Pine Lap Desk

Tedswoodworking Plans

16.000 Woodworking Plans by Ted McGrath

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Though now primarily collectors' pieces, the little lap desk of the nineteenth century is still very useful for persona! correspondence and check writing. This example is a bit more elaborate than most; in addition to the usual large storage compartment for writing paper, it has an upper compartment for envelopes, canceled checks, and letters. A tiny drawer, originally for an inkwell, is handy for postage stamps.

The desk is a nice decorator item and will look quite elegant sitting on a small table or stand. Construction is not tricky, but the builder is advised to start with good flat W stock, and make sure that all cuts are perfectly square. Pine, preferably clear, is a good choice, but cherry or mahogany are better if they are available.

Start construction by jointing and gluing up stock of sufficient width for the large lid and bottom. Allow extra length and width for trimming later to exact size. Cut two sides B. and lay out and cut a drawer opening in one side. Cut the front C, divider E, and back F. Shape rabbets in the front and sides, and notch the divider to fit between the sides. Don't forget the groove in the side to take a removable partition I.

Attach the back and front to the sides with glue. Clamp the assembly and check carefully to make sure that it's square. Fasten the bottom with small finishing nails driven through the front, sides, and back. Add divider E, which should fit snugly between the sides. Glue the rabbeted joints and nail through the sides into the ends of the divider.

The drawer is constructed with xh" plywood sides and bottom. The drawer back and fro.it are of ii" stock. The front has a V*" lip around all four edges and the sides are fastened with glue and brads to the rabbet thus formed. In order to keep the drawer from falling out. one side is extended 4". This extension is grooved to slide on a wood screw driven into the filler piece K.

Cut the filler piece to length and width, and glue and clamp it to the back, butting it against the desk side. If you don't have a clamp with a throat deep enough to reach the far end. cut a couple of pieces of pine scrap to wedge between divider E and the filler piece.

Now insert the drawer and bore a 1" hole through divider E to insert a screwdriver, which is used to drive the round-headed screw through the slotted side and into the filler. After the drawer is fastened, you can add the compartment

bottom J, which is pressed into place and rests on the top edge of the filler. Fasten by nailing through the divider and back. You can now add divider H and removable partition I.

Cut the top lid G to size and mount with two small brass hinges mortised into the top edge of the back. Add ledge M, which overhangs each side by X". Finally, cut the large lid to size, glue on edge strips N and bevel the front and back edges of the assembled lid. Fasten the lid with i" brass butt hinges.

Round all corners slightly with sandpaper and finish the exterior surface with stain and a shellac or varnish. Seal the interiors of the main box and upper compartment, and either cover the bottom of the desk with felt or add a small felt disc to each corner.

BILL OF MATERIALS

Key Part T W L

BILL OF MATERIALS

Key Part T W L

A

lid

W

I0X"

17 X*

B

sides (2 req'd)

X"

7"

MX*

C

front

Yi"

2X"

18X*

D

bottom

w

1 Vk"

17%"

E

main divider

X"

6X"

m"

F

back

r

7*

18"

G

upper lid

3%"

18X"

H

divider

w

2X"

3X*

1

partition

y.*

3X"

9%"

J

pigeonhole bottom

w

2X"

I7X"

K

filler

%*

2X*

7"

L

drawer

M

ledge

X"

IX"

I8X"

N

lid edge strips

x"

X"

I0X"

Contemporary Table

This versatile table with light, uncluttered legs and frame should appeal to those who prefer contemporary designs with the warmth of wood. The size can be varied to suit whatever purpose you have in mind, from a small lamp or occasional table to a good-size cocktail or patio table. The design shown is offered as a departure point.

The top can be made in several ways: either from glued-up solid hardwood with a well-sanded edge; from a piece of %" cabinet-grade solid-core plywood with matching veneer-taped edge; or from common fir plywood with laminated plastic top and edging in a wood grain such as teak or walnut.

Rails are shaped from solid hardwood and may be lightened if desired by cutting out the shape shown in the drawings. The blind mortise-and-lenon joints shown are merely a suggestion; through tenons exposed on the outside of the legs will provide additional visual interest to the piece.

The legs, which are shaped from % x 114 x 8" hardwood, are tapered on the inside edge only, the taper starting just below the point where the rails join the leg. Cut the mortise frst and then cut the taper on a bench saw with a tapering jig and bevel or round off the tops of the legs.

If the top is made from solid stock, boards of 4" to 6" width should be edge joined with %" dowels and glue.

Cabinet-grade %" plywood makes a line top if a matching veneer tape is glued on very carefully to conceal the edges. Allow the tape to slightly overhang the top edge of the table, then trim off flush with a finely set plane. Needless to say, the top must be cut in a perfect circle and the edges sanded square with no valleys or high spots. A band saw used with a circle-cutting jig is best, but a portable saber saw fitted with a pivoted beam will handle the job.

Economical fir plywood can be used for the top. A low-grade veneer can be applied to the bottom and a nicely figured veneer to ihc top and edge, or just a wood-grained plastic laminate could be used on top. The selection of plastic laminate is extensive, with styles from rosewood to simulated maple butcher block available. Use contact cement for fastening the edging first, plane off the overhang, then add slightly oversized laminate and apply plenty of roller pressure from the center out to bond the plywood and plastic. Trim the excess with a plane.

The top can be fastened to the frame-leg assembly by drilling small pilot holes up through the rails and counterboring these holes with a %" bit to take eight Vk" flat-headed screws.

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