How to Build Tambour Doors

Old roll-top desks are lovely additions to a home's decor.
Decorative wooden slats create beautiful tambour doors.Decorative wooden slats create beautiful tambour doors.
The interesting part of the desk is the rolling tambour door that pulls out from the top of the desk and follows a groove along the edges of the desk top. The smooth movement of the slats on the desk is created by connecting the slats with a canvas backing. This type of door is good for cabinets and small, cubby-like spaces, such as a bread box.

Step 1

Push 36 pine 24-by-3/4-by-1/4-inch wooden slats through a planer, one at a time, length-wise. The planer shaves the slats to guarantee the thickness of each slat is 3/4 inch.

Step 2

Lay the 36 slats next to each other, length-wise, on your work bench. Use a straightedge to align the slats along their short edges evenly.

Step 3

Apply yellow wood glue across the slats, using a paintbrush to apply the glue evenly in a thin coat.

Step 4

Set a 32-by-24-inch thin canvas on the slats. Press one corner of the canvas to the end of the last slat and slowly press the canvas down over all 36 slats. Press out any air bubbles caught between the glue and the canvas. Allow the glue to set for two hours.

Step 5

Turn the piece over so the canvas is on the bottom and the slats are exposed. Place fine-grit sandpaper on an electric sander. Sand the slats to an even, smooth surface.

Things You Will Need

  • 36 wooden slats, 24-by-3/4-by-1/4-inch
  • 32-by-24-inch thin canvas
  • Planer
  • Straightedge
  • Yellow wood glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Electric sander
  • Fine-grit sandpaper

Tip

  • Use a long, wooden vise to hold the slats to prevent misalignment.

Warning

  • Exercise caution when using any power tool.

About the Author

Amanda Fetherlin is a writer, mother and former teacher with extensive experience in home remodeling, daycare education and domestic activities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from St. Louis University.