1880's or so roll top desk #1: Tyler Desk Company Roll top desk

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Blog entry by tkroupa posted 12-29-2015 09:43 PM 3201 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of 1880's or so roll top desk series no next part

I just acquired an approximate 1880’s Tyler Desk Company, St. Louis Missouri roll top desk in Boise, Idaho. I got it back to my small shop and I think I have all the pieces, but have to make sure this week. It is in really good shape for being over 130 years old. I am guessing at the age because what I have found out on the internet is that the Tyler Desk Company burned down around 1892. So I am going with that. I plan on making this my first blog entry of my limited wood working work I have been doing, because I think this will be a nice piece when I get done. Still not sure what I am going to do as far as restoring, but the tambour need fixed as the thin brass or copper metal piece that was used to tie the pieces together broke. All I can find out on researching is that they were held together with cloth, mine has a small 1” wide thin strip of brass holding them together. A little more research on my part before i tackle that.

Just wanted to try this blog thing on this piece I am working on.

Will post pictures later this week.

-- Tim, Meridian, Idaho

9 comments so far

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1315 posts in 2324 days

#1 posted 12-29-2015 10:36 PM

Looking forward to follow your work!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Reaperwoodworks's profile


94 posts in 1546 days

#2 posted 12-29-2015 11:56 PM

I want to say VanDykes carries the cloth you need, as well as replacement panels for the roll top section if you are unable to manufacture what you need. Looking forward to pictures!

-- Website:, Youtube:

View Bigrock's profile


292 posts in 3573 days

#3 posted 01-01-2016 06:04 PM

I hope to see some pictures soon.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3478 days

#4 posted 01-01-2016 06:10 PM

That sounds like quite an undertaking. However, it will make a great subject for a blog. best of luck to you on this endeavor.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View tkroupa's profile


68 posts in 2472 days

#5 posted 02-10-2016 11:18 PM

Ok, now that I have had this desk for a few weeks, I can’t not work on it during lunch and after dinner. I work from home so I find myself sneaking out to my shop and doing some work. I have the entire desk, minus the tambour and the insert with all the cubby holes stripped.

From what I can see with the finish on this walnut desk, is that it looks like the original finish. I have used a chemical stripper which worked great. Put the finish on and scrape off with a putty knife after about 10 minutes. I then wiped the wood off and cleaned it up with a rag and mineral spirits. I then sanded the surface with 80, 120, then 220 grit sandpaper. It really turned out great and the wood is in great shape for being made in the late 1880’s.

As this is my first try at restoring any type of nice furniture, I did a lot of reading and searching on how and what to do when restoring and finishing furniture. I decided to use Boiled Linseed Oil as a first coat to bring out the grain, then use lacquer to finish it. I bought the BLO at Lowes and purchased Deft lacquer on Amazon for $9 a quart. I saw that people used lacquer from Sherwin Williams, but went with Deft. I also decided to splurge and bought an Ox hair 2 inch brush from Gramercy,for $50, that hurt, but let me tell you it lays down the lacquer very good. It was well worth the price and well worth the investment.

I have applied BLO to all the pieces that I have stripped and it really looks nice. I am starting to apply the lacquer and so far the satin finish will be a great look.

I will try to upload a few pictures of my progress.

-- Tim, Meridian, Idaho

View tkroupa's profile


68 posts in 2472 days

#6 posted 02-10-2016 11:29 PM

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68 posts in 2472 days

#7 posted 02-10-2016 11:32 PM

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1 post in 1248 days

#8 posted 08-28-2016 10:41 AM


I picked up a Tyler Desk Co. desk two weekends ago but I am not finding much on it. In fact, this link popped up and a few others.

View Buddyl5223's profile


1 post in 1 day

#9 posted 01-27-2020 05:41 AM

I have the same roll top desk when I was restoring it I removed the brass name plate and under it was a wooden name plate Indianapolis cabinet co. Any info r a reason to why would be great

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