Bubinga Desk Construction Update

January 3, 2010 by
Filed under: Articles, Bubinga Desk 

Front Side of Desk has the Natural EdgeSince I work for a public school district, I’ve had time over the Christmas Break to work on the bubinga desk.  One element of the desk that is a bit problematic is the warp (cupping) across the grain and a slight twist in the bubinga slab.  Of course, I was aware of this issue and have tried to address the concern through the desk design.  I asked the designers to consider possible solutions in the design challenge criteria.  One solution was to use tubular steel and angle iron in the make-up of the frame (see bubinga design drawings).  The bubinga slab is about 30″ x70″ but it is only 7/8″ thick.  To hand plane the material flat, though possible, not practical because I need and want the thickness.  I felt confident that either a metal or wooden frame would do the trick but I liked the idea of metal because it would be less bulky.  However, the fabrication of the metal frame was going to cost $400.  In hearing the cost estimate, my thoughts returned to a wooden frame solution (torsion box) or to use the desk’s aprons to remove the warp.  But I hadn’t given up quit yet on the metal frame so I decided to show the guys at Hi-Tech Welding (this is one heck of a good shop located in Lee’s Summit, Mo. with some really good metal fabricators)  some of my segmented bowls with the hope that we could do some bartering.  Bill and Bruce were gracious enough to take me up on my offer to trade a bowl for the labor.  Their plan is to give the bowl to the lady who owns the business.  Thanks guys!Open Side View of Desk

The photos give a visual account of the progress so far.  Minor changes to the design were incorporated and applied to assist in some constructability issues.  One change involves the construction of the end sub-assembly frames.  These frames now use walnut pieces at the top and bottom instead of continuous 1″ maple dowel rod.  I will use non-structural 5/8″ dowel rods in the frame as a design affect.  The 1″ dowel rod plugs will be used as a design element in keeping with the original design concept.  I hope this doesn’t adversely affect the clean lines of the design.

Please keep tuned in as the work continues.  The metal frame is scheduled for completion his week.


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