Attaching desktop to legs (perhaps) without an apron

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  • #735128
    DB
    Participant

    Hi everyone. Looking for advice and wisdom on making a desk like the picture shown but with only one set of drawers (if possible). I believe this is a midcentury Danish desk but I don’t know the designer or maker. The leg design is very elegant. My main issue is working out how to attach the desktop

    1. The legs appear (to me anyway) attached directly to the desktop but not sure how this might deal with humidity. Perhaps the legs are only attached to the cabinets. Not sure what the attachment method would be in this particular case.
    2. Is there an apron running around this?
    3. Do the ends have a thin bread board?
    4. OK, while I’m here, how would the drawer cabinet attach to the desktop

    All thoughts welcome and many thanks in advance.

    #735163
    Sven-Olof Jansson
    Participant

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing this. A really tempting base for a project.

    Please take the below for the partial guesswork it is.

    Danish seems very tenable (please search for klassisk dansk skrivebord), and perhaps mid century – had it not been for the handles with their routed recesses, which seem a bit more contemporary. Or, why not the 1930s?!

    There seems to be a frame, which I venture consists of a facing covered with a palisander (or other rosewood) veneer (the perfect book matching of the right drawer carcass cannot possibly be from solid wood).

    The frame, I guess is jointed by tenons and mortices, or perhaps with dovetail joints, covered by rounded over strips (cf front left corner).

    The aprons/rails of the frame appears to be quite thick (2″?), with mortices for tenons of the legs. If the inside could be inspected, one would perhaps find draw bored dowels to further force the leg shoulders tight to the aprons.

    The frame parts /aprons have been chamfered, I imagine to make it look less sturdy. (Please see attached photo of my Danish writing desk)

    The top appears to be resting on rebates along the inner top edges of the frame.

    It’s a wide and deep table, so perhaps the drawer carcasses are fastened to the top in a manner to prevent it from warping.

    Could it be that that the small pieces attached to the legs and drawer carcasses make the carcasses also act as stretchers?

    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA

    #735259
    DB
    Participant

    Thank you for the detailed reply. So, the apron/rail runs around the edge of the tabletop and the tabletop sits within an inner rebate cut in the apron: this sounds highly plausible. I’ve attached another photo having looked at it more carefully, that appears to support your analysis (shows the difference in thickness between top of the leg and top of apron rebate).

    The drawer carcass would serve well to prevent warping. If I was to leave one end without drawers I could perhaps use turn buttons instead to keep the top flat and within the rebate. I see the apron now exists and appears thicker than I previously appreciated.

    Great detective work. Thanks for sharing your assessment. I like the edge of your desk. Definitely gives it a lighter feel and appearance.

    #735316
    Sven-Olof Jansson
    Participant

    Always happy when I can be of any kind of assistance.

    It’s a wide table; would a sliding dovetail crossbar be of value, as an addition to the turn buttons in keeping the top flat? With the top is “recessed” into the rebate of the frame, the ends of the housing/dado for the joint wouldn’t be visible.

    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA

    #735447
    DB
    Participant

    A sliding dovetail sounds like a good idea and this should allow expansion/contraction of the table top. On that note I now wonder how the external apron on the narrow side of the desk in particular will handle movement across the grain over the width of the top. Might this be a weak point in the design? Having said that it now seems that these desks have survived for 60 years without appreciable movement damage from the photos anyway.

    Incidentally I now have seen this (and similar tables with this leg design) attributed mostly to Ib Kofod Larsen but also JØRGEN LINDE both of Faarup Møbelfabrik.

    #735552
    Sven-Olof Jansson
    Participant

    Faarup Møbelfabrik + Jørgen Linde + Dining Table in Rosewood led, among many other, to a link (a mile long) that had photo, which perhaps gives some insight, literally, on how these pieces were made. The facing might be beech, but the rosewood is clearly not veneer, but thick enough to be “moulded”.

    The end grain of the facing of the piece I saw, looks like beech (could of course be any wood), and as beech is the second most common tree species in Denmark, allegedly often used by the furniture industry (less so nowadays, I believe), I will go with the facing being beech.

    If beech, then that should be dimensionally stable (information from purchase head at local timber yard; a man with a PhD in dendrology), and that is as much as I understand of wood dimensions and humidity. Precisely as this writing desk, prestigious antique furniture doesn’t seem to be afflicted – at least not the pieces I’ve seen.

    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA

    #735672
    DB
    Participant

    Really appreciate your help with this and think I have seen the picture that your search leads to. Hopefully will one day upload my effort to the gallery. Thanks

    #735693
    Sven-Olof Jansson
    Participant

    You’re welcome!

    Looking forward to the result, and more so if the progress were to be shared.

    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA

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