A one board walnut ‘box’ desk with custom steel legs and hardware. It’s the latest entry in our ‘bethlehem steel’ series. This one I designed with one of my favorite clients, famous for her support of our art and for her patience. She had seen a number of our wood and steel pieces, including the bureau, so metal legs were part of the early discussions. Next to find a one piece top 26″ wide and long enough to ‘fold’ the sides over to become the dovetailed case ends with continuous grain. We found a piece of 5/4 about 28″ wide that we milled on a cnc to flatten it, and sanded it with a 37″ wide belt sander nice and flat. We cut and marked the ends and made the half width sample with the last little cracked end of the board. We spent sometime on the layout/design of the dovetails as it was an important part of the design. These are sometimes known in the trade as ‘houndstooth dovetails’, pins of varying depths and spacing. They are attractive, challenging, and decorative and seemed a perfect way to break the monotony of 26″ of hand cut dovetails–elegant too, I think.
For the hardware, we chose an image of a brook trout and had the 3/16ths inch stock waterjetted to shape. There was some shaping and chiseling to add the details and then we welded 7/16ths tapped square stock to the center of the backs. We then chiseled a 3/16ths deep mortise for the ends of the square stock into the drawer face to keep them from turning. In the end, a secret compartment was added, but if I told you about that, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore! Anyway, it would be tough to find if you don’t know where it is and it involves the use of a tool to open it that was made and is hidden in the case of the desk…double hidden compartments! The back of the desk has three shop made crotch veneered panels, similar to the drawer faces as you can see the backside of the case from outside on the desk.
Please visit my blog and enter ‘bethlehem steel’ in the search box. Additional information appears on my blog entry of April 17, 2011.