A George II Ash Bureau – Part Five

I rubbed a couple of lengths of ash together to make the fall and then added a single-mitred cleat to each end. Next I scratched an ovolo moulding around the periphery of the exterior of the fall (fig. 1) and planed the closing rebate around the interior top and side edges (fig. 2).


Fig.1. Moulded fall edges.


Fig. 2. The 110° top (only) rebate.

Before I assembled the carcase, I formed the narrow housings in the desk compartment for the pigeonhole and drawer dividers. You can probably just make out the horizontal housing in the left carcase side in figure 3.


Fig. 3. Horizontal housing in left hand carcase side.

The 3/16″ thick dividers comprise two boards which are rubbed together in the normal fashion. The front board of each division is ash, as you’d expect, however, the rear is pine, which may sound cheap, but was common practice in the eighteenth-century (figs. 4, 5 & 6).


Fig. 4. Mahogany bureau with mixed wood dividers, circa 1750.


Fig. 5. Mahogany bureau with mixed wood dividers, circa 1760.


Fig. 6. Mahogany bureau with mixed wood dividers, circa 1780.

I prepared some thin ash and pine stuff and rubbed the dividers together. When dry, I cut out the shaped vertical dividers and formed the half-round nosing on the front edges of all the dividers. Shallow housings were cut into the various dividers to permit them to interlock and then the whole pigeonhole and drawer-opening structure was slid into place within the desk’s interior (fig. 7).


Fig. 7. Pigeonhole and drawer dividers installed.


Fig. 8. Ash and pine dividers.

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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10 Responses to A George II Ash Bureau – Part Five

  1. as usual jack, excellent work


  2. Can you tell me how you joined the cleat to the fall? Thank you.


    • Jack Plane says:

      The bottom of the fall is haunched, that is to say, there’s a 1/2″ tongue visible at each end of the fall. The remainder of each joint is a continuous 1″ tongue that engages a groove the entire length of the cleat (except for the last half inch of the mitre).

      The mitres are swabbed with glue and then a few judiciously placed dabs of glue help to keep the cleats in place.



  3. R.Lindh says:

    Flawless work as is always the case!!


  4. Adam says:

    I’m not sure what you call them, but I’m referring to the top skirts in between each divider. Are they simply glued on, or is there a very tiny dado for each one?


  5. TobyC says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Flawless work! Can’t wait to see it finished!



  6. Adam says:

    Hah. It somehow makes me feel better that you don’t know either. Pigeonhole fret works as well as anything else I suppose.


  7. Pingback: A George II Ash Bureau – Part Six | Pegs and 'Tails

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