Butler Work Station 2

The Work Station has all of the detail of the desk, but with the drawer cabinet discretely tucked into the right inside. The molding being added below is at the same height as the cross piece on the side, making the cabinet look like it meant to be there.

The horizontal molding is far more secure at the corners when placed into a groove, so this is the jig to hold the router as the cut is made.
The trim is planed to the thickness of the groove, and the long pieces fitted on the skirt board are glued in place first. The small L-shaped pieces are then made, partly on the bandsaw and with small holding helpers on the table saw.
Gradually, both end miters are cut back to fit the moldings at both corners. Then it is sanded and glued into place.
Try as I might, white oak likes to pull surprises, and this small knot hole was begging for attention. So I made a face grain plug, glued and sanded it flush. With a casual inspection, it can be found, and in one more way reinforce that it is a desk like no other.

Butler Work Station

The desk and work station are from the same design family, and the basics of frame construction has been the same. Below are two end assemblies for the work station, and one for the desk with the legs now doweled and glued together.

Here, the spiral fluted dowels have been glued in place, and the oval, angled holes are drilled for a pocket screw to eventually attach the leg frame to the top.
The front and back skirt boards are given an arched lower edge, and I have made several patterns of various lengths over the years. For these desks, I found my drawer chest front pattern and decided it would be perfect. The first step is to lay the pattern over and trace a pen line on the skirt piece. Then they are cut to rough shape with the bandsaw.
After the rough cut, the pattern is clamped over the skirt, or in this case, the lower part of the side frame. The router with a bearing guided bit trims them very predictably to the pattern.. By routing, and then moving the clamps, it eventually allows the whole curve to be shaped into the beautiful faired arch.
Next is the prep work of drilling the top pocket screw holes, making a cut out for the drawer, sanding and rounding the edge of the skirt to make it comfortable to the touch. The dowels of the skirt boards are added, glued and clamped to the legs.
The desk is assembled first, and it is always a relief to get through this assembly stage successfully, as much work has gone into the individual parts.
Then the work station is assembled and the drawer box cabinet added inside it..
To keep the end consistent with maple slats and walnut bases, I flattened the inside of the pre- assembled end, and routed a small ledge all the way around the insides of the slats and bases.The four white oak panels were added to fill the spaces, and are held in place by the plywood covers. Small gaps are left in between the parts, as some seasonal movement will inevitably occur.
From the outside. it is adapted to fit the family, and still enclose the drawers like they meant to be there. One step leads to another, and the light grows visible at the end of the tunnel.

Butler Desk 2

Barbra chose Rift Sawn White Oak for the main wood parts, and then we added some mildly contrasting curly maple for the slats and walnut for the slat bases. The combination is show above, with only a hint of the beauty coming after finishing.

The next step was making the slat bases. Small parts can be dangerous and hard to hold, and the end grain easy to chip out. So, I started routing the end profile of a wide block first, which will become four individual bases.

The extra front guide board with a small router hole was clamped in place temporarily. It helps to keep a short piece from pulling in towards the cutter, and the push block is a safe, steady place for the trailing hand.
When the end shape was finished, the wide piece was cut into four slender parts to make the slat bases. Then the edge routing was done, cleaning up any tear out from the cross grain routing. It is always best to make an extra or two just for practicing the next step, or some random problem.
Then the blocks were laid aside to finally do the inevitable, make a parts list and move ahead. For furniture, we start with any applicable ergonomic dimensions, and move on to functional corner joint sizes.
The slats are cut to width, and stood in place just temporarily to make sure the proportions are satisfactory. The Divine Proportion, or the Golden Ratio has always been fascinating, derived from Pi, which is close to 1:1.6. However, I reserve the right for my eyes to make final judgement, as in this look. The cross base is 1/2” wider on both ends at this stage, so what may seem like extra space on the sides of the slats should be fine.
Next, the construction of the cross pieces.

Then the unthinkable, I drilled an extra hole on the end of an irreplaceable slat. After a bit of critical musing, I routed out the drill hole, as shown below.

Then, I looked carefully through the scrap from the slat cutoffs, and found a piece to make the repair filler.
The filler was glued in place and when it was shaped down to size, I think it turned out to be on the short list of the best repairs I have ever done in many years of making mistakes.
You can tell it is the same piece by the left over part of the drilled hole, and lighter stripes that don’t wrap perfectly around the corner. The vertical brown grain is not exactly aligned either, but it will successfully hide from all but the closest inspector. Should this piece ever come into question for authenticity, a reader of this blog could make the judgement.

As I was deciding whether to turn the middle slat face inside or out, the figure on the edge gave a suggestion of a tear drop. It reminded me that not all things get fixed so easily, and some tears are left that only God can wipe away. The slat stayed facing out.