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The Classic Roll Top Desk
Here's the crowning piece for our classic Rolltop Desk

Phase 2

Here's the compartmented roll top for the Pedestal Desk base we presented in Phase 1. This attractive and functional topper offers a total of eight Drawers and 11 Cubbyholes that will help it soon become the virtual Center of Organization for your home or office.

The Rolltop unit features two major components - 1) the Frame with its Tambour and 2), the Drawer/Cubbyhole insert. We suggest that you complete the Frame with the Tambour first, then build the insert. Let's get started.

1. Select your stock. The materials for this unit should be cut as you progress through the construction steps. We used a high-quality, 3/4" oak veneer plywood for the Sides (D), but you could use solid 3/4" oak, glued up to the appropriate sizes, if you prefer. Just be careful to match the grain as closely as possible with the grain pattern on the Pedestal Sides you built in our last installment.

NOTE: Whether you use plywood or solid wood, to achieve the best appearance, the grain direction on these Sides should be vertical.

2. Make the Rolltop Frame. Start by cutting out parts A through E, according to the List of Materials.

NOTE: If you're planning to use glued-up oak hardwood for the Top (A), make this assembled piece 13-1/2" wide instead of 13", since you won't be needing the Top Front Strip (B) to edge your plywood.

Next, make a cardboard template for the curved tops of the Sides (D), then transfer this pattern to your stock. Use double-stick tape to attach the two Sides together temporarily so you can cut them both at the same time, using your Bandsaw, Scroll Saw or hand-held Saber Saw.

Once you've cut the curves on the two Sides (D), use your Drum Sander to smooth the edges. The Shopsmith Oscillating Spindle Sander Attachment will make this smoothing job go faster and help you “get more mileage”, out of your sanding sleeves, as well.

If you've used plywood to make your Sides, once you've cut them out, finish off all exposed edges (including the back edges and the curved top edges) using matching 3/4" oak veneer tape. Although you could use masking tape or duct tape to hold these veneer strips in position while they dry, special 3-Way Edging Clamps will do a much better job and provide access to the edges so you can wipe off any glue squeeze-out before it dries.

Continue . . .

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