Here's the crowning piece for our classic Rolltop Desk
5. Rolltop Frame assembly. Glue and clamp the Sides (D) and Dust Panel together...then glue the Drawer Partitions (K) in place. Drill the three dowel holes in the tops of each Side (D), and mating holes in the bottoms of the Top (A) ends...then assemble the Top (A) to the Sides (D) with glue and clamps. If you have made your Top (A) from 3/4" plywood, you'll need to attach the Top Front Strip (B) to the front edge of your Top (A) at this point. You can either screw this piece to the Top using counterbored #9 x 1" flathead wood screws covered with screw plugs...or simply glue it into position. Again, 3-Way Edging Clamps are the perfect tool for holding this piece in position while the glue sets up.
6. The Tambour. Follow the steps outlined in the special Making Tambours sidebar article to create the Tambour for your desk.
7. The Insert. To make the Insert, you'll either have to purchase 1/4" and 1/2" thick stock for the pieces or use your Bandsaw to resaw these pieces from thicker 3/4" stock, then run them through a Thickness Planer. The Back (O) can be made from 1/4" plywood.
Start by cutting all Insert parts (O through Z) to size. Next, carefully lay out all the rabbets and dadoes required for these pieces. Be sure to measure everything twice as the accuracy of all cuts is critical. Cut the dadoes and rabbets in parts P through Z. Using your Bandsaw or Scroll Saw, cut the contours on the front edges of parts S, V and Y. Sand the scrolled edges carefully using your Drum sander.
Prior to assembly, mark all pieces for location. Begin the assembly process by gluing together parts P, Q, R & S. Next, glue and clamp the left Side pieces (T & Z) into position. Allow the glue to set up, then follow the same procedures for the right Side pieces (T, X, Y & Z).
8. Insert Drawers. Cut out all Drawer parts (AA through HH). Using your Dado or Route set-up, cut the 1/4" grooves and dadoes in the Drawer sides and fronts, as shown in the Drawer Construction drawings. Tilt your Saw Table to 15-degrees and bevel the edges of the Drawer Fronts to create a raised panel look.
CAUTION: This is a potentially dangerous operation since the parts are small. Be sure to use a combination of Push Blocks, Push Sticks and Feather Boards to keep your hands clear of the Saw Blade at all times.
A Panel Raising Jig will make this job much simpler and safer. Assemble the Drawers with glue, then use your Belt Sander to smooth them to finished dimension.