Secretary Desk

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Project by TampaMark posted 02-28-2013 10:15 PM 3333 views 15 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The sister asked for a secretary desk to match her bedroom furniture. Currently, she uses a card table to do all her banking and she wanted a work space that she could close up and hide the mess. She gave me some rough dimensions and left the design up to me. It is made from cherry and cherry plywood. Finish is just a couple of coats of danish oil.

I went back and forth on the desk hardware. I ended up just going with some solid antique brass hinges from Horton Brasses. I ordered some chrome stops from Rockler (item 30741) that would have worked great, but didn’t like the chrome finish with the cherry and brass, so I decided to go without. The bottom supports the desk about 4 inches and it seems pretty secure. If the desk needs support later, I can always add the stops.

The knobs and pulls came through mail-order Lowes and match her bedroom hardware very nicely. Lowe’s screwed up the order by sending 4 matching knobs and 1 different knob. I used the different knob for the desk pull-down and it looks great. My sister won’t even notice.

I still need practice on my dovetails. I use the Leigh D1600 dovetail jig, but don’t use it enough to get really good at them. Thanks for looking.

-- -- Mark (maker of high-grade kindling)

16 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117743 posts in 4112 days

#1 posted 02-28-2013 10:28 PM

Very nice work Mark,your sister had to love it.

View KnotCurser's profile


2033 posts in 3604 days

#2 posted 03-01-2013 12:40 AM

Wow! Fantastic work.

I hope she realizes the time and effort all those dadoes and dovetails took!

As a matter of fact, why don’t you make sure she reads these comments so she really gets a good idea of what a wonderful brother you must be! ;-)

Great build!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

View BusterB's profile


2090 posts in 2543 days

#3 posted 03-01-2013 12:55 AM

Super nice build Mark….

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3225 days

#4 posted 03-01-2013 02:07 AM

That is a beautiful desk that will only become more beautiful with time. You did a great job but I have some concerns about the desk top not being supported when open. If someone leaned on it or put some heavy books on it…..... What do others think? This is not meant as criticism. I’m contemplating a similar desk and trying to learn here.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


763 posts in 4044 days

#5 posted 03-01-2013 02:28 AM

This is craftsmanship no akia here.

-- Router รจ ancora il mio nome.

View johnstoneb's profile


3131 posts in 2708 days

#6 posted 03-01-2013 02:33 AM

Nice job. I like your dovetails. I need to learn to do them. I’ve used Horton’s for brass before they have a good selection and good service.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Billp's profile


804 posts in 4735 days

#7 posted 03-01-2013 10:33 AM

That is one sweet desk your sister should be very happy. If your joint has a little gap a little glue a some 60 grit and good bye gap.

-- Billp

View Stanley Coker's profile

Stanley Coker

263 posts in 3731 days

#8 posted 03-01-2013 11:42 AM

Great looking desk. Been wanting to build one for my wife. Would you care to send the dimensions?
I have to agree with gfadvm though, if someone leaned on the edge of the table top it might present a problem.
Great looking desk and I love the cherry.

-- Stanley, North Georgia

View TampaMark's profile


38 posts in 2487 days

#9 posted 03-01-2013 12:02 PM

Thanks for all the comments. Billp – I will try the gap fix for the dovetails. Thanks for the tip. Stanley – it is 39 inches wide by 53 inches tall. The bottom piece is 24 inches deep. The top tapers from 21 inches to about 13 inches at the top.

I hear you guys about the desk support (or lack thereof). I went back and forth. The desk will be in a bedroom and closed up most of the time. I’m delivering it today and am going to have my sister live with it for a couple of weeks and then weigh in with her opinion. I just really hated the look of the chrome stops that I had ordered. If they had matched the antiques bronze hardware, they would already be installed. I purchase the chrome stops before I had made the hardware decision. Bad move!

-- -- Mark (maker of high-grade kindling)

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3839 days

#10 posted 03-01-2013 01:26 PM

what a beautiful piece here, the cherry will age of coarse and get darker….i know your sister will love this,, and i to was going to mention that anytime you get a small gap somewhere, glue in the opening and sand it lightly to get the dust into the glue, it works all the time…but bill told you and now you know… what is next…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3603 days

#11 posted 03-01-2013 01:41 PM

Beautiful!! Great job.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3402 days

#12 posted 03-01-2013 01:57 PM

A wonderful piece. You did a fine job on this one and I’m sure that she loves it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2879 days

#13 posted 03-01-2013 02:34 PM

nice work

View BigMig's profile


473 posts in 3148 days

#14 posted 03-01-2013 09:02 PM

that’s definitely a piece to be proud of. Make sure you signed and dated it as it’s sure to become a family heirloom

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View Poisson's profile


51 posts in 3558 days

#15 posted 03-03-2013 07:19 AM

That is one of the items that I would like to build in the rest of my life. Good job.

-- Byung Soo Kim, Seoul, S.Korea

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