Putting the "log" back in Blog

The Bubinga Desk: Evolving a Furniture Design


Posted on August 8th, by Andy Brownell in Design, Gorilla Glue, Projects. 2 comments

bubinga-desk-sketch

Everyone has their own approach to design for a piece of furniture. Like many people, I started with a sketch of a basic shape, but that was limited to my poor drawing abilities. I was aiming for a design that had an organic feel that looked like it was in motion.

desk mini prototype

I then moved into the development of a scale mock-up that gave me a better handle on proportions and three dimensions. This was both fun to make and incredibly valuable as I started to refine the design, including where to incorporate curves into the top, shelf and drawer.

With some valuable advice from Jeff Miller, I added more curves to the frame parts, top and drawers as the project build progressed. Many of these details, including the drawer shape, drawer slides with matching heart/sapwood and curved bevel of the tops only came to light when I was well into the build.

With some valuable advice from Jeff Miller, I added more curves to the frame parts, top and drawers as the project build progressed. Many of these details, including the drawer shape, drawer slides with matching heart/sapwood and curved bevel of the tops only came to light when I was well into the build.

Here are some of the final pictures of the project I took with my iPhone last night, so they aren’t the best. The desk measures 52″ wide x 30″ deep by 35″ tall (at the shelf). It’s made from three solid (and very, very dense) pieces of matching Bubinga that I purchased last year from Midwest Woodworking. Incidentally there is about 100 bd-ft remaining for sale. I included sapwood where I could to tie into the design including the cross rail, bent-lamination drawer front, drawer pull and drawer supports. Joinery is a mix of draw bore pegged mortise and tenons, and wedged through-tenons—all glued with Gorilla Glue (original polyurethane formula, ideal for tropical, dense woods.) The organic shape was made with a combination of router and hand tools like spokeshaves, rasps and files. It’s finished with Watco Danish Oil, wet-sanded up to 600 grit, and then a light coat of paste wax buffed with 0000 steel wool. It’s going in my 12 year old daughter’s room, where hopefully some productive studying will take place. Needless to say, I’m a bit jealous.

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