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Fixing a Rolltop Desk Tambour

Repairing a Rolltop DeskMy rolltop's tambour would not open all the way. It was like it was jammed from being able to be pushed up all the way to the top, in the totally open position. This meant the drawers were locked. Fortunately, not all of the drawers were shut.

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These instructions will enable you to get your tambour all the way open and unlock the remaining drawers, provided you have the same scenario as I did.

  1. Remove any drawer, one on both sides. For my drawers there is a small piece of plastic that is shoved through a slot. It is bent over to make it too large to fit through the slot. One is located on each side of the track.

    To release it I had to simply unbend the piece of plastic and lift the drawer vertically thus allowing the plastic piece to slide back through the slot.

  2. Once the drawer is removed, take a flashlight and look toward the back of the opening where the drawer had once been housed. Now you can see the locking mechanism behind the drawers.

    In my desk, it comprises a vertical wooden shaft with cut-outs to engage the locking hook on the back of each drawer.

  3. Take a long stick or something and put it in the cut-out and lift.

  4. As it is lifted, open the other drawers.

  5. Repeat this step on the top drawer on each side to unlock all the drawers.

In my particular case, there is a plastic tube that fits in a hole on the underneath side of the desktop. This plastic tube is the mechanism that moves up and down as the tambour is lifted and lowered. This plastic tube is open at one end and has a flat rectangle at the other end. The open end fits in a hole and a flat rectangle is the part that actually moves the pivoting wooden lift.

The rectangle piece got caught on some wood and would not move. This prevented the tambour from completely opening. I simply took a long tool, reached in through opening left by the removed drawer and unjammed it. The tambour was freed up to work properly!

In order to keep the drawers from locking again if the tambour gets jammed, I removed all the drawers and unscrewed the metal hooks. These hooks are actually what is inserted into the wooden shafts cutouts to lock them in place. They are located the back of the drawer and easy to remove with a screwdriver.

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April 10, 20170 found this helpful

Tambour will not open all the way, so all drawers are locked.What then?

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April 22, 20190 found this helpful

I have a roll top desk that was just given to me in three or four pieces so me and my boyfriend are trying to put it back together but you dont know how it goes together to spring loaded pins on the back well not really pins pieces of wood that we dont know what it locks not lock something but we dont know what I need to find directions or blueprints for putting one back together where can I find movie I have a roll top desk that was just given to me in three or four pieces so me and my boyfriend are trying to put it back together but you dont know how it goes together bases to spring loaded pins on the back wall not really pins pieces of wood that we dont know what it locks not lock something but we dont know what I need to find directions or blueprints for putting one back together where can I find these

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August 16, 20210 found this helpful

I am trying to refurbish my grandmothers roll top desk. The track that the tambour slides up and down on (where the side ends of the tambour meet the actual desk) have broken. Im not sure how to explain it other than the track part the the tambour lays inside of has a top and bottom that the end of the tambour lays between, the outermost track is busted off.

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As if someone pulled out on the tambour when sliding it open or shut and broke the wood.

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