Batch Production

Although these desks were not designed specifically for a batch production run, the repeats of at least four of everything, and up to eighty of some items meant that some form of batch production would speed up the operation and keep the cost down.


The first thing to look at was space - was there room to complete four of these desks in my small workshop? At first I thought that I would have to do two runs of two. Then I decided to make the major components, consisting of pedestals, tops, and centre cupboards/drawer fronts, and only completely assemble each desk in the workshop one at a time for tests and adjustments.They would then be dis-assembled, delivered as components, and 1 would assemble them all on site. It could be done as a straight run of four - just!


The essence of batch production is care and organisation. Accurate cutting lists, careful sequencing of tasks, and use of rods and jigs for repeat measurements and tasks is essential.

I double-checked that I had the correct number, and sometimes a spare, of each item. Stacking up a pile to a known number, and then checking the number of stacks, helped. I became quite paranoid, wandering round the workshop counting little piles of wood and making chalk marks on them.

All the cuts, at a particular machine setting, were made at the same time, and the measurements of the first one-off


The creative energy that would have been used to make four different desks, was channelled into making four similar pieces, efficiently. Perhaps some of the enjoyment of slower, progressive working was lost, but there was great satisfaction in the efficiency gained. I enjoyed the challenge - it appealed to someone with a military background!

aroful stacking arid marking 1$ essential when m a kiffg^^^^^MflroBm i scale double-checked so that I didn't make eighty mistakes - it paid to make haste slowly.

  • 1611 - —- - 812 —
  • 1611 - —- - 812 —
-<- 481 -

ABOVE! Templates for positioning back pins

ABOVE! Templates for positioning back pins t o o


8ELOWI Using hardboard Jig for fixing the panel pins in the backs

The frames and shelves are shouldered to fit the stopped housings in the side frames.

Burr door panels

The burr door panels are made up by deep-sawing the selected burr and match-jointing in the middle. This produces some ornamental effects in the figure and the colour. They are sticked and replaced in the conditioner until required. The partitions between the cupboard backs and the drawers are cut to size from 5mm (%in) walnut-faced MDF.

At this stage I made sure I had done everything I could that required space in the workshop because the next phase was going to seriously eat into my floor area!

Pedestal assembly

All the pieces required for each pedestal are laid out and checked. The first is dry-fitted and then glued-up using Cascamite, clamped, checked for square, and left to set. I had sufficient clamps for two at a time - the start-time was chalked on and the clamps left for at least four hours. While they were setting, the next two were being prepared, and before I knew it I was surrounded by pedestals.

The backs are pinned to the drawer frames and shelves using hardboard jigs which hold the pin in place for the hammer - a very simple but effective aid.

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