George’s Faux Drawers

I’ve gotten back working on my version of George Washington’s partner’s desk. (I posted about scratch-stocks used on the legs and other inexpensive shop-made tools I’ve used.) Today, take a look at the setup and process to make George’s faux drawers, which are found on the ends of the original desk. In my version the back sections are also faux – if it were a true partner’s desk it would have functioning drawers on both sides.

Because I want the appearance of drawers, I opted to assemble the panels using pieces that were the same thickness as my drawer blades and the same width as my drawer fronts. You can begin with a panel assembled from two or three pieces, but you’re completed faux-drawer panel won’t be as convincing. I milled and joined four pieces that were 7/8″ square along with three pieces that were 3-5/8″ wide.

Simple Jigs Work Best

Once the panels are assembled, the glue is dry, the panels are flattened and tenons are formed, it was time to use my Bosch trim router with a 1/8″-spiral up-cut router bit and a simple jig that’s a longer version of a trim jig to lay in grooves for beading. (At the link, scroll down and watch the video.)  The jig is placed so that a groove is cut at the intersection of the faux blades and faux fronts. Six lines are routed fully across the panels. I considered making these cuts using my table saw. The next set of cuts, however, could not be made at the saw, so I decided to make all my grooves using the router setup.

With the grooves cut across the panels, I turned the panel 90° and aligned the jig to the ends. The cuts here are between the previously cut grooves – the areas between the faux drawer blades. These are stop cuts that could not be made using my table saw.

You can see that part of the cut is made along the ends of my panel. BTW – I love the hand forged holdfasts from Horton Brasses. (

It’s easy to see the differences between a groove-cut panel and one that is yet to be grooved. When tenons are cut and fit and the legs are in place, there is a groove around each of the faux drawer front areas. Filling that groove with pieces of beading bring the panels to life. Oh, don’t forget the hardware – each faux drawer gets two pulls. There are 12 faux drawers and six real drawers for a total of 36 pulls.

— Glen D. Huey

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One thought on “George’s Faux Drawers

  1. Glen, I have always loved the Washington desk and have heard of many
    copies scattered in several political offices and think the original is in a city hall
    in the Northeast. Every now and then I see one or two on Craigslist Usually made
    By the Kittinger co. which is a treasure within itself. Can’t wait to see yours.
    36 pulls,wow that’s a weeks wages but it will be worth it.
    P.S The Horton Brass Hand forge hold fast looks great .

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