Also, the process of matching color and grain type for panels was far more involved than I had ever noticed. Again I have to mention how fortunate I was to have someone to bounce ideas off of and have input from while dry-fitting.

All of the panels and the top are assembled from 3/4 walnut boards from a local hardwood store. I had access to a biscuit cutter, so everything was fairly easy to align while gluing. The side panels are rabbeted into the legs about an inch and secured with dowels and glue (with wide slots to account for expansion of the panel around the dowels).

The drawer frames are made out of 1×6 poplar that has been lap-jointed. This is were I first started seeing how many clamps can be used at one time. The side panels were dadoed to fit the frames (it was really cool to see the first dry-fit and how all the tedious measurements made everything fit perfectly).

The drawers are boxes of 1/2 inch Baltic birch plywood with 1/4 inch red oak veneer plywood bottoms and false drawer-fronts of 3/4 inch walnut set back to be flush with the desk front.

I used a random orbital sander on everything from 60 grit up to 220 and then went to hand sanding to 600. It took a really long time…. The finish was a clear stain, satin gloss poly and wet-sanding before applying a carnauba wax.

Hope you all enjoy it!

14 comments so far

View CaptainSkully's profile


1612 posts in 4092 days

#1 posted 10-13-2010 05:13 PM

Very nice! You should be proud. It’s a beautiful desk that will last a lifetime.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View CaptainAhab's profile


214 posts in 3330 days

#2 posted 10-13-2010 05:16 PM

My all time favorite wood! And lots of it….sweet! Can’t tell for sure from the pic….did you make the drawer pulls too?

-- Dave

View kevinwstuart's profile


9 posts in 3772 days

#3 posted 10-13-2010 05:37 PM

I did not make the drawer pulls. They are rubbed brass. I will post better pictures when I get the chance.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4752 days

#4 posted 10-13-2010 06:14 PM

Looks like you had a good teacher!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3574 days

#5 posted 10-13-2010 06:47 PM

Nice Desk !!!!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4307 days

#6 posted 10-13-2010 09:46 PM

You did a good job on your desk. Very nicely done.Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View dmoore's profile


177 posts in 3847 days

#7 posted 10-14-2010 05:31 AM

good job thanks for sharing.

-- Duane, Ohio

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 4246 days

#8 posted 10-14-2010 05:41 PM

Very nice, fun watching you make this along the way.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3390 days

#9 posted 10-14-2010 05:53 PM

Nice Desk

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View edgarO's profile


68 posts in 3438 days

#10 posted 10-15-2010 07:49 AM

very nice desk

View David's profile


199 posts in 3197 days

#11 posted 08-20-2012 02:15 PM

I just found this, beautiful work. I have a bunch of walnut I was planning to use for a similar sized desk. After using it for a few years, how do you like the dimensions? Anything you’d change?

-- Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves possess. --Gandalf the Grey

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3226 days

#12 posted 08-20-2012 02:17 PM


-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View kevinwstuart's profile


9 posts in 3772 days

#13 posted 08-23-2012 09:39 PM

@David: The only thing I would do differently is make sure there is total consistency among the drawer faces. All of them are heavily figured except for the left drawer, which is almost a quarter-saw grain. I would make the drawer face of three pieces with the top on bottom being heavily figured and a thin strip to keep the continuity of the separation seen on the right side. Other than that I love the color, weight, size, design, and capacity of it.

View waho6o9's profile


8785 posts in 3110 days

#14 posted 08-23-2012 09:52 PM

Beautiful work Kevin, congratulations.

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