I made this standing desk based on Roy Underhill's plan in The Woodwright's Apprentice. I built it from air-dried natural birch that I bought from a local small-scale sawyer. The finish is a blend of clear and amber shellac with a few coats of carnauba wax.
I did not follow the plans exactly - if you are familiar with Roy you know that the whole thing is done with a minimal set of hand tools. But, what really attracted me to this project was the mortise and tenon joints. I have done these joints before, but never anything as involved as the ones for this desk. The three pictures below show how the wide joints at the top back of the desk are actually double m & t joints. This is to prevent weakening the leg too much with a single 9" mortise. The mortises on the two adjacent sides of the leg intersect in the center. In order to maximize the long-grain contact between the mortises and tenons, the tenons are mitered at 45 deg.
The narrow fixed section at the back of the top is attached with old cut nails that my sons and I have collected in and around our old colonial house. I cleaned them up with a wire wheel on my drill and carefully straightened them as needed. Because of the age of the nails and the wedge shape, I used up to three sizes of drill bits in order to make the pilot holes wider near the top.
Such nails should be driven with the tapered sides perpendicular to the grain. This is what I did with the four nails along the back of the desk. But, when it came to the two nails that went into the sides, I was not sure what to do. In this case, I was nailing two pieces with perpendicular grain. I decided that I should do it the "right" way for the second piece that the nails goes into, since this seems more important for holding securely. I made the pilot hole pretty big in the upper board to try to prevent splitting, and I winced a lot as I hammered in the nail.
Posted elsewhere May 29, 2010
"That is not only not right; it is not even wrong" - Wolfgang Pauli