Slab Cedar Desk

I love cedar.  I love the rugged and rustic look of cedar.  I have noticed that not many people will make items from cedar.  With all its knots, it is a difficult wood to work with.  But, the color and uniqueness of each project cant be matched. 

 

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I was at my favorite wood shop in Austin looking at some wood, and found a large cedar slab.  It was big for cedar, around 18" wide at its widest point (huge knot) and about 8 feet long.  After a lot of measuring, thinking and looking, I decided I would make a desk out of this guy.  

 

I brought the board home, and worked on the layout of the top.  This piece of wood had some interesting characteristics that I was trying to figure out how to work best for a desk top.  I had a section of wood that had rotted through, as well as a real large knot that just seemed right in the way.  After flipping it around many times, I cut it in half and worked on matching it up the best I could with what I had.  It was going to work out perfect.  I arranged it so the large knot would be right to the left of the main sitting spot (I am left handed and this makes for extra room for arm, papers, books, notepad etc.) and the hole in the piece I put up to the top.

After layout I made a nice and parallel butt joint and then worked the wood to the dimensions I had determined.  I worked the edges with a draw knife to get the look I wanted and smoothed out the rest of the top.  On to glue-up and a lot of sanding.  Then I went for the finish.  I decided to use a oil/varnish mix, so I went to my favorite, Watco.  It really brought the colors out of it.

 

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Next on to the base.  My design for this desk is to have a hid-a-way cable tray under the desk.  I was going to utilize the natural hole in the desk to put my power cords down through the desk.  In the tray will be a power strip that would run the underside of the tray, down a leg and over to a power UPS.  This will minimize all cables, and make a clean desk look.  Talking about the legs, I went down to my local feed store and picked up some cedar fence posts.  These are going to make the legs!  Got to work on that with my draw-knife, which took quite some time to get the results I wanted, but it was worth it.  

 

As I put the desk together, I wanted to continue with the rustic look, and I purchased some old fashioned square head black bolts from an online blacksmith.  I used these bolts at the joints of the desk, as well as to pin the cross members in place. It really added to the style of this cedar desk.

 

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All in all it turned out to be a great desk.  I had been worried about making furniture out of cedar but I have now had this desk for around 8 years and it looks and feels as good as it did on day one.  Solid desk, no deterioration of the wood, and color is still great.  I have a cedar gun cabinet I made about 15 years ago and it also is just as strong and good looking as day one.  So, needless to say, I am always looking for that unique cedar slab.