Restoring A Biedermeier Tambour Desk Part 2

Replacing the missing gallery rails

I made a simple scratch stock  from a hacksaw blade and a piece of scrap timber. The hacksaw blade was ground to the profile I required. I then draw it up and down the length of the rail to scrape the profile out on both sides.  This could have been done with a router but I find this method far quicker on short lengths of timber.


The rail was then papered with 180/240 grit, dampened with a cloth to raise the grain and  repapered using 240 grit.


The rails were tenoned into the four corner posts.


Turning the gallery spindles

CIMG2512When turning the spindles, I stained and friction polished them on the lathe to save time later, again I dampened to raise the grain and repapered.

CIMG2515Sixteen spindles later …


Turning the feet

These were turned using some reclaimed feet.  They were turned in the same style, but the size was reduced.


The finished feet


Restoring A Biedermeier Tambour Desk Part 3

Restoring A Biedermeier Tambour Desk Part 1


Bream Trophy

Several years ago I was asked to make a trophy for my local Angling Club of which I am a member. I was recently asked to repair the fish as some of the fins had broken off over the years.

You could say it was a bit battered and had a few chips in it 🙂

Restoring A Biedermeier Tambour Desk Part 1



This Biedermeier desk came into the workshop for restoration.

The tambour needed relining, the feet were missing and there was damage to the left hand side of the plinth. There was some patching needed to the veneers and a new leather was required. The finish to the desk was badly faded and stained in places. After discussion with the client we decided what shape the missing feet should be,what kind of leather (skiver or hide) and what style of border they would like.

As you can see from the picture below it was missing its spindles and rails from the gallery.

2012-07-01 01.27.45

The handles were removed as they were added at a later date, these pieces didn’t usually have handles fitted and relied on keys to open and close them, which is why they often got damaged around the key holes.

2012-07-01 01.44.29

Relining The Tambour
As you can see from this picture, the bottom slat  was broken in the middle  and had come apart from the rest of the tambour necessitating relining.


The back panel was removed and the tambour released. It was then cramped to a flat board on the bench to keep the slats square and prevent them from springing.


The old canvas was removed and the surface sanded.


New calico was glued in place.


After 24 hours the canvas was trimmed at the edges.

Restoring A Biedermeier Tambour Desk (Part 2)