Roll-Top Desk Is a Long-Time in the Making

April 8, 2009 by
Filed under: Articles, Furniture, Projects 

Have you ever taken longer than you thought it should to finish a project? Well I might just hold the record! In 1980 a student/athlete of mine who wanted to take my high school woodworking course but he also had plans for a career in medicine. It was difficult for him to work a practical arts class into his busy college-prep schedule. He would come in before school to learn and work on projects. He became very interested in some of the roll-top desks my non-medical bound students were constructing. Again he expressed interest in taking my class because he too “wanted a roll-top”. It was at that time I promised him that if he became a physician that I’d make him his “roll-top. maker-and-desk2About 6 years later I received a call confirming that I had received his medical school graduation invitation and that my family and I would attend, and “oh by the way had I remembered my promise”. I had! So I feverishly started making his desk. I thought why not cut out the parts for three desks so that I could give one to my former athlete, keep one for myself and sell one to pay for the wood. Well I got Dr. Cartland Burns’ desk completed in time for graduation circa 1987. I finished the second desk in 2002, which I sold to a good friend of mine. The last desk is still waiting after 24 years and counting to be completed. The phrase ‘The cobbler’s children have no shoes’ rings true in my home as well as it does in many a woodworker’s.

By the way, Dr. Cartland Burns is a pediatric surgeon working at the University of Pittsburgh, PA. The good doctor still calls his old coach, is still doing his woodworking and his service to the children of Pennsylvania is praiseworthy!


2 Responses to “Roll-Top Desk Is a Long-Time in the Making”
  1. Cliff Patterson says:

    Jay, What a neat story! Thanks for sharing the desk story with us. PS: It was nice meeting you this past week-end, at the KCWG / KCWT open house. Cliff

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