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Thomas White Desk 2010 - 2011


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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 11 8:51 am   
Bench Dog
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All,

Many of you remember the desks that my Dad, brothers and I started in January of 2010. We had a great week, some of it was documented on this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1414

At the time, I was gung ho and thought surely I would get right to it, when in fact I didn't really get much done on it at all. Now I know none of you would have ever let a started project sit like this, but I will have to just ask for your collective forgiveness and we can move on.....

By the way, not all of us were slackers, here is Dad's desk (he actually made two and sold the 2nd):
Attachment:
Ben Hobbs Desk.jpg
Ben Hobbs Desk.jpg [ 99.98 KiB | Viewed 8120 times ]


And Matt finished his also, and shown on the 207:
Attachment:
Matt Hobbs Desk.jpg
Matt Hobbs Desk.jpg [ 102.48 KiB | Viewed 8120 times ]


How about the lumber from Irion, huh?

Meanwhile, my desk and Ernie's sat and collected dust.

Continued..........

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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 11 9:05 am   
Bench Dog
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There were only a couple of items I worked on last year, I (mostly) carved the feet:
Attachment:
Carved Feet.jpg
Carved Feet.jpg [ 91.93 KiB | Viewed 8119 times ]


Also, I veneered the drawer fronts and dovetailed the main drawer boxes.

Now, fast forward to 2011. For Sons' Week, we decided (or I decided) to push the week out to March for two reasons. 1-I could bring my kids while they were on Spring Break, and 2- The weather is much better driving through the Appalachians in March than in January, the last two years were sketchy at best with snow, ice, etc. This year was a little less focused as there were 7 cousins there, and with no new project, I just took my desk back to work on it. Being at my dad's shop really ups my production because I not only get to use a much larger, convenient, and much better equipped shop, I also get my dad's expertise and tips (although I didn't let him do any of the work), and probably most significantly, I have a week to FOCUS on woodworking. I don't get that at home. Things like work and family seem to get in the way, don't they?

So after a 20 hr trip I got cranking. The first thing I did was glue the bottoms on the drawers. The original desk has bottoms glued cross-grain, which is doomed to fail eventually, like the original bottoms have. I went ahead and copied this, after all it is a reproduction.
Attachment:
Drawer bottom construction.jpg
Drawer bottom construction.jpg [ 96.25 KiB | Viewed 8119 times ]


Here is a picture of the drawers in the case (check out the figure!!!!!!):
Attachment:
Drawer fronts.jpg
Drawer fronts.jpg [ 99.28 KiB | Viewed 8119 times ]


And here are my dovetails, Thomas White used the "tiny pins" method that we all admire, so I tried to get the same effect. They looked nice....
Attachment:
Drawer dovetails.jpg
Drawer dovetails.jpg [ 104.78 KiB | Viewed 8119 times ]


So, the week was just getting started, but I could feel the time slipping away.

Continued.....

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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 11 9:21 am   
Bench Dog
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Next, I started onto some of the interior elements. Now I have never made a desk, but I never really understood how much work is involved. It's all small steps, tedious stuff, and you can work all day and not see a ton change. That's really the theme of the interior.

The interior is blocked, very much like a Newport Desk (there is lots of evidence that almost links Mr. White to Newport. He also added the extra bell and whistle to cant the outside of the drawers in ampitheater style. Here are the outer shelves being installed:
Attachment:
Horizontal shelves.jpg
Horizontal shelves.jpg [ 100.56 KiB | Viewed 8120 times ]


At the joints of the partitions, they meet in a v-notch, or "bird's mouths" as I like to call them (anyone remember the famous T-chisel destruction of the bombe interior because of this?). These joints were easier once I did a couple. Here was one of them:
Attachment:
Bird's mouths.jpg
Bird's mouths.jpg [ 109.18 KiB | Viewed 8120 times ]


At this point of the build, my head was spinning a little bit, a big reason is that I could go many different ways. Fit the drawers, install the feet, prospect box, interior drawers, etc. etc. etc. On Dad's advice I decided to get going on the prospect box.

