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Tambour Doors

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Mark Karacsonyi

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Hi all,

Has anyone any experience in making the rollover top, type of tambour doors. They are to make bread bins.

I need to make approx 15 of these, for a startup business. More orders may follow.

I have a suspicion this will be a router table project. Nearly forgot. The door ‘slats’, need to interlock.
 

Mead Camans

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Mark Karacsonyi

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Great thanks all. I will look at the store of Mr Sefton, and see if he stores the bits listed.
 

Mark Karacsonyi

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I watched a video on Youtube about it as I wanted to make some for my T5 van, but made doors intstead...have a look at this
Impressive, thanks for sharing. However I need the interlocking slat version. The linen backed version, will fail on food hygiene standards. Please don’t ask me why, I don’t make the rules.
 

Inspector

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The thing I don't care for with the interlocking type is they usually result in a thick tambour which isn't an issue on a roll top desk but is on a breadbox that may only be a couple feet wide at most. Since you can't use cloth how about cable? There were a lot of tambours made with fine cable stringing the slats together. The kind of cable used for fishing leaders would work. Amazon.com : 49-Strand Cable Vinyl Coated 7x7 Stainless Steel Kit 30ft 175lb 1.0mm w/10 1.3mm crimps : Sports & Outdoors You might want to use canoe bits to make a cove and bead for the edges. If they become a going concern you could set up a gang drill to make the holes rather than individually. Monofilament fishing line itself might work but you'll have to test it to see if it has the longevity to do the job.

For the couple cloth backed tambours I made I had several boards going at a time to make the slats. After surfacing and thicknessing the boards to the width I wanted, 3/4" if I recall, I would joint both edges of the boards and then rip them on the table saw. Then back to the jointer for another pair of edges and then saw them off. I did it until the boards were too narrow to safely handle. The jointer and table saw were both kept running at the same time. You end up with slats with 3 sides surfaced and the sawn side was glued to the cloth. You could do the same and clean up the last surface in the thicknesser if capable of handling thin work or a drum sander. For larger production shapers or molders make more sense than routers unless you are using the interlocking bulb joint.

Pete
 

recipio

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Lonnie Bird makes a nice bread bin using the Amana tambour set. Its available online for about £150. Its interlocking and the slats are not too thick.
I have made one rollltop desk back in the day and used 'Leatherette' glued down with PVA glue applied to the non leather side, It's held up well and still works. Its probably worth making contoured slats as the white surface of the glued side tends to show if the tambours are simple rectangles.
 

Mark Karacsonyi

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The thing I don't care for with the interlocking type is they usually result in a thick tambour which isn't an issue on a roll top desk but is on a breadbox that may only be a couple feet wide at most. Since you can't use cloth how about cable? There were a lot of tambours made with fine cable stringing the slats together. The kind of cable used for fishing leaders would work. Amazon.com : 49-Strand Cable Vinyl Coated 7x7 Stainless Steel Kit 30ft 175lb 1.0mm w/10 1.3mm crimps : Sports & Outdoors You might want to use canoe bits to make a cove and bead for the edges. If they become a going concern you could set up a gang drill to make the holes rather than individually. Monofilament fishing line itself might work but you'll have to test it to see if it has the longevity to do the job.

For the couple cloth backed tambours I made I had several boards going at a time to make the slats. After surfacing and thicknessing the boards to the width I wanted, 3/4" if I recall, I would joint both edges of the boards and then rip them on the table saw. Then back to the jointer for another pair of edges and then saw them off. I did it until the boards were too narrow to safely handle. The jointer and table saw were both kept running at the same time. You end up with slats with 3 sides surfaced and the sawn side was glued to the cloth. You could do the same and clean up the last surface in the thicknesser if capable of handling thin work or a drum sander. For larger production shapers or molders make more sense than routers unless you are using the interlocking bulb joint.

Pete
Thanks Pete,

Am in the workshop now playing around. As an angler, I have lots of braid around. A lot stronger and less stretch than monofilament.

Wiill give your suggestion a go .
 

Mark Karacsonyi

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Lonnie Bird makes a nice bread bin using the Amana tambour set. Its available online for about £150. Its interlocking and the slats are not too thick.
I have made one rollltop desk back in the day and used 'Leatherette' glued down with PVA glue applied to the non leather side, It's held up well and still works. Its probably worth making contoured slats as the white surface of the glued side tends to show if the tambours are simple rectangles.
Wow, this is exactly what I am looking for. I overlooked the YouTube clip, originally as I thought it was garage doors he was making.

I will still try Pete’s suggestion. However I will see if the orders do start to come in.

My wife is constantly having a fit, if I spend on tools.
 

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You could just get a 1/8 or 1/4" wooden beading plane and hinge each one to interlock them if you can't get the bit set. Would take a wee while though
 

recipio

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If I had 15 bread bins to make I think the Amana set would be a good investment.! Whatever system you adopt, it must be able to prevent dirt getting between the slats so the interlocking method is ideal. I note that there is no tenon/shoulder with the Amana set -- the entire 1/2" slat is let into a groove. One problem I encountered with the desk I made was getting the tambour to turn a 90 degree corner - had to widen the groove which is not ideal. Next time I'll see if I can insert a dowel in the ends of the tambour to allow it to run around bends.
 

Droogs

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they don't. tambours are limited to the tightness they can go around by the tickness and width of each slat. There is a formula but I can't remember it off hand and don't have access to my little book of workshop maths.
 

Mark Karacsonyi

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I’ve just bitten the bullet and ordered the Amana bit set. Looks like I will have to take the wife out to dinner to compromise.
 

recipio

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I’ve just bitten the bullet and ordered the Amana bit set. Looks like I will have to take the wife out to dinner to compromise.
Ha Ha. the time to buy it is when you see it ! After a few years you appreciate the tools you have, many of which will no longer be available. 😄
 

Mark Karacsonyi

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Tell me about it.

Luckily in these troubled times I start a new job next Monday.

More money to spend on ‘shiny’, things 🤩
 

Mead Camans

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Good thing about the Amana system is the tambour can flex in both directions. Never seen the practical benefit of that myself beside the novelty value, but the option is there!
 

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Good thing about the Amana system is the tambour can flex in both directions. Never seen the practical benefit of that myself beside the novelty value, but the option is there!
Flexing in more than one direction is useful where the path to be followed has sweeps in opposing directions. A good example is that seen in the classical Edwardian roll top desk. In those examples the ability to flex in both directions was usually accomplished with interlocking flute and bead mouldings on the edge of each stave or slat, plus wire and additional small hardware to keep all the staves locked together - I don't now recall exactly the form of the hardware used in addition to the wire. Slainte.
 
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My dad repaired antiques. I was working for him a little in my early 20s and he had a roll top that curved in two directions that was unlike any other I had seen before or since. There were pieces glued to both sides of the canvas. The back side slats were some thing like /___\ /___\ /___\ with the tops of my little sketch filled in, the canvas being glued to the wider side of the slat. On the show side there was thick veneer glued to the canvas the same width as the slats underneath with their own small bevels. That allowed the tambour to bend both ways without any gaps showing, also showing off the rosewood veneer nicely. The piece came from England so you guys have likely seen them but they aren't seen here much.

Pete
 

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