Writing Bureau.

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Project by rilanda posted 07-03-2012 04:51 PM 3129 views 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Made for my daughters in-laws and to celebrate the millennium. This piece of furniture was made in English Oak that had been selected for quarter sawn timber. The internal insert was made from Sycamore the central support was carved with the lettering AD 2000. The front panels were linen fold and were made using a router using a special cutter supplied by a British company. The panels were grooved into the door members and then finished with a detailed bolection moulding. I have included my original design drawings to illustrate the origins of this piece and as you will see although the piece remained pretty much the same as the design, changes were made along the way. It was designed to fit into a given position and it was also designed to be viewed all round, hence the reason for the back being made from T & G boarding that was invisibly fixed fro inside the unit One problem with bureau’s where the top panel is lowered to provide a writing surface is; if the lopers (support arms) are not withdrawn to support the top excessive force can be applied to the hinges, causing serious damage to the door or the internal top. With this in mind I designed and made my own operating mechanisms from brass (see photo), but firstly making them in Plywood to prove the movement. These mechanisms operated the lopers when the top was lowered and conversely withdrew them again when the top was returned to its closed position, this eliminated another problem; that of walking into a loper that had been left in its withdrawn position.The piece of furniture contained 3 secret compartments (not being revealed otherwise they don’t remain secret ha ha). The writing surface was fitted with a green leather skiver that had been embossed with a gold border. The unit was stained with a water based stain and finished with a fortified brushing french polish. I see this cabinet quite frequently in its home and it is still working perfectly and it has pride of place in the household. Age has added to the attractiveness of the Oak which has now really come alive and seems to be glowing. English Oak is not the easiest of timbers to work with, indeed it can be extremely difficult with its constant change of grain direction, but the end result is very rewarding and pleasing to the eye. It is a piece I will always remain proud of and it was published on the front cover of a British woodworking magazine. Taking about 6 weeks to design and produce working drawings for the cabinet took about 16 weeks to make. The actual photos of the cabinet were all taken in my very small 15 feet by 7 feet workshop, not a lot of room in there but enjoy every minute I manage to be in there, LOVE IT

-- Bill, Nottingham. Remember its not waiting for the storm to end, but learning to dance in the rain that counts. If you dont make mistakes, you make nothing at all.

12 comments so far

View Bertha's profile


13615 posts in 3755 days

#1 posted 07-03-2012 04:53 PM

Incredible. A difficult build, too. I really like writing desks of all kinds. Nice work.

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

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4639 days

#2 posted 07-03-2012 05:02 PM

Wow that’s an amazing piece I like the wood selected the great attention to details like the linen fold carvings,secret compartments,leather skiver and french polishing. This Bureau show what a amazing craftsman you are.


View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3928 days

#3 posted 07-03-2012 08:20 PM

I like it very much. It’s a beautiful piece.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View bruc101's profile


1417 posts in 4604 days

#4 posted 07-03-2012 08:24 PM

I like the fold you’ve done on the front of it. Great looking piece.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 3237 days

#5 posted 07-03-2012 09:33 PM

ART. Just goes to show what can be done. Awesome work.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina ([email protected])

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 3946 days

#6 posted 07-04-2012 02:36 AM

A great looking piece – thanks for posting

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View ChrisMc45's profile


117 posts in 3921 days

#7 posted 07-04-2012 03:19 AM

Very nice. For the mechanism to open the supporting lopers, did you get it right away, or were there prototypes and other versions? If you did the brass work yourself I am doubly impressed! You “work the wood” and the metals as well.

View rilanda's profile


174 posts in 3216 days

#8 posted 07-04-2012 06:25 AM

Yes the brass work was self made after a prototype made from plywood. The ability to work with metals comes from an excellent apprenticeship with a very good local company call Ericsson. The brass work was pinned and brazed at the joints and as you can see from the photo stainless steel washers were placed between the working surfaces before the pins were piened over. There was a fine adjustment point built onto the mechanism (a length of 6mm threaded rod with 2 x stainless steel nuts) this was drilled and pinned to the arm before being brazed into place.

-- Bill, Nottingham. Remember its not waiting for the storm to end, but learning to dance in the rain that counts. If you dont make mistakes, you make nothing at all.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3636 posts in 4774 days

#9 posted 07-04-2012 05:40 PM


This is a very impressive piece of furniture! We are even more impressed with the brass hardware you made. What a wonderful combination of talents to place in an heirloom!


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4094 days

#10 posted 07-07-2012 06:55 AM

Very Nice Project! Thanks for Posting!


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Brit's profile


8318 posts in 3904 days

#11 posted 07-09-2012 05:37 PM

Amazing workmanship Bill. I love the mechanism you came up with too.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View dbray45's profile


3408 posts in 3838 days

#12 posted 07-09-2012 05:40 PM

Work of art!! Very nice.

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

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