A day's work and here it is:
Attachment:
Prospect Box.jpg
Prospect Box.jpg [ 100.94 KiB | Viewed 8120 times ]


I stayed up until 12:30am and got the shelves put in. This was probably a mistake because the next two days I didn't have much energy.
Attachment:
Prospect Box shelves.jpg
Prospect Box shelves.jpg [ 100.76 KiB | Viewed 8120 times ]


A picture taken the next day shows the interior starting to take a little shape (but there are miles to go, as Matt reminds me):
Attachment:
Interior Taking Shape.jpg
Interior Taking Shape.jpg [ 98.63 KiB | Viewed 8120 times ]


At this point of the week I was losing steam. And my back hurt (I know...wah wah wah).

Continued.....

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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 11 9:35 am   
Bench Dog
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On Thursday, I started fabricating drawer fronts for the interior. It was important to me to get all the stock, including the prospect door, from the same board. By this I hope to avoid any finishing problems, plus the grain will all look congruent.

Here is the result of a few of hours....
Attachment:
Interior Drawer fronts.jpg
Interior Drawer fronts.jpg [ 101.61 KiB | Viewed 8120 times ]


The outer drawer fronts took a little longer to fit due to the angles.
Attachment:
Int Drawer angles.jpg
Int Drawer angles.jpg [ 100.64 KiB | Viewed 8120 times ]


Mr. White also used the tiny dovetails on all the interior gallery drawers, so that's what I need to do. I worked on a couple of them. These are not glued up in this photo. I usually don't drive them home without glue, due to the cypress tending to break/crush at the corners if stressed too much in different directions.
Attachment:
Tiny dovetails.jpg
Tiny dovetails.jpg [ 102.82 KiB | Viewed 8120 times ]


I did get one drawer bottom glued on, and that was the week. Seems like not much got done, but I worked really hard. During the week we also had a party for my Dad's Cartouche award, well worth it, but that sucked away an afternoon. Got to see Barry D though! Monday we had Mack Headley in to work on carving, which was great, but I lost another day. On Tuesday all the girl cousins had a tea party, and all the boy cousins built bluebird houses. Fun, but another afternoon shot. So, all in all, a good week of production and family time.

So far I have done a little in my own shop, and need to keep going at it a little here, a little there. My unofficial goal is to be done at the end of July so I can show it at the Kansas City Sapfm meeting. So there you have it.

I will try to keep the thread updated as I make progress.

Thanks guys and let me know if you have any questions or comments. I appreciate all of them!

Cal

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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 11 2:15 pm   
Bench Dog
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Hi Cal.

In regards to your "check the grain" comment, I tried, I really did, but every time I did, I found myself hearing folk music and seeing psychedelic light shows in my head. That grain is mind blowing! You have no idea how much I covet it!

If you do half as nice a job on this as that figure deserves, it's gonna rank right up there with Tommy's bombe.

Paul
the envious little guy


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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 11 5:20 pm   
Bench Dog

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Now that looks to be some mighty fine work Cal :D

How long did it take you to find "just" the right wood for the project? And where did you find it?

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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 11 5:38 pm   
Dr. Bombe
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Ghats the desk I saw right? I will be out there soon and I expect to see it complete. :D

Nice work man

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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 11 7:16 pm   
Spectator

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Nice Work, Nice Material - Looking forward to seeing it the rest of the way.


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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 11 9:57 am   
Bench Dog
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Lookin' good!

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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 11 9:58 am   
Bench Dog
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Little bit of progress this week.

The blocked "outie" drawers were cut, here is a picture of one that has been mostly cleaned up and fitted, with drawer bottom glued on.
Attachment:
Blocked drawer.jpg
Blocked drawer.jpg [ 113 KiB | Viewed 8058 times ]


The next step in this area is the upright partitions. I was actually looking forward to this step because they add a lot of interest to the interior, providing a little bit of gratification. First I cut out a plywood pattern. Curves were smoothed with files.
Attachment:
Vertical partition.jpg
Vertical partition.jpg [ 103.87 KiB | Viewed 8058 times ]


Then I gang cut all four of the partitions and filed them together. Hopefully this will help them all look the same when they are installed.

