Thursday, March 17, 2011

Houston, The Behemoth Has Landed!

Well, after much work and luck, the desk has been delivered and assembled. One of the biggest challenges was getting the various components of the desk, a small drawer base, the huge 8' long side case, and the big walnut slabs, to all fit together. Since it bridges the two base cases, attaching the main desktop slab was the trickiest. Its attachment to the small drawer base was pretty straightforward - four solid aluminum posts were screwed to the underside of the slab with hanger bolts, then the case was lined up and bolted to the posts from the inside.

Attaching the slab to the long side case was a little trickier. In earlier posts I described both the battens that hold the slab flat, and the milling of two walnut rounds that support the slab. The trick was to mill shaped dadoes (grooves) into the rounds that would receive the batten and keep the slab aligned. This turned out to be easier than expected using the plywood sled that was used to mill the rounds in the first place.

Each round was remounted into the sled after it was marked with alignment marks so that the sled acted as a straight, constant edge that could be indexed against the tablesaw fence.

Then, with the alignment marks still intact, the rounds were lined up with each other and with the center of the case, so that they could be attached in line. Aluminum pins were then installed to maintain the alignment of the rounds and the batten, and to keep the batten from shifting.

Once everything was lined up, the slab covering the back half of the case could be positioned and attached, then the doors and drawers reinstalled, and voila.

As you can see, there's a second set of aluminum posts that support a floating frosted glass shelf, as well as aluminum drawer and door handles, which tie the whole piece together. For a little extra flair, the panels on the fronts of the cases are veneered with custom cut pieces of figured walnut. In the end, this desk, which has both natural and tailored design features, as well as both rustic and sophisticated detailing, comes together as a unified whole with a one-of-a-kind presence.