Penrose Tile Desk

This page describes how I constructed my computer desk counter top patterned with penrose tiled veneers.

Penrose tiles were discovered by Roger Penrose in 1974. Penrose tiles have the property in that they tile aperiodicly, meaning a pattern never repeats exactly, but still covers the plane. There are many interesting websites discussing penrose tiles and they're properties, but for further information a first stop might be wikipedia.

Determining the Pattern

After contemplating numerous penrose tiles patterns upon which I would base my counter top, I decided on a patteren generated by the program "Quasi Periodic Tilings" written by . F.C. Mijhoff. I used the settings [Vector Number = 5, Grid Phases = 1] to generate the pattern.

Routing the Pattern
I used a CNC router to cutout the veneer tiles. These had to be extremelly accurate, otherwise, a small error or miscalculation would misalign the entire pattern, even though they might appear aligned locally.

I found that, at most, I could route out 3 pieces at a time. I used many types of veneer, including

  • Sapelle
  • Dutch Elm
  • Bird's Eye Maple
  • Plain Sliced Maple
  • Cherry
  • Alder
  • Lacewood
  • Walnut
After routing, the pieces needed to be slightly sanded to remove any wood strands as the router did not leave a clean cut. The sanding was kept to a minimum to insure that each piece retained its dimentions.

The pieces were laid out and taped together on top of a piece of black melamine.

The entire pattern was then trimmed with a veneer saw and a border of curly maple was applied.

Final Product