Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WOW, Now THAT'S a big desk

Hi thee PORC fans.

For several weeks I've been showing some pics of a reception desk that's been in the works. Well, she's finally done and there are pictures to prove it. We installed it while the college was on Christmas break.

One of these days I will learn that everything I do takes 4-6 times longer than I planned. This desk showed me no exception to that rule. All in all, we had 23 sheets of rift-sawn red oak ply, 4 sheets of 5x12 duraflake, 500' of oak edge tape, 100 bf of 8/4 oak, 8 drawer stacks, 2 desks, 2 horizontal cabinets, and 9 tempered pieces of glass, and 4 large pieces of laminate. The foot print for the 2 units combined was 10' x 28'. Assembling them in my shop proved to be quite the challenge, and time consuming.

The rendering.
The first hurdle we had to overcome, we were not able to get 8/4 oak in lengths over 10'. Not the end of the world, but it did prove to add a bit more complication to things on the 12' runs. The long walls need to be strong and not flex. There is a lot of weight here. You can see there are plenty of cuts made to each "frame" piece in order to accommodate the various panels and glass.

The other challenge, all sides were visible. This meant that high-grading material took some time. Also, the specs had "continuous wood grain" throughout. We weren't able to make it perfect using 8' material, but we found a happy median with careful material selection.

The finished stack ready for finish
I clamped together 2 12' boards and cut the dados at the same time for good alignment.

I needed 2 passes to get the 1.5" finish width.

We were able to hide all the fasteners with plugs and applied panels. 
Frame parts being sanded on a 5 x 12 work bench.

Once we got everything back the finishers, 3 of us started to assemble the walls on site. 

The "inside" panel fits into the grove in the frame parts. The black spray paint keeps the 1/4" reveals nice and clean.
With the applied panels in place. You can't even see our seams in the frame.

1/4" frosted and tempered glass.
Both the substrate and tops are aligned with dominos, and pulled together with draw-bolts.
The black top goes right onto of the shown substrate to provide a solid 1.5" thick work-surface.
This too needs the black top, but you can see the room a bit better in this photo.

There you have it! I didn't write much this week because the pictures tell a better story than I can. I cant seem to find a photo of the extra file cabinets and such, but if I do.....

If I missed something or you have a question, hit me up in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading.


  1. Wow Nice work, that sure does take up a lot of floor space.

    How'd you hang the applied panels on the privacy wall?

  2. I love the inclusion of the iron in the first picture! This is a beautiful installation. I'll bet your customer was very pleased.

  3. @Mckenzie- Thanks for the note! There are .25 spacers behind them. Each with a couple dabs of adhesive, and held on with 18 ga nails. I don't LOVE doing it that way, I would have preferred to use a french cleat, but you couldn't get them in the recess of the panel. Screws would have been ok too, but there would have been a lot of plugging on finished panels. Ich! Thanks for dropin' in.

  4. @Carol. :) The iron is for when Joanna kicks me out and makes me sleep at the shop. Kidding......Its used to touch up any little pieces of edgeing that didn't stick too well. Thank you so much for reading and the comment. Indeed, from all that I've heard, the customer is happy.

  5. Holy crap that's a big project!
    Is all that Oak? Any better pics of the grain in the main panels?
    Nice job!

  6. Hi there Nick! It is all rift-sawn red. I just looked through all my photos but I don't have any good close ups. I may be building another smaller one here pretty soon. I will be sure to get in a few close ups for you. Thanks for stopping in.

  7. Ha ha, as if you would iron your shop clothes! :) The desks look awesome. I know I'm 100% biased, but you're a stud!

  8. What a MONSTER job and it looks great. Working with such large components had to be a chore, but it turned out very well.

    I also got to see more of your shop; looks like tons of room and nice lighting. I enjoyed the post.

  9. Thanks Jeff. I have grown accustom to working alone, and lately it's been quite a shift having others helping me out. Sometimes just to move a darn piece of wood. Thanks for the note!! :)