Secretary Roll Top Desk

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Project by Randy Sharp posted 06-05-2013 08:10 PM 3709 views 7 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The plans for this project came from a Woodsmith Shop television episode. Click here for the preview video and free plans!

The size proportions are perfect for a laptop computer station or as a designated place to keep the home finances in order.

The primary purpose for building this project was to get some experience in building a tambour, in preparation for building a full-size desk later this year.

It is constructed of red oak, rather than the program’s recommended cherry build. The project took about 20 labor hours and requires intermediate experience.

As a note, I have found Woodsmith Shop plans are particularly easy to read, understand and follow. Because the plans include detailed graphics, their projects are perfect for beginners (and goof-uppers like me).

Thanks for looking!

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

20 comments so far

View JSB's profile


737 posts in 2709 days

#1 posted 06-05-2013 08:50 PM

Great job man. How difficult was the tambour?

-- Jay -

View Jose A.Berenguer's profile

Jose A.Berenguer

32 posts in 2766 days

#2 posted 06-05-2013 09:41 PM

Very nice and proportional.

-- In fine furniture 10% of the work, takes 90% of the time.

View firefighterontheside's profile


20791 posts in 2488 days

#3 posted 06-05-2013 09:49 PM

I just watched that one. Looks good. I would like to build one some day, but it will have to be a paying customer because I have no need for one.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Tooch's profile


2013 posts in 2507 days

#4 posted 06-05-2013 10:50 PM

great craftsmanship and it looks really nice in the space. the overall finish looks fantastic also… is that Special Walnut? did you go with lacquer, poly, or a rubbed finish?

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 4304 days

#5 posted 06-05-2013 11:10 PM

Thnak you all for the kind comments.

Jay, the first attempt of the tambour flopped. I learned that the canvas needs at least three coats of contact cement. A single coat won’t do it. The fabric needs to be “sealed” with multiple coats. I was surprised to find, though, the cement didn’t bleed through to the back (nor the stain). I applied one and two slats at a time and it worked great. And, I was able to use the same slats on the second attempt, so no lost work.

Tooch, amazing eye! It is actually Cabot’s “Dark Walnut.” It is a bit thicker than Minwax and I didn’t leave it on very long before wiping the excess off. It was my first use of The Cabot brand, available at Lowe’s. I’ll use it again!

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7826 posts in 3545 days

#6 posted 06-05-2013 11:15 PM

I am so tempted! I have always wanted one, but have neglected to build… Well done.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2455 days

#7 posted 06-05-2013 11:31 PM

Beautiful desk Randy…really good craftsmanship, you must be proud of that project…...Well done.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Woodbridge's profile


3712 posts in 3049 days

#8 posted 06-05-2013 11:42 PM

You’ve create a great desk. Pieces like this become family heirlooms that are used and enjoyed for many year to come. I’m looking forward to seeing you next version.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2924 days

#9 posted 06-06-2013 12:05 AM

Very nicely done!

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

View SquintyPolock's profile


101 posts in 2528 days

#10 posted 06-06-2013 12:43 AM

Sweet! A desk to hide all the household paperwork inside. It’s really beautiful.

-- It's all in a day's work...

View Billp's profile


804 posts in 4831 days

#11 posted 06-06-2013 01:16 AM

Randy your desk looks great. I’m in the process of building one right now. I’m using interlocking tambours, no canvas. I only hope mine turns out as nice as yours.

-- Billp

View shopmania's profile


701 posts in 3813 days

#12 posted 06-06-2013 02:56 AM

Really nice execution. Saw the show on this, and I would love to build one. Congrats on a job well done!

-- Tim, Myrtle Beach, [email protected] Just one more tool, that's all I need! :)

View Ken90712's profile


17829 posts in 3820 days

#13 posted 06-06-2013 08:01 AM

Well done, Great desk and love watching that show…. Never miss one along with rough cut as well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Francois Vigneron's profile

Francois Vigneron

263 posts in 2951 days

#14 posted 06-06-2013 08:38 AM

Lovely desk. Thanks for the link to the free plan.

-- Francois Vigneron, Gif-sur-Yvette, France & Altadena, CA

View Luke's profile


546 posts in 3925 days

#15 posted 06-06-2013 11:44 AM

Good job. It looks like it might be a challenge to get a computer on/in there. Good luck on the full size!

-- LAS,

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