Desk by Tom McIntyre: A picture is worth a thousand words

Luckily for me, we have a pictures of this stunning desk made by Rowden student, Tom McIntyre. Otherwise I’d have been here for ages trying to explain just how Tom managed to make such a deceptively simple and elegant desk!

Tom likes curved surfaces. Everyone likes curved surfaces. The legs are solid and the shaping is perfectly executed. There is a certain Art Deco elegance and mid-century minimalism to the design, and if you’re working in solid wood it is relatively simple to create curved and rounded surfaces.

The drawer fronts have the same effortless, curved edges that wrap around seamlessly to the rails on the side of the desk, the grain following from drawer to desk. This shows great thought on the part of the designer-maker. In solid wood, this would have been an acceptably interesting challenge to a Rowden student.


The top, the sides and the drawer fronts are all veneered, which is a great way to ensure continuity in colour and style. Tom wanted veneers, and he wanted curves, so he spent weeks experimenting and testing to see how tight he could curve the veneers.  He then built perfect jigs and moulds to get the desired effect. He even made a chair using the same technique to ensure it worked.

And that’s what you want from a student, because that’s what you want from a designer-maker.

To stand out, and to be creating unique and exciting pieces of furniture, you have to be willing to go the extra mile. First, design without the distraction of making. Then, make using all the skills you have learned, with passion and without compromise.

Awesome work, Tom.

Until next time,



David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

Looking for our woodworking courses? is the new home of Rowden Atelier Fine Woodworking School.

It is where you will now find all the information about our renowned fine woodworking courses, our ethos, and why our students go on to do so many great things. This site remains dedicated to the designs and work, of Rowden’s Founder; David Savage. If you are looking for our woodworking courses, please click here.