Leather inlay in desk question(s)

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Phill
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Leather inlay in desk question(s)

Postby Phill » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:27 am

Hello :)

I am not sure if this is the right place to ask this...but from what I can see it is :oops:

I am working on my final piece for my year course in cabinet making and I decided to make a desk, a roll top desk...well...sort of.

Anyway, the problem I am having is in the construction of the desk top.

Right, the desk top will be 700mm X 1500mm and include three sections of leather inlaying. Two of those will be inside two roll top sections on both back edges and one will be front and centre to be used by the person sitting at the desk.

How would you construct the desk top?

I had wanted to use one sheet of ply wood (best grade) as I am going to be using Sweet Gum Burr Veneer over the entire exterior of the desk (save for the insides of drawers etc) but I am not sure I can use one sheet of ply and 'insert' the leather into it.

I have found plenty of vids/advice on how to lay the leather but nothing on the desk top construction itself.

In short, I need help!

Many thanks

Phill

PS, this is a quick photo of the scale model I have made....the design has changed a fraction but the roll top sections (back left and right) remain the same as does the front central section that will be leathered also:
Image

Thanks again!

sgiandubh
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Re: Leather inlay in desk question(s)

Postby sgiandubh » Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:39 pm

A standard approach would be to make the top as a frame and three panel structure insetting the panels of ply, MDF, or chipboard from the top edge of the framework by just about the thickness of the leather. The framework in your case would most likely be solid sweetgum. If solid sweetgum isn't available then you'd look for something that's either very similar or deliberately a contrast.

I suppose you could rout out recesses for your leather in a single piece of plywood, but it's fiddly if done with a hand held router, or other hand methods: a CNC machine would make short work of the job though. You could also even cut up strips of, say, 18 mm ply and use this as a framing material, and inset some 15 mm plywood as a panel to accept the leather-- you could biscuit joint, dowel, or slit feather the lot together. I don't think either of these solutions, although feasible, are as easy to work as the solid wood framing method. The reason I'm less struck with the all plywood solution is that you need to veneer faces and edges to hide the plywood, and on a desktop those veneered bits are likely to be vulnerable, especially at edges and corners. I say this even though you state you are planning a major veneering job for your desk. The solid wood framing, for the writing surface bit anyway, will be less susceptible to unsightly damage, although damage will almost certainly occur, it will be less unsightly than bits of veneer that are missing. Slainte.

Phill
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Re: Leather inlay in desk question(s)

Postby Phill » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:38 pm

Firstly thanks so much for the reply sir, it is extremely helpful!

Can I ask, if I added three solid wood frames into the ply table top would there be any issues with movement?

Also, what if I made the routed out space in the ply slightly over width and put a hard wood beading around the leather in a wood that matches the legs, do you think that would work?

Thanks again for the help!

sgiandubh
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Re: Leather inlay in desk question(s)

Postby sgiandubh » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:17 am

Phill wrote:Firstly thanks so much for the reply sir, it is extremely helpful!

Can I ask, if I added three solid wood frames into the ply table top would there be any issues with movement?

Also, what if I made the routed out space in the ply slightly over width and put a hard wood beading around the leather in a wood that matches the legs, do you think that would work?

You'd not need three frames. You'd make up a single frame encircling the perimeter of the desk top with cross rails running front to back where appropriate. In effect it would look very like a frame and three panel architectural door laid flat. There would be no significant movement issues. The frame and panel configuration was designed to cope with wood movement in solid wood panels whilst leaving the narrow wood sections that make up the perimeter framing and any intermediate rails or dividers to cope with any small movement that occurs. In your case you don't need to worry about panel shrinkage because you plan to use plywood.

I guess you could do the beading thing you mentioned in your last paragraph, but I don't see why you would do so if the leather goes up to edge of the recess. On the other hand, if you make up a solid wood frame with ply panels, the wood is already there at the edge of the recess where the leather goes. Slainte.

petertheeater
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Re: Leather inlay in desk question(s)

Postby petertheeater » Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:08 pm

What route did you go down in the end? Pictures please.

promhandicam
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Re: Leather inlay in desk question(s)

Postby promhandicam » Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:14 am

As the OP last posted over 3 years ago you may have a long wait for a reply.


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