Long Desk Build
I have been working on a slant top desk in walnut for a while. I thought I'd start a build post here and supplement it when I have made progress worth noting. I should make a caveat at the outset: I work very slowly, so the updates may be some time in coming. Here's the first installment.

I retired 5 years ago. Since my retirement, I've not had a desk of my own. My wife has a desk at home (She taught college English for 35 years and maintained an office here at home). She is very jealous of her space. Every time I sneak in to work at her desk, she runs me off. Finally I decided, "Enough of this! I'll build my own desk."

Years ago I had a landlady whose grandfather had been the President of Centre College in Kentucky where I went to school. She had his walnut slant top desk. It was a beautiful example of an American Federal piece, typical of Kentucky furniture with French feet. I have always admired that desk; so , naturally, I chose it for my model. My landlady passed away many years ago and I lost track of the desk. So, I researched the form and came up with my own design, incorporating elements of other desks I like. I made a full scale set of drawings from which I take all my measurements and make templates and story sticks. The drawings allow me to see design options full size, visualize construction details and they have saved me from some costly mistakes.

I glued up side the side panels from 7/8" clear walnut.

[Image: 28687722368_1d6e408a6a_c.jpg]IMG_1897 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

Then cut dovetail sockets for the bottom and the writing surface and dados for the drawer runners:

[Image: 42369730832_cfc7054625_c.jpg]IMG_3903 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

French feet require a deep kerf to be cut in the foot into which a curve wedge is glued to flair the foot. I learned the process from a good friend who graciously hosted me for a weekend and showed me how to make French feet. Here is my practice piece from which you can see some of the key construction details:

[Image: 27549502187_0329206284_c.jpg]IMG_3901 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

Cutting a 2 1/2" deep kerf 3/32" from the edge of a 2' X 4' panel is a daunting task. I worried about it for weeks and finally nerved it up and did it, with the help of a sled I built to steady the panel through the cut.

[Image: 40611701420_08b77f88b9_c.jpg]IMG_3898 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

With that accomplished, I started to work on shaping the panels this weekend. I couldn't figure out a convenient way to cut the angles for the slant front on my table saw so screwed the two side panels together face to face and cut the angle with my track saw. It worked great and the saw gave me a very clean, accurate cut.

Next I made a template for the scroll at the bottom of each side panel from my drawing and transferred the scroll to the panels:

[Image: 28687003738_c4e6fe3c91_c.jpg]42369744252_05e9c7e1b1_b by Hank Knight, on Flickr

[Image: 28683954828_7b07e2a191_c.jpg]IMG_3907 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

The thin face left by the saw kerf for the foot flares looked pretty delicate, so I inserted a ***** to give them some support during the cutting of the scrolls:

[Image: 42505864472_242b7fce14_c.jpg]IMG_3909 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

I marked and cut the scrolls just outside the line with a jig saw:

[Image: 41835382174_37b669b0f5_c.jpg]IMG_3911 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

And sanded to the line with a spindle sander:

[Image: 41835358824_0cce7dcbbe_c.jpg]IMG_3914 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

They turned out great - better than I expected:

[Image: 40749448040_1df279580c_c.jpg]IMG_3916 by Hank Knight, on Flickr

My next task is to make and glue in the wedges to flair the French feet. I'll post an update when I'm done with that.

  Re: Long Desk Build by Hank Knight (I have been working ...)
Cool. Looking forward to following this.
You are off to a terrific start!!

Mark Singleton

Bene vivendo est optimum vindictae
  Re: Long Desk Build by Hank Knight (I have been working ...)

Looking forward to seeing your progress as you go!

Looks fantastic so far!!!
Formerly known as John's Woodshop
  Re: Long Desk Build by Hank Knight (I have been working ...)
Nice~! Thanks for the go-by. Looking forward to seeing the rest.

  Re: RE: Long Desk Build by hbmcc (Nice~! Thanks for th...)
What a great background story, Hank.  The desk looks pretty darned good so far, too.  I had no clue that's how French feet are made, so I learned something.  Actually, I didn't even know they are called French feet.  In any event, that's a cool process and something to store away for the future.

Look forward to more.  

  Re: Long Desk Build by Hank Knight (I have been working ...)
Thanks for making the effort to share this with us Hank.
Looks great so far.

Please don’t quote the trolls.
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Say what you'll do and do what you say.
  Re: Long Desk Build by Hank Knight (I have been working ...)
Great start. Thanks for posting.

There are two theories to arguing with a woman... neither works.

My stuff
  Re: Long Desk Build by Hank Knight (I have been working ...)
Thanks for sharing.  I didn't know what French feet were before this.  I like your roller support for your spindle sander.
  Re: Long Desk Build by Hank Knight (I have been working ...)
That's some beautiful walnut.   Yes
  Re: Long Desk Build by Hank Knight (I have been working ...)
Great work sir and I love seeing your build along.As others have said,I never heard of French feet,always good to learn something.Looking forward to more pics.

ABC(Anything But Crapsman)club member

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