American Woodworker

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Selma's Desk 1


When I was a kid, I always looked forward to getting a birthday card from my grandmother, Selma Halvorson. The five dollar bill inside the card could sure buy a lot of candy in those days.


This is the desk that Selma sat at when she wrote birthday cards. She was a schoolteacher in rural Wisconsin before World War I, and her  handwriting was a beautiful script.

Although she was old-fashioned in many ways, her taste in furniture was quite modern, as you can see from this desk, chair, and waste basket. They're Danish Modern, a style that's come and gone and come back again.

Of course, she probably liked it because she was 1,000% Norwegian.

This desk, chair, and waste basket are now in my office at American Woodworker magazine. I sit at the desk when I'm editing paper versions of my articles. Which is kind of old-fashioned these days, too.

I've been considering publishing a how-to-build it article on the desk in the American Woodworker, but there a couple of difficulties. One, would you folks really want to read this? And two, how the heck am I going to machine those oval legs? More on that later. If you have any comments or questions to add to this blog, please scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, below the ads.

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R. Craig Chisman wrote re: Selma's Desk 1
on 02-23-2009 9:41 AM

That is a beautiful desk!

bmoore wrote re: Selma's Desk 1
on 02-26-2009 5:06 AM

Hi Tom,

Most elegant desk and yes I would love to try and make one of those desks and of course I would read your article about this item. Like your grandmother my heritage is of Danish decent.