Study Desk (Part 3)

Order of Assembly

Assembling parts A (the two side panels) onto the ends of Part B and Part C requires gluing up with the biscuits. To avoid a glue mess follow the order described for assembling. Place parts C and D upside down on the work table. Cut a couple of scraps exactly 3 ¾” and place them at each end of part C so it will remain straight on the work table. Place part B upside down, the inside against the end of part D and on the opposite side from part C. Measure carefully and nail part B to part D. Make certain it’s flush with the top of part B and centered. Raise one end of this assembly and put glue in the biscuit slots. You can do this with a regular glue bottle by putting glue just inside and at the top of each slot, so it begins to run down. Don’t use excessive glue as it will ooze out and make a mess. Quickly place a biscuit in each slot and repeat this procedure on the other end of the assembly and put it back down on the work table upside down as it was before.

Place the two parts A on each end of the assembly flat on the work table face down. Put the top edge on the work table and the front edges even with part C. Prepare two 4 foot clamps, one at the front, and one at the rear of the assembly. Put glue in the biscuit slots on one part A and quickly raise it and slide the biscuits into the slots tapping part A with a mallet or dead blow hammer lightly. Quickly repeat this on the other part A. Put the clamps in place and tighten both parts A to part B and part C. Put a second 4 foot clamp to hold parts A to part B on the rear of the desk. One clamp is enough to hold part A to part C.

The next step is important because it involves making certain that the desk is completely square. The first step is to measure the diagonal at the rear and the front of the desk. If both measurements are the same, there is nothing else to do. If they are not identical, then you must take steps quickly to square the desk while the glue is still wet. If you followed the instructions correctly, chances are the desk will be square for certain at the rear. The front may not be quite square, and you can correct this easily by adjusting the location of the clamp until it becomes square. You can also help this process by cutting a scrap piece 45 ½” long and spreading the two part As at the bottom edge to make certain they are identical to the top. As a final precaution, flip the desk right side up and measure the diagonal at the top. Because of part C it is probably square. If not, use a clamp diagonally to bring it into squareness before the glue dries. Once everything is square just let the glue dry, and you are ready to make the drawers

Finishing

Finish the desk before final assembly of the drawer and fronts. This makes the finishing job easier and keeps the finish material off the drawer slides. You can get an excellent, quick and easy finish using Deft Clear Wood Finish or Deft Wood Armor. Both dry to the touch in less than thirty minutes and may be recoated after two hours. This means you can apply three coats in the same day. It does take three coats of these products to ensure a good strong finish. The main shortcoming of Deft Clear Wood Finish is its excessively strong odor and vapors. It is essential to use it in a well-ventilated area or wear a respirator. Read and follow the directions carefully.

Deft Wood Armor cleans up with water. It works very well in spite of its milky look in the can. It will provide a very attractive and strong finish when properly applied. Wood Armor does not have the strong odor or vapors of Deft Clear Wood Finish. However, it does not work well in temperatures below 65 degrees, whereas Deft Clear Wood Finish has performed well for me in temperatures as low as 40 degrees. If your shop is neither cooled nor heated, Deft Clear Wood Finish is a great year round product, but remember that many finishing products are highly flammable. Take care when heating your shop with any kind of flame.

When using Deft products you need to sand between coats. This is especially true on plywood because the grain is easily raised. Sand your project parts using 220 grit sandpaper on an orbital sander. When loading your orbital sander take care that the sand paper has no sharp edges. Check this with your hands, and bend all the edges up slightly. A sharp paper edge will leave a repetitive orbital pattern on the wood. This will look very unattractive under the finish.

Your parts should have been sanded before assembly and no further sanding is necessary before applying the first coat. After applying the first coat of Deft Clear Wood Finish or Wood Armor, sand the entire project by hand using 400 grit sandpaper. Apply the second coat after making certain you have wiped the surface clean of all dust. I suggest using a tack cloth. After the second coat has dried for two hours, sand all surfaces lightly by hand using 400 grit sandpaper. Always sand in the direction of the grain. Feel all the surfaces as you sand, making certain they are silky smooth. Once again, dust off the entire project and wipe it with a fresh tack rag. This will leave it ready for the final coat.

Apply the final coat carefully, making certain to comb it out carefully to avoid runs. Keep checking for runs as you work and comb them out promptly. If you walk away for a few minutes and then find a run, don’t comb it out. This finish will be too dry at this point and you will have terrible brush marks. The best thing to do is to allow it to dry almost completely and then carefully remove the run with a blade. Then sand the entire surface and apply another coat. Do not apply additional finish in an attempt to get rid of a run. This will not work well with Deft.

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