A Teak (Again with the Teak?) Officer’s Desk


I thought I was through with teak after finishing up my latest campaign chest, but the woodpile had other ideas. After sorting through my stack of woods appropriate for campaign furniture, it was clear that a mondo piece of 26”-wide teak would be the perfect desktop for a William IV officer’s field desk.

It’s a cool desk – it folds flat thanks to its hinged aprons. And it’s simple to build – I should have it complete by this weekend. After months of dovetailing, a project with only four joints has its appeal.


When I’m not plowing through that teak, I’m sorting through the research materials I brought back from my trip to England. It is a weighty pile – so much that Delta Airlines almost charged me for overweight luggage.

In addition to tons of images and data, I brought back some fantastic 19th-century accounts by British officers of their adventures in India.

Here’s a taste of one from 1880:

More mosquitos. What a prize for the musquitoes was I a fine, fresh, ruddy griffin, full of wholesome blood, the result of sea-breezes and healthy chylification ! and, in good sooth, they did fall foul of me with the appetite of gluttons. Sleep ! bless your dear, simple heart, the thing was about as possible as for St. Lawrence to have reposed on his gridiron.

Proper bedtime reading.

— Christopher Schwarz

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Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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11 Responses to A Teak (Again with the Teak?) Officer’s Desk

  1. jonathanszczepanski says:

    “…a fine, fresh, ruddy griffin, full of wholesome blood,…” I think that should be a secret phrase known only to those in the know.
    …Of course I just blew that out of the water, didn’t I.

  2. jonathanszczepanski says:

    Looking forward to this desk and the book, by the way. 🙂

  3. Mike Siemsen says:

    I always liked St. Lawrence and his comment to his tormentors,”Turn me over, I am done on this side.” I wonder if they roasted him on a fire made of Teak?

  4. bobbollin says:

    chyle (kaɪl)

    a milky fluid containing emulsified fat and other products of digestion, that forms from chyme in the small intestine, is absorbed by the lacteals, and reaches the bloodstream through the thoracic duct.

    Always an education here!

    Not sure I wanted it.

    But nice desk!

  5. Very nice, and ingenious those Brits. What locks the aprons, the top?

  6. hughjengine says:

    How many campaign pieces did you carry back in your luggage?

  7. tsstahl says:

    What are the nubby corner holder thingies made from?

    I first assumed they were filed brass shelf pins, but closer inspection reveals more refinement.

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