John Olenik's Scrutoire

A fabulous act of charity!

SHOP OWNER: John Olenik
LOCATION: Ballston Spa, NY

    This piece was built for the sole purpose of donating it to my church so they could raffle it off to raise money for the building modernization fund (in lieu of a cash donation).
     The piece is constucted out of curly cherry, cherry plywood, and crotch walnut. The basic dimensions came from The New Yankee Workshop plans which I modified for a different look. The tapered legs feature walnut tips which are doweled and glued to the cherry, with a bead accent on the outer edge. The stretchers have a custom profile for accent. The upper rails are mortise and tenon with glued and screwed blocks on the inside corners for additional support, and are pinned to the legs with walnut dowels. A cherry plywood dust cover finishes the underneath.
John Olenik's Scrutoire

   The upper case is joined with dado and glue constuction using cherry plywood for the desk top base, and solid glued up stock for the sides. The top is a single wide board of highly figured stock, which features a custom profile which matches the profile on the moldings separating the carcass from the base. Front and rear panels are bookmatched cherry using frame and panel construction with profiles on the front where it laps over the carcass.
John Olenik's Scrutoire

The single drawer in front is constucted with pinned finger joints, and features a coved interior pencil tray from cherry with walnut dividers, (and slides as smooth as silk!) The pull out lopers feature splined walnut accents with a polished brass knob.
John Olenik's Scrutoire
John Olenik's Scrutoire


    Inside, the pigeon holes are held together with dadoes, and are recessed into matching dadoes in the top, and bottom of the desk. Drawers are constructed with solid cherry and finger joints, with crotch walnut fronts accented with polished brass knobs. The inside of the slant top features a green leather writing surface, with polished brass hinges.
    I applied a linseed-based oil to all the wood, and finished up with three coats of hand-applied, and hand-rubbed water-based polyurethane, which acheived a silky smooth, lacquer-like luster.
    I built this "scrutoire" was built over the period of a year and a half, in between other projects, and the design became a work in progress. In retrospect, I would make some subtle design changes to refine the piece, but as my first attempt, it didn't come out too bad. It was recently featured at the Northeast Woodworkers Showcase in Saratoga Springs, NY. Now.....for the next one!

. . . John Olenik




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P.O. Box 493
Springtown, PA 18081