Richard, the furniture maker, goes into great detail below on this wonderful desk.
This desk was built for a Presidential Press Secretary in Washington DC. It is a beautiful, one of a kind, Greene and Greene style desk from the Arts & Crafts movement of the early 1900s. The light wood is from a Maple tree that was a family favorite that fell in the back yard. He had the wood sawn as he wanted to have something special made for the family so they could commemorate the tree and continue to enjoy it. The wood was delivered to us wet so had some months of drying before the desk came to life. Richard tried to accent the different marks in the wood with the desk. Every piece is made specifically for its place in the desk. The only things mass produced are the drawer slides. He could have made them out of wood, but felt over time the metal slides would work better and that the owner would be happier with them. They are heavy duty with a built in catch to keep the drawer closed. The lower larger drawer slides will support 150 lbs, though I wouldn't want to put that claim to the test.
Custom making a piece of furniture takes a lot of additional time. Each piece is handled individually, culled from the available wood and chosen specifically for its use in the item, as opposed to straight grained clear wood that can be milled in mass. This point alone adds a lot of life and character to a custom made piece.
He used the client's Maple as mentioned, a silver Maple which had Ambrosia or Ghost Maple markings. It also has some bird's eye and curly Maple character, so you will notice a lot of variety of pattern or figure in the wood. Normally the side panels would have been made out of Maple covered plywood. Not here. They are solid maple. The only plywood used can be found in the drawer bottom, as plywood is stable and won't shift over time. The Walnut is black Walnut grown in Virginia. It was milled by a sawyer we use here in Independence. Both woods were air dried giving better color than kiln drying.
This brings up the point that the wood will move over time and with climate changes. There is mortise and tenon joinery (a very strong joint) used in the drawer carcasses. The side panels are not glued. They are set in slots so they can expand and contract with the humidity. Humidity should be maintained in the 40s and 50s where most people are pretty comfortable. This will reduce the stress on the wood as well. The long boards in the top against the end boards can crack if not allowed to move. The end boards are needed to keep the top from bowing or cupping as the piece ages. The end boards are raised slightly on purpose. Richard believes the purpose is to keep weight off them. The middle 4 inches, only, of that board are glued to the long boards of the top. There are two screws in addition, but that is all that connects the two parts. The desk top is an engineered piece which the Greene brothers are known for. There's a lot of work that went into the desk top, deceptively so.
The desk is finished with Waterlox, a high end mixture of linseed and tung oils. It is not polyurethane. It is better for the wood. There are 6-8 coats of hand rubbed finish on the desk. If anything wears over time it is easy to get a quart of Waterlox and apply to the worn spot. One doesn't need to strip the whole desk or part of it.
Dimensions: 60" x 30"