The Classic Roll Top Desk
Eight side drawers and a generous sized lap drawer give you plenty of storage for all your important office supplies.
Have you ever considered building a major piece of furniture like this handsome roll top desk? It's not really difficult - just a matter of making some basic saw cuts, fitting, drilling, dadoing, gluing...operations that are basically very simple. The secret is -- TAKE YOUR TIME! Pay careful attention at every step along the way. “Measure twice and cut once.” If you follow these simple rules of furniture construction, you'll be surprised at how smoothly the job will go, and how proud you'll be of the results you achieve.
Since this is a rather difficult project, we've decided to present the plans and procedures for building it in two parts. First, we'll tackle the pedestal desk base. Then, in the upcoming March/April edition of Hands-On, we'll build the rolltop unit that goes with it.
Once the base is completed, you'll have an extremely functional and beautiful piece of furniture. Then, when the rolltop section is finished and attached to the assembled desktop (no special joinery is required), you'll have a true family heirloom that you'll be proud to pass along to future generations.
The most important aspect of building any piece of furniture is planning. Start by looking over the printed plans very carefully. Read all the how-to information. Review the List of Materials and the drawings.
While you're looking over the plans, be sure to take some notes regarding special operations, tools you might be needing, assembly techniques and shop safety --- “building” the project in your mind, step-by-step.
The original plans for this desk were purchased from one of the major furniture plan developers, then modified to our liking after clipping photos of some desks we liked from magazines and other sources. Some minor changes were made to suit our special needs. For example, we used 3/4" lumber for the pedestal base pieces instead of the 1/2" used in the printed plan...then added three drawers on the rolltop section.
We often use available project plans for certain projects, then modify their features and measurements to suit our special needs.