Office Desk

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Project by MJCD posted 11-02-2018 03:29 PM 1230 views 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife asked for a traditional desk… one without the contemporary-looking arcs and curves, one without much drama. This is my version.

It is a small desk: 48″×24″, and 25” high – the writing surface was specified at 26”. Made from Australian Blackwood, with Purple Heart inlay; and finished with 2 coats of Zinsser SealCoat and many sprayed coats of Deft Acrylic (‘Clear Wood Finish’) – I highly recommend both.

The legs 3” x 1.75”, and have a double taper (the 4 sides converge at the center (top-to-bottom)); and the joinery is #8 Dominos – the top & bottom of the legs are end-grain, while the mating points are long-grain: I wanted to provide a mechanical element to the joints.

The top is (3) 8.5” wide (nominal) boards that are center-ripped, then grain-match glued.
While the Australian Blackwood is very nice, the grain is easily ‘pulled’ – I painter-tape areas along glue-lines, prior to glue-up, and the tape pulled some of the grain with it – requiring a lot of planing and sanding to correct.

This project is my first attempt at spray-finishing – I have the Fuji Mini-Mite 4P, and it is a most capable machine, in the hands of a rank amateur,

In all, a very good project. My next piece will be a contemporary rocker – I’m still working on the design.

As an aside, this is probably my final post on Lumberjocks. Anyone wishing to contact me: mjcdorsam at yahoo. I wish each of you safe success.

10 comments so far

View Ivan's profile


16795 posts in 3953 days

#1 posted 11-02-2018 05:11 PM

First of all…beautiful and unique legs set design – also the colour of that wood is just magnificant.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4419 days

#2 posted 11-02-2018 05:23 PM

Very fine work and beautiful too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View MJCD's profile


611 posts in 3456 days

#3 posted 11-02-2018 06:05 PM

Stefang, Ivan: thank you for the comments.


My wife and I just finished watching “Novine” (“The Paper”) on Netflix, based in Rijeka – a place we have not traveled to.

Do Take Care.

View BobBailey's profile


3 posts in 925 days

#4 posted 11-02-2018 09:06 PM

It is beautiful. How did you create the inlay? Hand tools?

View swirt's profile


6201 posts in 4057 days

#5 posted 11-02-2018 09:59 PM

Very nice looking desk. Well done.

-- Galootish log blog,

View MJCD's profile


611 posts in 3456 days

#6 posted 11-03-2018 12:02 AM

The inlays were done with a router, and clamped straight edges.

For the way I do them, there is a trick – the inlay width is slightly wider than the router bit that I’m using; say, the router bit is 1/4”, and I’ll make the inlay groove 5/16” or 3/8”. In this manner, I can route a groove, then take the edges with an additional, or 2, passes: I don’t route the full depth on the first pass; so the additional passes both cut a clean edge and complete the depth – in this case, 1/4”. This approach allows for the inevitable entry hole being a bit too large, due to the router jerking a bit on initial entry. However, you need to be precise in setting and adjusting the straight edges. Also, before routing layout the full inlay path, and double check by placing the stopped router directly over the starting & ending points – the bit has to be exactly where you want it to be – I often fashion a stop-block at the end, to ensure my momentum doesn’t over-cut the path. Preparation and layout are the keys: be patient: measure twice, cut once. For the corners, you need to chisel the edges.

For the inlay, itself, I always 45 degree miter the corners, rather than butt-joint them; and, if you need a length greater than your inlay piece, under and over miter the pieces (much as you would baseboard), so that no gap exists along the run. I make the inlay by using a jointed edge, then ripping a 16th to 1/8” heavy; then use a drum sander to fine-tune the width. This takes time to do, but it works for me.

For those who can do these with ease (much practice, I’m sure), you can probably just cut the groove on a single path, then use a drum sander to fine-tune the inlay width.

If I can provide any additional detail, please let me know.

View e28guy's profile


5 posts in 926 days

#7 posted 11-03-2018 02:46 AM

That is fantastic! That wood is beautiful and the quality of the work top notch. I can only dream of that type of work where I’m at now.

-- Tim's Bored

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4118 days

#8 posted 11-03-2018 10:13 PM

Very Nice Work & Well Done! Love the Leg Design!

Rick S.

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View MJCD's profile


611 posts in 3456 days

#9 posted 11-03-2018 11:17 PM

Many Thanks, really, for the kind comments…

If I can provide further information on the design of build, please let me know…


View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 4046 days

#10 posted 11-11-2018 09:53 PM

Beautiful wood and crafting. Seems the inlay took a bit of patience. Complements!

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