Folding Desk, Day Three

Continuing straight on from Saturday’s efforts in the previous post; Sunday began with the finalisation of a few areas in preparation for the final assembly and glue-up of the rear ‘fixed’ portion of the folding desk.

I wanted to cut away a portion of each ‘foot’ so that it would sit more comfortably on a level floor and, as luck would have it, my under-used 6in diameter Sander Sitter provided me with the perfect radius. I cut the waste away with a jigsaw and cleaned it up a bit on my bobbin sander.

In order to stop the rear legs from splaying at any time, there’s a 90mm wide back rail that joins the two parts near their bottom ends.

This is dovetailed in to the back edges of both legs and I used a simple array of hand tools to mark out and cut the wide ‘pin’ on each end.

To mark out the socket that needs to be removed with a coping saw, I set the rail in position (90mm up from each end) and scribed around each pin with a marking knife.

Edging ever closer to assembly time, I chose to round-over some of the edges (including the top edge of the back rail) for comfort. This was done using a ¼in radius cutter.

Many assemblies can throw a few unwanted problems in your direction – and, although this one may look complicated, it was actually quite simple. Two sets of long clamps made it slightly cumbersome to manage alone but, if I hadn’t recently repositioned my removable tool well then, I’d have seriously struggled here!

I added one 12in quick-grip clamp to hold each of the dovetail pins in position while the glue dried. These aren’t nearly as strong as a threaded clamp, even if the sash cramps weren’t partially interfering. So, I drove a couple of wedges between the cramp bars and the wood and, yes, this seemed to help.

My only concern at this point was that I wasn’t able to check the assembly for square, with some many clamps in the way. I could’ve used one of those devices for measuring the internal diagonals but, my strips and bars weren’t long enough for this job (forward planning and the distinct lack of!).

By the time the glue had cured and I’d removed all the clamps, I realised that the end-grain strips I’d used as cauls (cross-cut offcuts from cutting these boards to length) had, literally, left their mark on the pine surface.

In the evening (after another lazy weekend afternoon), I bought the assembled unit inside for a bit of a trial run and, to get me up and off the floor; also leaving me with a little extra space to continue work on the other components.

As I began to switch of the lights and power-down for the night, I noticed that my nicely-glued top had already started to cup. To try and counteract this (or, at least hold it flat in the mean time), I cramped some 2x2in hardwood tothe convex face, with a wedge under the centre to alleviate the distortion.

Although I still have a long way to go and, this part alone still needs knotting and finishing; it fills the space quite well and is at what I find to be a comfortable height for reading and writing.

Some last-minute adjustments to the dimensions of the desk also allow me to squeeze my arm chair underneath! It’s a tight fit below the top that sometimes results in a little rubbing but, there’s plenty of width capacity and, that back rail is at a comfortable height to act as my footrest! 😀

As I mentioned previously; I’m hoping to be very close to finishing this one by the weekend, which does mean putting extra hours in during the evenings. I’ll keep you informed on how it progresses.

Thanks for reading.

3 thoughts on “Folding Desk, Day Three

    1. Hi Chris,

      Knotting (in the UK at least) is a shellac-based solution sold to seal loose or dead knots prior to finishing. That’s all. 🙂

      Is there another name for this across the Atlantic?

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