The buildout of a gallery for a fall front desk is like building an entirely new piece of furniture inside the piece you are making. It takes a lot of thought and a great deal of craftsmanship to make the design sing, and a long time to execute the final design.
A desk gallery stands on its own as a design element, and yet it has to match if feeling and flavor the piece into which it is built. This is one of the first design sketches for it. Every piece is curved or shaped, and the overall effect I was striving for was the look of a built-in inside a sailboat. All curves, flawless detailing, and a flowing character that propels you along.
It took several iterations to come up with the final design, and it felt right. But not so right that I thought we should make it immediately, so I took the interim step of building a full size mockup of it out of foamcore.
Nick, who is a RISD Grad, made the mockup – and after a couple of changes we installed it into the top of the desk. Looks like what I envisioned.
First, start with the center fin. Inlaid with holly, curved and shaped, this is the look I was hoping for. But there are 78 separate pieces in the gallery, so we settle in for the long haul, and start making and shaping each piece by hand. The only machine work we can do is the slots for the bottoms and the drawer sides and bottoms.
So it is off to the shop, sharpen all the hand tools, and get to work.