|... I had to buy some new lumber.|
|Photo courtesy Popular Woodworking.|
As you can see from the first photo, I was lucky to find some real nice 4/4 cherry that varies in width up to about 15" or so. I wanted lumber that was wide enough that I wouldn't have to do a bunch of unsightly laminations.
I still plan on finishing a project or two before I get started on this, but I wanted to get the lumber early to give it plenty of opportunity to acclimate before I start cutting it and watch it all go haywire. For example, the drop-front is one board, and there are no cross-battens on the one in the book to keep it flat. That might be unsightly if on the outside of the desk, and if they were on the inside, it might interfere with the operation of the desk. If I want this cherry not to bow, it should be nice and dry when it is flattened to give it a chance to stay that way.
I think the best way to allow rough lumber to acclimate is to cut the parts to length, giving some of the wood that is in the center of the board a chance to breath and settle down before I do any real work.
This means layout is in order. Layout means lots of careful thinking.
Not one of my strong suits.
I decided that the order of this build is opposite what I originally thought I should do. I thought I should build the base, and make the top desk fit the base.
However I want to use this lumber to it's best potential. It would be cool if I could get the widest pieces (which happen to be the sides of the desk at 15", according to the plan in the book) out of one board without gluing anything up.
This could mean that if I can't quite get fifteen inches of width from this board, that the desk would look nice if the depth of the desk were shortened, front to back. I think the desk would look just fine if it were only fourteen inches deep, depending on the wood I have to use.
The other little tidbit of joyfullness I decided to impose upon myself, is that I think it would be a nice detail if the carcass of the desk had the grain go right around. That is, the two side pieces and the top all come in order from one board.
Having laid it out, I think this will work. It could be a little sapwood might prevent the side pieces from being quite deep enough. I'll see how it looks, and if I need to I'll carefully match grain and glue some extensions on the front.
One tool I find extremely useful when laying out parts is a 48" aluminum ruler I have laying around.
|This 48" ruler has become indispensable to me for layout of rough lumber.|
|Not a purpose-built woodworking tool, but it should have been.|
|48" is a real nice length for a ruler graduated in 1/8" increments.|
If you are interested, you can get one from Golfworks for $10.99, a real bargain. It might not be certified to a tolerance of +/- .0001 inches over the length, but I have never needed it to be any straighter than it is for layout work.
|A Ryobi saw works great for this.|
|Rough stock clamped up with spacers for airflow.|
I think I have plenty of extra lumber, and I want the look of the final piece to show some attention to detail at the lumber-choosing and layout stage.
I am looking forward to this build, as the desk looks like it could be a lot of fun to build with only hand tools. None of the parts are really large, so it should be an ideal choice for building in a small hand tool shop like mine. I suspect the only machining I will do will be resawing the lumber with a bandsaw in order to get appropriate stock for all of the little bits in the guts of the piece.
Keep an eye out, as one of these days I might actually get to start this build. Please leave a comment if you know any voodoo or witchcraft that might help this wood behave.