The August 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine is in the mail to subscribers – I received mine yesterday – and it features my campaign secretary on the cover.
This fact failed to impress my children – even when the news was accompanied by a flirty little dance.
In any case, if you aren’t a subscriber, the issue will be on newsstands in a few weeks and the digital edition will be available for purchase and download on Saturday, June 30, at ShopWoodworking.com. The article that accompanies the project isn’t your typical Tab A into Slot B story. Yes, there is construction information in the article. But my goal was more to show you how to design one for yourself using the joinery, materials and typical dimensions of campaign chests.
Yeah, I know that’s kind of weird. But it’s the kick I’ve been on for a few years now. Plus, after 12 months, 14 days and 31 minutes after leaving my job, I can now let my freak flag fly.
However, I know that there are some woodworkers who would appreciate a very detailed drawing of the campaign secretary, and so I am offering it for a free download from the 3D Warehouse. It’s a SketchUp file, so you’ll need that free program to view and manipulate the file. Click here to download SketchUp (it’s free). Click here to download the file for the campaign secretary.
I’d also like to take a moment to answer the No. 1 question from readers who have studied the article and my photos: What the heck is that screw for on the side of the top drawer/gallery? Here’s a photo.
The screw shown in the photo is a temporary one – I replaced it with a nice No 10 brass screw after the finish was on. But what is it for? Simple, it holds the sides of the gallery to the desktop. Without the screw, the sides will flop about because they aren’t glued to anything except the back of the gallery.
OK, let’s back up a minute. The cubbyholes are a separate assembly that just slides into the gallery. Ignore them. Forget them. Here, in this illustration I’ve removed them.
What’s left? It’s a drawer without a drawer front. The sides are connected to the back with through-dovetails. The drawer bottom (i.e. the desktop) is in a groove in the sides. Here’s a shot of the drawer bottom in the groove in the sides.
The drawer bottom/desktop is connected to the sides with a single beefy screw through the side and into the bottom/desktop. We need this screw because the drawer front (which is the fall-front of the desk) is attached using hinges – not half-blind dovetails like a traditional drawer. And you can’t glue the bottom/desktop into the groove because it’s a wicked-bad cross-grain construction. So you need a screw.
If you build this project you will find out the solution for yourself, even if you don’t quite grasp it yet.
Just keep muttering to yourself: “I need two screws. I need two screws.” That will fix your problem – and make you some nice new friends at the grocery store.
— Christopher Schwarz