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Directed masterfully by Patrick PLOYAUD, this copy has everything to seduce passionate woodworkers and lovers of fine furniture in general. Mainly made of solid oak, it will find a place of choice in a classic interior.

A stepped office

LEVEL: initiated.
REALIZATION: approx. 40 h.
COST: 122 €
MINI EQUIPMENT: combined with wood, ripper...

See the plan of this realization (in pdf): A step office "Louis-philippe": the plan

The furniture consists of a molded-edge tray resting on four turned legs and a belt incorporating two frontal drawers. It is surmounted by a step frieze cocked hat, with a shelf and two small drawers distant from each other to form a central locker.

■ For this type of furniture, the choice of oak is sensible but any other noble species may be suitable. The manufacturing requires a combined wood, the most advantageous is to get sawmill blocks for the flow and the processing of parts. If not, buy boards planed closer to the indicated thicknesses. If you can not turn, opt for commercial models or see the recovery side.

The feet

The blanks are made from rafters brought to a section of 63 x 63 mm. The turning is done between points, keeping a square head of 200 mm height: rolls and gorges are shaped with the chisel and the gouge. To make four identical legs, make a 10 mm thick plywood template that you will often present during machining. If you have a copier, your work will be greatly facilitated.

■ The feet are carefully sanded on the lathe. They are then dismantled to dig, on two adjacent faces of the square head, the mortises corresponding to the tenons of the belt elements (crosspieces or longitudinal members) and the lateral slides of the drawers.

Turn the feet between spikes

Turn the feet between spikes

The feet are turned between points, with the help of a template to obtain four identical copies. Be careful to respect the height of the heads, it is then necessary to dig the mortises at the desired places, on the same alignment.

The belt

The two crosspieces each consist of a large board (section 30 x 190 mm). The front panel consists of two longitudinal beams (30 x 30 and 30 x 60 mm), joined at mid-length by the drawer dividers (30 x 54 mm): for the aesthetics, the lower one has a curved cut. Traced using a 10 mm plywood template, it is approached with a band saw and finished with a sanding cylinder. The rear side is designed on the same principle with two longitudinal members of 40 x 40 mm, but without curved cutout or central upright.

■ All these elements are held at each end. The front rails are additionally mortais vis-à-vis for the assembly of the separative amount. A mortise is also dug in the two longitudinal members of the bottom (front and back) to accommodate the tenons of the central slide of the drawers. This piece is made with a 30 x 50 mm cleat (the duct) centered on a 40 x 90 mm board (the slider), so as to form a wide rabbet on both sides. The two side rails are simply assembled in "L", but leaving a notch allowing the passage of the feet.

■ Before gluing, perform a blank edit to correct any faults. Similarly, at the router, flush (on 6 x 6 mm) the bottom of the crosspieces and the curved spar to embellish the structure of a fine edging running on three sides. Tip to make the latter: cut three boards of 6 mm thick (adapting their length to that of the parts to be equipped) and then round one of the longitudinal edges with a 6 mm tool tip. Finally, cut them back to the circular saw, setting at 10 mm the gap of the guide with respect to the blade. The edging thus obtained will be glued and pointed in the rabbets, once the piece of furniture mounted.

■ Separately glue and assemble the front and back of the base, and dry them between clamps with interposed drops. Then join them with the sleepers: take advantage of the glue setting time to correct the squareness by measuring the diagonals. The structure being assembled, groove with the router (and flat!) The two faces of facing of the front feet, in the extension of the preceding rabbets. At this point, you can set up the three lengths of edging by merging them at the corners.

Assemble the base

Assemble the base

After machining the tenons and mortises on the corresponding parts, the front and rear parts of the base are assembled and dried between clamps, with interposed drops. The glue burrs are eliminated immediately.

Constitute the structure

Constitute the structure

The two subassemblies are connected by the belt ties to form the structure. This assembly is done by adding the lateral and central slides. Squareness is checked by measuring the diagonals, before glueing.

Strengthen assemblies

■ The edging is in principle thin enough to follow without any problem the curvature of the facade spar. If it resists, moisten it to soften it before putting it down. Lastly, reinforce all base assemblies with 10 mm square dowels, glued.

A tiered office

A border runs along the bottom of the three visible faces of the structure. Its three lengths are glued and pointed in rabbets or grooves, as the case may be, by mitering them at the corners.

Strengthen the junctions

Strengthen the junctions

When the collages have dried, the junctions can be reinforced by square, frustoconical pegs, which are sold in packets in specialized stores. Be careful to push them into holes slightly smaller than their section.

Plateau and step

The tray is made, according to the available widths, from two or three boards of 30 mm thickness, assembled by grooves and tongues. In the final format of 630 x 1070 mm, its angles are rounded with a jigsaw and then equalized to the sanding cylinder. Molded on three sides (front and side) to the router, the plate is screwed to the base by means of brackets 20 x 20 mm glued to the inner face of the rails, flush with the upper edge.

■ The parts constituting the backsplash are all 14 mm thick. Chanted after tracing using templates, the back and cheeks are assembled with the shelf and the elements forming the side boxes that will host the drawers. Their assembly is made against the edges with glued pins of Ø 10 x 30 mm, with the aid of centering flanges to locate the axes of drilling.

■ After accurate marking, the step is mounted on the tray, flush with the rear edge. It is simply held, on both sides, by two trunnions glued under the cheeks, which makes it easy to remove.

A tiered office

The eight pieces constituting the step are assembled by pins of Ø 10 x 30 mm. Two pins hold the set on both sides, but
without sticking them in the blind holes of the tray to allow easy disassembly.

The drawers

The drawers

They are each formed of three walls (two sides and a back) of 15 mm thick, a 30 mm facade and a bottom 5 mm oak plywood. It is intersected in a groove of 5 x 5 mm, machined in the bottom of the internal faces of each wall but stopped in front.

■ On the assembly side, the sides of the small drawers are glued nailed into 10 x 10 mm rabbets, hollowed out at the ends of the back and front. The latter being offset to the right or left, to come to rest on the edges of the box concerned in the closed position. No slide system, these drawers are pulled and repel only by sliding on the board.

■ The backs of large drawers are simply inserted between the sides, the length of which is calculated to abut on the rear rails. This also allows the front to flush the front of the belt.

■ Before assembly, the large façades are machined to the router or router to obtain an effect of "boss"while the small ones are just softened around the quarter-round milling edge.To prevent the large drawers from tilting open, do not forget to glue small wedges"slatted cleats"under the board and on one of the sides.


The furniture is sanded with several abrasive qualities of increasing fineness. On this occasion, all the sharp edges are softened. After a good dusting, the woods are dyed with water then two layers of fade, each followed by a ginning with steel wool 00. Finally, the whole is protected by two layers of varnish aspect "waxed wood", interspersed with a ginning 000.

■ It remains to screw the knob-handles (here brassed) on the fronts of the drawers and check the proper functioning of the latter. If necessary, you can paraffinez the slides to facilitate sliding.

Protect the tray with a desk pad

Provide a desk pad to protect the tray during your writing. On antique furniture, it was customary to stick a leather coupon (often decorated with a gold braid) in a thin imprint dug in the format in the tray.

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