Here you can see the first one of them in place.
Attachment:
Partition installed.jpg
Partition installed.jpg [ 102.23 KiB | Viewed 8058 times ]


Today the weather is cold and raw in Kansas City, therefore no yard work or baseball practice....Therefore there might be some shop time in store.

Until next time, Cal

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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 11 10:04 am   
Bench Dog
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Ritz wrote:
Now that looks to be some mighty fine work Cal :D

How long did it take you to find "just" the right wood for the project? And where did you find it?


Hey Ritz, thanks for the comment on the project.

All of the walnut came from Irion lumber. The bulk of the wood was shipped sight unseen based on descriptions and cut lists.....The service you get from Lou and Myron is second to none that I have ever seen. They really know how to get you the right stuff.

The crotches were also from Irion, I was driving through the area back in 2009 and Myron and I walked to the barns and found the set, which I could not resist. The fallboard is from the same stock, so hopefully when it is complete they will all work together.

CH

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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 11 11:28 am   
Bench Dog
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Oh my. Hey, Cal, your desk is turning out in a superb fashion! Very impressive.

Would you care to extrapolate on just how you blocked your drawer fronts? :D

Rick


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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 11 11:55 pm   
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WOW! Awesome looking desk. great Job.

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 PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 11 7:28 am   
Bench Dog
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Rick,

Thanks for the comments. As far as blocking the drawers, nothing elaborate. I used a pattern and cut it out on the bandsaw. Then cleaned up with files at this point. The tedious part is fitting it to the partition shelf and making everything work together. I will still need to go back and touch up the carved molding on the bottom board once all the interior drawers and the prospect box are complete and put in place.

Hopefully this week I can show a little more progress. Cal

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 PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 11 10:56 am   
Bench Dog

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Beautiful, Cal, just beautiful! You and your family do some amazing work!
Chris

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 PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 11 11:06 am   
Old Growth
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Nice progress Cal.
After this past week of sport, we can both return to the shop. Better luck next year, I suppose.

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 PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 11 12:55 pm   
Bench Dog
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Got about 90 mins. in the shop last night.

Glued bottom on and blocked the right outie drawer, fit shelf, and installed one of the uprights. 3 down, 1 to go.

If I can get a step done every couple of nights I will be doing good. CH

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 PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 11 9:54 am   
Bench Dog
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Thanks all for your patience between updates....

So now the vertical partitions are in, it is time to start the decorative "valences." At least that's what I think they are called.

They look like this:
Attachment:
Valence.jpg
Valence.jpg [ 103.11 KiB | Viewed 7868 times ]


There are actually quite a few steps to making these small parts.
- First two blanks are glued together, and the circular portion is faceplate turned on the lathe.
- The two blanks are separated and ripped roughly to size.
- Then the hole is drilled for the center round decorative element. I used the drillpress.
- The curved portion is laid out on the back of the blank and cut on the bandsaw, this left quite a bit to smooth the curves with files.

After making them and fitting them into the openings, they were installed with glue and glue blocks, here you see the first couple going in....
Attachment:
Valence Installation.jpg
Valence Installation.jpg [ 96.95 KiB | Viewed 7868 times ]


Continued....

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 PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 11 10:01 am   
Bench Dog
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And that is really a nice step to start making the desk interior look a lot more scultural and finished.

The third and last valence on each side is a little different. At first glance it looks the same.....
Attachment:
Left bank complete.jpg
Left bank complete.jpg [ 103.39 KiB | Viewed 7868 times ]


But as I am finding out over and over on this desk, T. White always opted for the extras. One of the great things about period desks are the "secret" drawers. Although not very secret anymore....
Attachment:
Secret Drawer.jpg
Secret Drawer.jpg [ 101.61 KiB | Viewed 7868 times ]


This was really a fun little thing to build. Maybe the most difficult part was trying to hold the pieces and parts when they are so small.

