Ambitious Office Project

Hello there,

Thought I'd say hi and introduce myself!

My name's Gavin, and I've recently become interested in woodworking because of the following project.

I've always dreamed of a panelled office with some nice comfortable furniture - and I'm now in a position to make it happen.

My own woodworking skills aren't up to much, I need to get a bit more confidence with tools e.t.c.; but I've got an eye for design, and I can visualise how things will go together, so the plan is to work with some tradesmen, try and learn a bit of the practical skills "on site" and realise my plans!

The plan is to build it all in Sapele veneered board, and Kevazingo veneered board.

I have a *SMASHING UNCLE* Phillip who really is a diamond, and he's got access to a large veneer press - this was the saviour of the project, as he spent a weekend with me veneering birch ply boards with Kevazingo wood. I now have a load of this stock prepared for my "infill" panels.

The plan is to build a partners-style desk, two bookcases behind - one will have "Globe Wernicke" style hardware, the other on the other side will just be a "faux front" about 5 inches depth as a display case with 'tutch latches'.
I have some nice grilles for a radiator cabinet in between for some symmetry.

Then there are the stairs, for which I have some nice "barley twist" spindles - and upstairs will be a circular library built out of sapele veneered block board with face-frames.

Fingers crossed it all comes together - the bit I am struggling with the most though, is the desk as I haven't really been able to find a plan which quite captures what I am after!

If this all comes together, I shall post some nice pictures!

I'll keep you posted!

Hello All!

Well let me just say, I am overwhelmed by all the great replies! Thank you very much for all being so encouraging!

I'm indebted to a friend Paul Rees, who has been encouraging me with this project. Paul trained as a cabinetmaker, but has been away from wood for a while. He's been happy to sit and chat about this for the past year, so it's slowly starting to all slot in together.

Here's some pictures of the Globe Wernicke Bookcase Mechanisms:

I had a real mission tracking down the hardware and had to import it from the US (Customs ££££ :eek:( ) It's nice hardware, and it seems a lot of people are struggling to track it down, so it's worth reposting the link
(I have no commercial ties with any of these organisations)

I also found these great installation instructions: Equalizer hardware 7_28_09[1].pdf
One of the plans for the desk, is to have something like this really trick little keybaord pullout

I also found these *delightful* cocktail cabinet stays, whilst trawling the net. I like "clever" ingenious little mechanisms, and thought these were - so I'm posting them on incase anyone else is looking for some trick hardware.

Tom Niemi

Staff member
Plainwell, Michigan
Welcome Gavin:wave: Sure sounds like you know what you want and will be exciting to see it come to reality. Keep up up with pictures as this promises to be a good build to follow:)
OK, so to give you all an update - I've been busy "eBaying" to try and source the bits for this project at the right price.

I managed to pick up a "job lot" of Richard Burbidge Dark Hardwood mouldings, which I think are Sapele or if not an African mahogany. I've just been sorting through all the different mouldings trying to work out how much of each I have got, and how I am going to use them.

I've decided that the best way to get things done is to get all of the sheet material CNC cut by the supplier, as I don't currently have access to any kind of table saw - so if I at least get things sent as "strips" it can always be chopped to length with the machinery I do have.

There is lots of panel moulding which is good, (for the panelling). It hasn't got a rabbet / rebate on the back like a picture-frame moulding... I'm wondering what the edges of the veneered blockboard are going to look like when they are delivered, and whether it is worth running a small rebate to cover the cut edge, or whether just to "but up against" the edge.
Ahh... that is another update.

As explained from the start - this is a cop-out project; as it's so ambitious, and my woodworking skills at the moment don't go far beyond picture framing, for me the fun is more in the "design" and sourcing components, than the actual craft... as I'm a bit clumsy and no craftsman!

Looking at a "partners desk", and thinking of it as a sheetwork project - the carcasses and casing are obviously straightforward - the real value added in a desk, is in the drawers - this is where all the dovetails and fine veneering goes?

So... I've managed to find a firm which makes reproduction furniture, to make me some "cock beaded" desk drawers to dimension. These will be machine cut dovetails, with boxes made from drawer ply. It seems in the U.S., there are any number of people who will make drawer boxes / cabinet doors to size, but in the UK this has been a bit more challenging....
Delusional more than visionary Jim :eek:)


For Frank, a phonetic guide to pronunciation:

The name of the house is

Plass Lou-win-gwearn

Wikipedia says Machynlleth is pronounced [maˈxənɬɛθ]
I think the best way I can explain it, is the 'chyn' is said at the back of your throat a bit as if you are clearing it. A native Welsh speaker might be able to give a better description that does the beautiful language justice...

But something like


Probably isn't far off the mark.

So there is a line in Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of "The War of the Worlds" where the Artilleryman says to the journalist:

"look I've made a start"

and the journalist replies to the listener words to the effect of...

In front of me was a tunnel, scarcely ten yards deep.... suddenly it dawned on me the gulf between the artilleryman's dreams and his powers.

Maybe when you see the photos I am going to post tonight, you'll realise how far I am from getting anywhere fast! Still.. it's all good fun :)