The Industrial Desk – New Video Series!

by | Aug 27, 2020 | 10 comments

We’re About to Get Started With A New Project.

In our latest video build we’re working step-by-step and building a desk in solid oak. (Watch the intro above).

The series can be purchased by Clicking Here
If you’re already a Member then you may need to Login first

The Desk Design

The inspiration for this desk was industrial furniture. The sort you see that combines tubular bent metal with man made boards. Designs that were born out of efficient use and mass production of modern materials. So something completely out of whack with hand tool woodworking!

That was the challenge I loved. I continued to work on the details and functionality of the design throughout the process of building it, but the main idea was formed through a prototyping stage at the beginning.

Chapter one goes through this design process. It’s somewhat loose and I spend a lot of time with a design that I end up abandoning completely. But that’s where the insight is, because through exploring the reasons why the first design wasn’t suitable, it helped me to pinpoint what would work much better.

We ended up with a very streamlined frame which acted as a chassis on to which the drawer was hung.

This met my criteria that the design had to be efficient to replicate along with the ability to be modular. Different drawer variations could easily be used within the same frame – a narrow one to one side rather than full length, or even a bank of drawers hung one off another. The way the drawer is hung provides an illusion that the drawer side is the upper apron of the frame. I’ve been really excited about the potential that this design offers!

woodworking desk project

The Tools

As usual this build is focused on using a fairly minimal set of hand tools, although at the prepping stage I’ve introduced the use of my planer / thicknesser alongside my bandsaw. Neither would be considered essential but when you’re needing lots of square sections of hardwood like this desk calls for, a bandsaw or buying the timber pre-ripped is going to save you a lot of time and get you straight in to the build.

I fired up my planing machine mostly because it had been sat unused for years and I needed to give it a whirl. Though again, this design does suit the use of a machine for prepping more than the other pieces we’ve built, because we’re wanting components that are uniform in dimension rather than taking any short cuts in the prep.

The hand tools used include:

The usual marking and measuring tools.
Saws. A panel saw for cross cutting and a joinery saw for the dovetails & tenons.
Bench planes. A jack and optionally a jointer.
Chisels. Strong bevel edge, plus finer ones for dovetailing.
Specialist planes. I made use of a router plane, moving fillister and a plough plane.
Mallet | Drill | Shooting board | Clamps.

That should just about cover it.

building a desk by hand

The Techniques

This is quite an involved build and so we’ve opted to skim over the details of much of the prepping although the processes and stages are still shown with some pointers and tips.

The build involves a variety of joints including bridles, mortice and tenons and dovetails.
The drawer design uses both through and half-blind dovetails, and also involves a lot of unique features in its method for hanging which is integrated in to the joinery.

The ebonised finish – from the start I’d visualised the desk with a distinct contrast between the frame and other parts so I opted to ebonise the frame. The process of making the solutions required and steps to apply it are all included in the series.

dovetailing the desk drawer

The Video Series

We look set to bring the full build out through seven video chapters.

Chapter One will be live on Wednesday 2nd September.
Followed by a new video each week to stream and / or download.

A cutting list and full PDF plans are also included.

You can purchase this series here: Buy Now
or Login First if you’re already a member.

For further details about this series take a look HERE

Not familiar with our Videos?

We make online courses that provide tuition on hand tool woodworking.
The detailed videos can be both streamed and downloaded.

As a professional hand tool woodworker, we aim to get you feeling inspired to build, and equipped with the knowledge to tackle projects entirely by hand.

View our full Collection of Video Series HERE
Or sign up to our Free Plane Build Mini Series HERE

Related Posts

About Richard Maguire

About Richard Maguire

As a professional hand tool woodworker, Richard found hand tools to be the far more efficient solution for a one man workshop. Richard runs 'The English Woodworker' as an online resource and video education for those looking for a fuss free approach to building fine furniture by hand. Learn More About Richard & The English Woodworker.



    So happy to see a new project from you all!

  2. Len A

    Great to hear from you both once more. Fantastic news and can’t wait. I confess to have somehow missed your March post on your blog not sure how.

    All the best

  3. Ed T

    Good timing. I was starting to have withdrawal symptoms as I was missing having one of your projects to watch and work on. Can’t wait.


  4. Cesar

    always great news when my inbox gets announcement of a new series! Purchased and ready to watch!

  5. Barry

    Great to hear from you both again. You’ve clearly been very busy.

  6. Marc

    Richard and Hellen,
    first things first, i’m glad that you folks are still around, though in the last six months there were no signs of life.
    I think you mentioned it that you’re not so much in this “internet-thing”, but I would wish that you would lay a bit more of focus on this side of your business.
    A blog post once in a while. Answering questions in the comments (at least in the member section) or a generell overview what’s going on on your side or on what you’re working at the moment. In short terms: a little bit of interaction with your customers.
    For my part – I missed your educational and entertaining output.
    Please don’t see this as an offence, but rather as a thing to think about.

    And now I’m purchasing your new build series (as all the others before). 😉

    • Miikka

      I agree with everything Marc has said. It is great to see you back and it was sad to see you away for so long.

      As a long time reader of your blog, every time you disappear for half a year I always assume you have gotten yourself poisoned by some neighbour again.

      • Len A

        Miikka – oh yes I remember that episode too when Richard was on the industrial area where he had his old workshop. Scary. I too have missed Richard and Helen posting here. I missed the wit and humour and we are still waiting for Helen to do her milk paint recipe piece to camera.

        I also echo Marc’s polite piece that didn’t come across to me as an offence but constructive criticism from a valued long term customer.

    • Richard Maguire

      Thanks to everyone for such a wonderful amount of support, it always means so much to us.
      I hear what you’re saying with regards to the lack of content and we are sorry for this. I’m certainly not the best when it comes to keeping on top of the written stuff. We have had some difficulties that have had to take priority in recent months… and I do also have this habit of taking on far too much, then realising that six months have past!
      If there are any particular questions, we do try to make a point of responding in detail if you send through via email.
      Thanks for the feedback, your patience and also all of the encouragement and inspiration you send through.

  7. Terence

    It’s good to see a new project on the way. I look forward to following the series.


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