06:19AM | 03/06/99
Some years ago I purchased an attractive, massive, rolltop desk. The rolltop's parallel slats have separated at several spots. They were held together by being glued to a piece of fabric like material. I have been able to remove the slats but need to know what material to use and how to make a sucessful repair. I don't want the desk repaired in a manner that will reduce its value. I would also appreciate your suggestions on how to find someone else to make this repair if you feel that it should be left to a pro. How much do you feel is a fair charge for this repair?

Thank you


08:04PM | 03/14/99
It has been a while since I repaired a tambour sp? As I recall I removed all of the canvas from the slats. I then removed old glue somewhat. If it was hide glue, vinager should help out on that task. I cut a new piece of heavy canvas to size and glued the slats back down. The trick is to get all of the slats glued down and 1. not get any glue on the last 1/2" of each end. 2. getting all of the slats in line so it is not overly tight in its grooves when done. 3. get all of the slats close together so you dont see a lot of canvas when you are done. I think the method I used was to put glue on both the canvas and the slats (a little at a time so the glue doesnt dry) unless you are using contact cement then it doesn't matter. Have the canvas stretched out and tacked down to a piece of plywood. Canvas should be larger than you need in all directions. Draw lines where you want the glue to be. I used contact cement. Hide glue would probably have been a more historically correct choice but this was a paying gig and I knew that I could (not) pull it off so to speak with contact cement. Lightly clamp the slats at ends so all of the ends line up. I don't think you'll have to clamp across the long side of the slats. The stretched canvas should recoil a bit to close some of the gaps.

good luck.


12:57AM | 12/26/14
Member Since: 12/26/14
1 lifetime posts
I have just purchased a roll top desk, something I have desired for at least 50 years! It is a marvel, sitting in my office. I have a little problem, though, and that is in the locking mechanisms involved in the drawers.
When the desk was set up, all was A-OK but then there were only 6 of the 8 drawers that opened. Sometimes those 6 drawers would stick and then 2 would never open. I am concerned because the locking mechanism is inside hand nI don't even know what it is and, if I open, what am I looking for? Also, a job like this would require 2 or 3 to do the job to open a inner workings and understand the locking mechanisms.

Can you help me?


04:39PM | 01/31/15
It's pretty easy to understand how it works but you need to have a look. Generally the weight of the roll top will push down on a lever which lifts a rod with a set of hooks that lock down on the drawers. Every desk works slightly differently and over time when the desk is moved around the system can be bent and twisted to a point that it no longer works as designed. You will need to pull the desk apart and get the two drawer parts seperated from the top. Pull all the drawers out and have a play with the lever system. Generally you will need to fashion a new pivot point. Do a google search of "Roll top desk drawer locking mechanism"


07:06PM | 09/22/16
My antique roll top desk suffered some during moving. The upper part of the top isn't level, or has a gap to the right side where it meets the desk top from zero on the left, to nearly 3/8" on the right side. This effects the slats of the roll top to not recede back enough to have access to all the upper drawers, if this is some kind of tongue and groove assembly, how does one shift the desk top back into position
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