Well, that's all for now, next I plan to start working on the prospect box, its drawers, and all the stuff that goes along with it.

Later, CH

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 PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 11 5:16 pm   
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Wowzaaaaaa some really nice looking work there, keep at it, I am really enjoying the play by play.

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 PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 11 9:41 pm   
Old Growth
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I gotta say.. It pretty impressive.

Wish i could do that.. :P

joe


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 PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 11 10:42 am   
Bench Dog
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I just subscribe for the pictures...

So I looked a the valance picture before reading the manufacturing description and started thinking about how to go about making it. Lathe+drill press+bandsaw is pretty efficient.

Couple more Son's Weeks and you'll be done!

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 PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 11 2:01 pm   
Bench Dog
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No doubt a couple more Sons weeks and I would be in good shape....

But actually the interior is gathering a little momentum, between work and trips to St. Louis (I have three of them in 5 weeks).

Lately I have been working on the prospect drawers - more little detail work. I'm getting used to working in a tiny space for the pins.
Attachment:
Prospect drawers.jpg
Prospect drawers.jpg [ 98.81 KiB | Viewed 7709 times ]


The blocking was done on the bandsaw, some carving gouges and scraped. The upper one in this picture is still rough and needs to be refined.

One thing I have not talked about is the mitered dovetails on all of Mr. White's work.
Attachment:
Mitered Dovetail.jpg
Mitered Dovetail.jpg [ 103.62 KiB | Viewed 7709 times ]


When you are talking one drawer, they really don't take that much extra time, but when you are talking 16 interior drawers and 4 chest drawers, it adds up. Not to mention that it takes some extra care to not mark and cut through like a usual set of through dovetails. With the rounded drawer sides and the miter it makes a clean detail. If any are interested, my Dad did a short article on how to build this joint in the 2010 American Period Furniture journal for Sapfm.

Last bit of progress, the prospect box itself was fitted into the desk opening. It is important to get a tight friction fit here, to keep up the illusion that the columns are permanent, not removable.
Attachment:
Prospect Box fitted.jpg
Prospect Box fitted.jpg [ 101.42 KiB | Viewed 7709 times ]


So, not much done per week, but it feels like I am getting somewhere now! Thanks for looking, let me know if there are any questions. Cal

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 PostPosted: Wed May 04, 11 7:12 am   
Bench Dog
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Latest progress:

Next I moved on to the pilasters, which of course mimic an architectural column, with the fluted column, capitals and bases.

Fortunately my Dad had run a bit of the capital and base moldings when he had class members build this desk. So I was spared having to make my own. I still had to cut out and shape the returns. I did this with a little help from the bandsaw and with files.

I glued them on.
Attachment:
Capitals and Bases.jpg
Capitals and Bases.jpg [ 99.93 KiB | Viewed 7626 times ]


Actually once these were on, I realized this was a minor tactical error. I should have completed the entire assembly and glued them on as a unit, or at least work from inside out. This is a classic case of "I only worked for 40 mins, but I would like to see something finished, so I think I'll glue these on...."

But, not willing to go back, I just needed to make sure I got a good fit on the column portion.
Attachment:
Pilasters.jpg
Pilasters.jpg [ 102.4 KiB | Viewed 7626 times ]
Sorry about the poor photo, but the flash just killed all the shadow lines.

The columns are tapered slightly, from the bottom to the top. This is attractive architecturally, but it meant the flutes needed to be carved, a router or a scratch stock would not work here. It went really quickly, and I used sandpaper wrapped around a rounded block to clean them up slightly.

Next step - Prospect Door. Thanks, CH

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 PostPosted: Thu May 12, 11 6:59 am   
Bench Dog
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All,

Well another week has passed, and I have cut out fitted, hinged, and rough carved the prospect door. Here's the pic:
Attachment:
Prospect Door Rough Carved.jpg
Prospect Door Rough Carved.jpg [ 120.48 KiB | Viewed 7514 times ]


Now I will move in one of two directions. Either the side gallery drawers, or the "hidden" drawers behind the prospect box. Cal

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