For the first time I can remember, I want to make something with tambour doors. All it’s taken to revamp my woodworking desires was about 90 minutes with this nifty three-bit set. Revolutionary, if you ask me.
The set originated in the mind of Lonnie Bird, who I know as one of the gurus of reproducing 18th-cencentury American furniture. While I can’t picture Queen Anne or Chippendale pieces with tambour, Bird has nonetheless designed a great system. The literature and DVD that accompany the set explain it clearly and provide step-by-step directions for making a tambour-door breadbox.
The singular feature is the interlock of the slats. No need to glue the strips to canvas. Each has an integral bead along one edge and a slot in the other. A slat’s bead slides into the slot in its neighbor. Make as many slats as you need, slide them together, and your tambour is done.
Making the slats is remarkably easy. Rip 1/2″-thick stock into 1-15⁄16″-wide strips. Each strip will yield two tambour slats. Four passes across the shaping bit transform the strip into two ungrooved slats linked at their beads. Rough out each groove with a pass over the table saw blade, then complete its shape with a pass over the ball-head groover, the second of the set’s bits. Rip the slats apart on the table saw, and they’re ready for the sanding and finishing.
The set’s third bit, a 1/8″ roundover, is used only to ease the edges of the end slat.