Woodworking Plans Secretary Desk


Woodworking plans are an invaluable tool for creating any item of furniture. Having the right plan can make all the difference between success and failure, so it’s important to choose one carefully. When searching for a woodworking plan to build a secretary desk from, there are a few key things to consider. First, look for plans that are complete, with detailed measurements and step-by-step instructions. This will help ensure that you will be able to complete your project in a timely manner and with quality results. Second, look for plans that offer customization options; this will allow you to make alterations or adjustments as needed in order to suit your individual taste or needs. Finally, check if the plan comes with drawings, photos or other visuals. Not only do these visuals give you an idea of what the end product should look like, but they also provide inspiration and guidance during construction.

No matter which type of woodworking plan is chosen, careful attention must be paid throughout the building process. Make sure each piece is measured and cut correctly before assembly begins; this will avoid mistakes that may cost time or money later on down the line. Remember; taking your time when building a secretary desk is the key to achieving great results!

History of Secretary Desks

The secretary desk can trace its history to early Europe in the 17th century. During this time most furniture was made of wood, and the secretary desk was no different. The secretary desk is considered an evolution from a writing slope, which was an inclined sloped box with drawers and doors that were used for writing documents. As certain features were added it resulted in a tall writing desk with drawers and compartments, eventually leading to the modern day secretary desk.

The 18th century saw a swell in production of these desks with various materials being used like mahogany, oak, pine and rosewood. Many of the designs showcased intricate carvings or marquetry, which continued into the 19th century. Towards later part of the 1800s many innovations such as knee-hole shelves, use of veneer on particle board or MDF and moderate changes in size and shape occurred leading to new interpretations on the secretary desk’s design.

These days however you can find many different iterations utilizing myriad materials like metal or even acrylic often times done without any crafting at all such as with modern industrial styles. The use of decorate glass panels has also resurfaced alongside more plainer designs that offer both areas for storage as well as writing surfaces making them still popular choice for contemporary homes today.

Traditional Styles

One of the most popular traditional styles of secretary desk is the bunk-style. These desks feature a hinged front that drops down to function as a writing surface and usually have several shelves and drawers for plenty of storage. Popular materials used to build these desks include rich hardwoods like oak, cherry, mahogany, and more. This style leans towards the more conservative look with its paneled sides, smooth curves, and classic finishes. It’s the perfect solution for someone who needs a functional yet elegant workspace in their home or office.

Another popular traditional style is the drop-front secretary desk, which offers both excellent storage options and an extended surface area when unfolded. This style normally includes several drawers and cubbies as well as a hinged escutcheon top that flips down, along with two smaller projecting flaps at either side, extending your workspace even further. The hardware detailing on this type of piece is often quite ornate; think carved handles, rosettes, and decorative molding. Available finishes run from distressed patinas to light stains so it’s easy to find one that perfectly complements your décor.

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Types of Woodworking Plans for Secretary Desks

The most common woodworking plans for secretary desks are traditional plans, which provide detailed instructions on every step of the building process. Traditional plans include all the necessary measurements, including the appropriate cuts for each piece of wood, as well as detailed illustrations and full-scale drawings that provide visual guidance for the construction process. The biggest advantage of traditional plans is their step-by-step nature, which makes it easy to follow along and build a beautiful desk that looks cohesive and intentional. However, these types of plans can be very time consuming and require some expert knowledge and experience in terms of properly reading and using measurements to accurately cut your pieces so they fit perfectly together.

Contemporary plans offer a more modern feel with fewer restrictions on construction techniques. These types of plans are created with various tools such as CAD software, but still usually feature basic dimensions in order to help guide users towards a successful finished product. In addition to offering more creative freedom when building, contemporary plans also tend to take less time due to the simpler designs they utilize-such as L-shaped layouts or mixed materials like steel frames with wooden tops. The downside is that these modern designs may not have the longevity or structural integrity offered by stronger traditional designs since there’s only so much you can do within such a limited scope.

Finally, custom woodworking plans for secretary desks can provide an even higher level of flexibility than what’s available from contemporary or traditional options. Choose this option if you want something completely unique; from dimensions and features to finishes and coatings, you’ll be able to design exactly what you envision in your space. The downside here is that custom plans will require a lot more research into accurate measurements and information about different types of jointing techniques etc., in order to ensure your project comes out precisely how you imagined it.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Woodworking Plan for Your Secretary Desk

1. Size: Before selecting woodworking plans for a secretary desk, it is important to assess the size of the project and ensure the plan fits within any available space constraints.

