Dovetail Desk (Steel Into Wood)





Introduction: Dovetail Desk (Steel Into Wood)

About: We are Mike and Lauren. We make videos on YouTube about money, travel, homesteading, and DIY.

I made this desk out of scrap wood from my lumber yard and 1 inch square steel tube from home depot. I used a homemade circular saw jig to cut faux metal dovetails into the wood to join the steel.

Step 1: Solid Top

You could start with any top you'd like. I happen to find all of these cypress scraps from my lumber yard for $10 dollars. I planed, jointed, cut, and glued them together into one solid top. 36" x 22" x 2"

Step 2: Rabbet the Edge

I used the table saw to carefully cut a rabbet all the way around my top so it would slip into the metal frame.

Step 3: Cutting the Dovetails

I made a quick jig for the circular saw to cut the dovetails on my top. I made them 2 inches long with 15 degree bevels. I used the guide on the circular saw to run up against plywood 'rails' which gave a perfectly uniform shape.

Step 4: Building the Frame

I welded a frame together with a cheap MIG welder. It's 30 inches tall. My first test fit of the top into the frame went well. I left about 1/4" wiggle room which was needed since my frame was slightly out of square.

Step 5: Cut the Metal Inserts

I used a 14" metal chop saw to cut each of the 10 metal inserts. I used the grinder to get them close to a perfect fit, then the belt sander for fine tuning. Instead of welding in each dovetail, I used 5 minute epoxy. I did this because my welding isn't pretty, and it probably would have burnt the wood.

Step 6: Tung Oil Finish

I used two coats of tung oil to finish the top and spray polyurethane to seal the steel. The finished product turned out great! The only thing I wished I did was reveal all 2 inches of the top on the front side so it looked a little thicker.



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    8 Discussions

    with regards the oil could you use linseed oil???

    Wow, impressive without welding - I was getting excited about welding when I saw this, but the 5-minute epoxy is great! How's it holding up? End grain aside, I think the grain showing through the metal parts makes it even more surprising. Great job.

    beautiful! You need to wear safety equipment!!! Pants, sleeves, gloves when welding. You must live in a magical place where you get service from a hospital!

    1 reply

    nice table. The only criticism I have it that dovetail joints are made in end grain in wood. Something to think about next time.


    3 years ago

    That is awesome! I totally want one too use as a counter in my new sewing studio. I love the softness of wood against the hardness of metal. It really looks great.

    very cool! I've always liked the combination of wood and steel. your faux dovetails are very clever.

    Saw the video. Very cool guys. I love the contrast between the metal and wood. Looked a bit humid outside lol