In the spirit of the season, if anyone else would like to take a journey down the tambour box path, I'll help them along by donating some CRV files and observations.
First, you'll definitely want to get the April 2011 issue of Woodworker's Journal since it has a lot of essential information about the project including building a jig for making the tambour slats. Link to it is here:http://www.woodworkersjournal.com/Main/ ... 1_409.aspx
Second, I modified the author's project in several ways:
1. I pocketed the sides of the box to receive the ends of the upper and lower shelves instead of using biscuits. I have a biscuit cutter, but the pockets made a lot more sense to me.
2. I'm using materials I can find at my local home improvement store, not re-sawn 3/8", 5/8", etc. wood. My sides are 3/4" oak, shelves and drawer front are 1/2" (nominal 7/16" or .44) oak, and drawer sides, drawer back and slats are 1/4" oak. Exception is the drawer bottom which is 1/8" MDF (which I just happen to have a large supply of).
3. I don't do dovetails or fancy fence routing, so my drawers are simpler and my drawer pull is metal.
4. Most importantly, I spent a lot of time and effort to conclude that the author's project is slightly flawed.
The flaw in the design (in my opinion) lies in the lower part of the tambour track. That is where the most friction is happening when it slides. It occurs due to the process of making the tambour by gluing cloth to one side of the tightly-packed slats. This imparts a natural "arch" to it once it's constructed and released from the jig.
This is fine when the tambour is up in the curved part of the track, but not so great when it slides into the recess above the lower shelf (which is perfectly straight). Opening the drawer moves the 'arch' of the tambour into the straight part of the track and the process of forcing the arch flat adds a lot of resistance.
My solution is to make the straight part of the track wider than the curved part of the track so that the arched tambour has more room and can slide into it without a fight.
My first attempt at the project - which followed the author's template exactly - resulted in a box that you had to hold down with one hand in order to open or close it with the other. This was unacceptable. I wanted it to glide smoothly enough that you didn't have to hold it down in order to operate the drawer/tambour. After making the adjustments to the track, mine operates smoothly in a one-handed (or is that "off-handed") manner .
Anyway, I had a lot of fun learning VCarve Pro with this project earlier this year. Hope someone else tackles it and has some fun.
Greg St. George