Building a Curved Reception Desk

      A quick run-down on creating curved cabinetry. September 26, 2009

I have been asked to build a curved reception desk for a friend who is opening a new hair salon. This will be my first experience at building a curved desk. I have a fair bit of experience building traditional kitchen cabinets. What material should I use to construct the frame? The desk will be covered with either laminate or veneer. I was thinking laminate because she wants a pattern to show on the front of the desk, like quarter circles. The other option is to use veneer and stain the quarter circles to match her design.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor G:
Outwater has what you need. Kerfcore or Ultralite.

From contributor N:
Use 3/4" plywood for top and bottom plate with intermediate supports, and apply 2 layers of 3/8" bending plywood to face (radius). To veneer the curve, apply transparent packing tape to veneer so you can see and align your seam.

From contributor T:
We do a lot of curved reception desks. The way I would do it is 3/4" top and bottom cut to the shape of the radius. Verticals every 12" or so. Skin with 2 layers of bending luan on the face, 2 layers on the back. Make sure you glue the ribs to the face and use a roller to cover the second layer of bender to get good coverage.

From the original questioner:
I was originally thinking of going with horizontal pieces, but you suggested vertical ribs. You also said that you glue the luan to the ribs. Do you use any other fasteners? What type of glue do you use? Do you apply the veneer before or after the front is assembled?

From c contributor B:
The ribs are just like studs in a wall except 3/4" ply. You have a top and bottom plate that establish your radius. You attach the ribs to the plates. Glue (white) and staple the bending luan to the outside of the ribs, use regular ply on the straight parts. Make sure to drill holes in the ribs to allow for wiring. Make removable access panels on the inside of the diewall to get to the wiring.

I would use 1/8" MDF as the top layer on the outside of the radius to get a smoother surface for gluing the veneer to the diewall because the bending ply is too rough and could telegraph any imperfections in the ply.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: General

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article