Chippendale Secretary Desk and Bookcase

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Project by EthanV posted 07-31-2012 10:35 PM 3742 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This secretary was my senior project. Built in 2002, it was a culmination of 10 years for me as a 4-H woodworking member. Each year I built a woodworking project and competed with my peers at the county fair. When you win at the county level you can then go on to compete at the state level. Winning at the Ohio State Fair was the best you could do in 4-H. Each year I tried to win awards at the state fair and several years I came in as a runner up. This was my last project and last year in 4-H and I finally won came in as grand champion in the woodworking category. It was a big honor when I was 18 years old.

There is a lot of history in this project. I wanted to make this project from all reclaimed antique walnut. There is richness of color to old growth walnut that is hard to find in the grayish purple kiln dried stuff that you can buy today. The walnut for this project came from several sources. All the wood was from the 18th and 19th centuries and was permeated with dry rot, powder post beetle trails and square-cut iron nails. I was able to salvage enough decent wood and I filled a coffee can with the nails I removed.

This jelly cupboard was salvaged from a German “I” house built in Massachusetts in 1790.

This 22 inch wide board was a piece of walnut siding salvaged from a corn crib built in 1823. I found several pieces of lead shotgun pellets when planing this piece. I left them in the wood and lacquered over them.

This material is from a frame farmhouse built in 1850. The owner tore out all the old trim during a remodel and gave it to my dad.

Here are the feet in rough form. I made the ogee by making multiple passes on a table saw with a rip blade set a different heights.

The following are pictures of me working on this project. I am 18 years old in the pictures.

This project is my favorite piece that I have ever built. I have many great memories from working on it. I think it will far outlive me as I pass it down to future generations.

-- Woodworking is a lifestyle choice

9 comments so far

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 4258 days

#1 posted 07-31-2012 10:41 PM

Well done my friend ! I spent 6 yrs in jr high and high school shop and never came close to that type work for a number of years. JB

View shipwright's profile


8816 posts in 4248 days

#2 posted 07-31-2012 10:58 PM

Really nice work and I liked the inlaid box as well. It’s sure nice to get an early start on something like this that you can enjoy for a lifetime.
Welcome to lumberjocks and keep posting your fine work.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3638 days

#3 posted 08-01-2012 03:27 AM

An impressive piece for someone who was only 18 years old ! Quite the history to the build too. I would agree with your comments on the lower quality of a lot of the walnut now available c/w that used back when secretaries were in vogue.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Schwieb's profile


1925 posts in 4911 days

#4 posted 08-01-2012 10:48 AM

4H and FFA were great experiences for me growing up in Ohio in the 50’s and 60’s. Competing at the county fair and then going to Columbus to the state fair was a big deal. Congratulations. I think you are well on your way to having a lifelong hobby. This was really good work and a good story to go with it.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3742 days

#5 posted 08-01-2012 02:29 PM

Truly outstanding work and a benchmark you can be proud of for the rest of your life while continuing in your wood working hobby. Look forward to more of your posts. Thanks for sharing with the history and pictures.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3935 days

#6 posted 08-01-2012 03:47 PM

Very nice work. Judging from the first picture, your cat seems like to like it too.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Joe's profile


189 posts in 4843 days

#7 posted 08-01-2012 06:23 PM

Bravo-zulu…you should be proud. That is a piece that will last for decades…...well done.

-- Senior Chief

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5668 days

#8 posted 08-01-2012 08:02 PM

Wonderful job. I love it!

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

View EthanV's profile


18 posts in 3581 days

#9 posted 08-02-2012 12:23 AM

Thanks everybody!

-- Woodworking is a lifestyle choice

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