I figured since I would say a good 90% of my time on this piece was spent using hand tools I would post it here since probably qualifies as a hand tool project. This is one of those pieces that there is just no way to get around using hand tools. I roughed out the sides at the table saw with a dado blade and surfaced all the material to rough dimensions with a planer and table saw but just about everything else was done by hand. With all the compound angles and contoured shapes it just canít be done properly with power tools.
This piece has been setting in the corner of my shop for some time but I decided it was time to finish it. I actually started this back in May of last year when Peter Tremblay came down to spend a week and start a Bombe desk he was building for himself. I worked on it for a week then and after that it mostly sat in a corner of the shop while I worked on other commission work. I would pull it out now and then and work on it for a few hours here and there after I would wrap up another piece but nothing substantial. I decided I wanted to take it to the upcoming furniture show I will be exhibiting in so I pulled it out last month and finished it. I have to admit it was a real challenge. One thing I don't really care for on the piece is the feet. They are just not as crisp and clean as say a Philadelphia piece but this is a reproduction so as much as it pained me I stayed true to the original and went with what I felt to be a less than perfect ball and claw foot that is historically correct. I am notorious for shooting from the hip so to speak when I build pieces but on this I worked from drawings. I got the drawings from Craig Bentzley. I have to say Craig has the best drawings I have ever seen. It was 4 full scale pages and for a wonder I found no mistakes in the drawings while I was building the piece which is really saying something on a piece of this scale. While I may have been able to puzzle out how to build this without them I honestly wouldnít even want to try. Given the price of Craigís plans it was my best purchase of the year when I consider how much time they saved me.
The piece is constructed out of a single 22Ē x 12í 12/4 mahogany board. The top is a Honduran mahogany crotch I resawed off of a huge slab I had. Quoting Peter my finishing schedule is beyond complicated so I will not go in to the particulars but it is shellac with a top cote of lacquer with the grain filled. For the secondary wood I used poplar instead of the traditional white pine. I started with the intention of using white pine and it was just too soft. After fighting with the dovetails I gave up and moved to poplar.
I will make a separate post regarding this but I need to find a professional photographer in the Baltimore / Philadelphia area to photograph the piece for me preferably with a studio. If anyone can point me in the right direction or knows someone who would be a good candidit it would be a huge help.