2. Materials: Consider what type of material is specified in the plans and if it can be found in one’s area or online. It is also important to factor in if any additional tools are necessary for the materials used in order to complete the project successfully.

3. Budget: Research and assess costs related to purchasing necessary materials, tools, and plans to ensure they fit within one’s budget before starting the project.

4. Skill Level: Consider how experienced of a woodworker you are before choosing plans that may require techniques or features that might prove too challenging without additional guidance or practice.

5. Safety Constraints: Make sure to take note of listed safety guidelines or specifications that should be followed for particular projects prior to building; these are typically outlined in each plan’s instructions.

Tools Needed for Building a Secretary Desk

Tools needed for building a secretary desk include:

-Table saw ” for cutting lumber pieces to size and creating trim pieces.
-Circular saw ” for making cuts at angles, cutting Dados, and more.
-Router ” for making grooves and rounding over edges of pieces.
-Chisels ” used to carve intricate detailing on the sides of the desk.
-Drill/Driver ” for drilling pilot holes when joining two pieces of wood together using screws or nails.
-Forstner bit set ” for creating larger diameter drill holes which can be used for shelving units, lock assemblies, and decorative knobs.
-Jigsaw ” for making curved cuts in wood pieces; handy for giving the desk a unique shape or curved sides.
-Sander ” to ensure a smooth finish by hand sanding each board, once the project is complete.
-Tape measure & Ruler, Pencils & Markers, Safety glasses & Hearing Protection, Clamps & Vices (various sizes).

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Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Secretary Desk

A secretary desk is the perfect addition to any home office or workspace. It offers a convenient storage solution and enough surface area for anything from laptop use to managing paperwork. This step-by-step guide will provide all of the necessary information needed to build a functional and beautiful secretary desk.

Materials Needed:
• Saw/measuring tape
• 1 ¼-inch pocket screw
• Wood glue
• Wood screws
• Plywood
• Pre-drilled holes and hinges (optional)
• Cabinet pulls (optional)

Step One: Measure and Cut the Pieces: Start by taking measurements of where you would like your desk to go before selecting your plywood pieces. Draw out a basic shape, such as a rectangle, on a piece of paper, taking into account where you want drawers, the drop-down front area for the desktop, etc. Once you have determined how many pieces you’ll need, begin cutting the pieces with either a saw or jigsaw. Make sure all edges are sanded for safety purposes.

Step Two: Assemble Sides: Lay two long pieces on either side of your rectangle shape together so that their outside edges touch. Drill pocket screws firmly in place using a hand drill or electric drill, making sure that all holes are properly aligned before attaching them together with wood glue. Allow time for drying overnight before proceeding to the next step. Note that this process can also be done with pre-drilled holes and hinges instead of pocket screws and wood glue in order to save time when assembling sides.

Continue stepping through each step required to complete the construction of your secretary desk including attaching top panels and drawer slides/pullouts along with finishing touches before proudly displaying it! In addition this guide can provide helpful tips along the way as well as suggested additional resources related to finding hardware or furniture design ideas if needed throughout your building process.

Finishing Tips

When finishing a woodworking project such as a secretary desk, it’s important to select a stain or paint that will enhance the natural beauty of the wood. To begin, lightly sand down the entire surface to remove any imperfections then start staining. It is best to use 2-3 coats of stain (with drying time in between) for an even finish. After staining, lightly sand the surface down again then apply 1-2 coats of varnish for added protection. If desired, add further protection by using a clear sealant after varnish is applied.

For those who want a truly unique look, use furniture wax or oil polish before and after the varnish coatings have dried. This will give your piece an antique patina and make it easier to dust and wipe off when needed. Finally, when storing you completion secretary desk be sure to use furniture cups under each corner leg as this will help prevent any scratching on floors and carpets.


Building a secretary desk from woodworking plans is an excellent way to create a unique and functional piece of furniture. It not only has a timeless appeal but also serves as an efficient workspace for organizing papers, supplies, and stationery. A well-crafted desk is also sure to become a family heirloom that can be passed down through generations. The right woodworking plan will provide all the information needed to complete the project successfully, including step-by-step instructions, diagrams and materials list. With some patience and dedication anyone can create a beautiful secretary desk that they can be proud of for years to come.

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