Introduction: Make a Desk From a Kitchen Countertop!

So ever since i finished remodeling my basement, I've wanted to build myself a new desk to fit in the corner of my newly remodeled office. Well after some motivation from a friend and his sweet desk , I decided to bite the bullet and build it.

I'll give you a step by step guide on how to do it and what materials you'll need, even some of the lessons learned from my ordeal.

ericharlan.com

Step 1: Go Shopping

This will cost the same to build as some of the cheaper desks out there and if you need a corner wrapping Desk, this will give you exactly what you want.

First thing you need to do is go shopping. Here was my shopping list.

1. 6' Labrador Granite Right Miter Countertop - 59.00
2. 6' Labrador Granite Left Miter Countertop - 59.00
3. Miter bolt kit -5.95
4. Labrador Granite End Cap Kit - 11.48
5. 8' x 4'x 3/4" Pine Ply wood - 29.00 (worth it dont skimp on the ply wood)
6. Hole saw kit (need at least a 3" saw) - 2.99
7. Jigg saw blades - 4.99
8. Paint left over from painting my basement - 0.00
9. Gorilla Glue left over from remodel - 0.00
10. Metal Brackets handed down from dad when i moved out. - 0.00
11. Flat metal shim from the same dad - 0.00

Step 2: Gather Your Tools

Tools I used.

1. Jigg saw
2. Circular saw
3. Power drill
4. Paint brushes
5. Saw horses
6. Level
7. Common sense
8. Clothes Iron

Step 3: Make Your Leg Templates

Trace out a pattern on some heavy duty paper, cut it out.

Step 4: Cut Your Legs

Lay over your plywood and Cut out your legs. I cut 6, I only needed 2. So lesson learned. My total footage was 5 foot on the left side, 6 foot on the right. So if this is about right for you as well, you'll only need two legs. This is by far the longest step of the process. With the detailed cuts it takes a while so give yourself some time. Maybe it only took long because i did 6 legs instead of 2.

I don't have a picture of this but you need to cut two, 2 inch wide by 22 inches long. This will be the top support for the leg. Then you will need to cut two, 2 inch wide by 24 3/4 inches long back support strips.

STOP. everything i said above with the top and back support strips needs to be rethought if you have base molding running along the floor. As you can see in the picture below, the spine support runs all the way down my leg, if you have molding, your leg will not sit flush against the wall. However high your molding is (mine was 4 inches) accommodate for it and shave off some of the bottom. For a reference you can look down a few steps where im screwing the legs to the wall you can see in that later picture that i trimmed off some of the back spine.

Step 5: Primer and Cut Your Holes

Start painting. I primered two coats.

Cut your holes, I used a 3" whole saw but i should have used a smaller one. This will allow you to pass you wires through the legs.

Step 6: Paint

Paint to match your walls, I painted two coats.

Step 7: Cut Counter to Size

I only needed 5 feet of my 6 foot left side. So i needed to cut a foot from it.

I then cut the left miter countertop down one foot to 5' using a jig saw.

Step 8: Top Holes

Next I cut 3" holes in the top of the countertop both for monitor wires,hdtv, and for two of these belkin 4 port, 3" diameter USB hubs.

Belkin carries two types of these, but i liked this one most because the hub was elevated and there was space to pass wires through the holes, which you'll need to pass up speaker wires, monitor cables etc.

Step 9: Join the Corners

Next move all your things into your area. Put down a few trash bags to protect the carpet from the glue.

Now, Run a large bead of Gorilla Glue (or equally as strong glue) down the mitered joint of the two countertops.

DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN, the under side of the countertop is just MDF and the joint is made of the same, if you over tighten you will break the joint. (mine started to crack).

Step 10: Line Er Up.

Get some things setup that will support your desk top an inch over the height of the legs you cut for support. You will need two people for this because the glue is still wet and the counter will shift, you dont want that or you will have gaps in your joint.

Step 11: Attach Your Legs

Make sure it's level.

Then, find your studs and the best location for support for your legs. Then get to the screwing......

Step 12: Add Brackes for Support

Add your two brackets near the 90 degree joint for support.

Use the metal shims to join once and for all the two joints.

Step 13: Add End Caps

Follow the directions on the end cap kit to put the laminate on the ends to bring it all together.

Step 14: Add Some Shevles

If you want to, you can add some shelves under, and on the legs. I needed some for my UPS and power strips, it was also a great place to hide some wires.

Step 15: Add Some Wire Rails

I ordered (after the fact) some 1U server wire rails to keep all my wires secure and semi hidden under my desk. This option is optional, another way to do it would be to get some 2" diameter pvc pipe, paint it accordingly and attach it under the desk.

Step 16: Sit Back and Enjoy Your New Desk.

No more propping up a pre cut countertop on two file cabinets. This is more sturdy and it gives you exactly what you want. If this is what you want of course.

Enjoy. (i will)

Comments

author
dldeskins (author)2007-11-11

Nice instructable.... We created our similar desk 8 years ago. Our local Lowes store was going out of business and had two sides of a corner for $50. (The didn't match exactly but they were close and nobody notices). The problem with your design is that there is no storage. We used 3 2-drawer filing cabinets, instead of the legs that you have. This gives us storage for our desk and puts the desktop at the right height for our keyboards. Enough desktop for a Mac, a PC and a server... enough space for my wife and i to sit at our respective computers.

author
simplegreen (author)dldeskins2008-06-25

I dont really think of it as a "problem" i designed it the way i needed it, and I didnt need storage. I specifically designed it to not have a bunch of file cabs under it. I thought it looked like crap that way. I dont like slide out keyboards either because again, i wanted to sit in the 90 degree corner of the desk so i could have my arms up and either thing would be straight. If i had a slide out tray, aside from looking tacky and like something from ikea, it would have defeated the whole point. To each their own though.

author
dldeskins (author)simplegreen2008-06-27

Well, I guess you desk is well suited for you. The desk we have allows my wife and I both to sit at the desk at separate computers. The filing cabinets are at the proper keyboard height (no reason for a tray). We have enough room for two desktops, DSL modem, wireless router, one server (under desk) and printer. We have a shelf for each of the monitors. And yes, we need the filing cabinets for storage... so your design would be a big "problem" for me. And yes, there would be / is a problem sitting in the corner of the desk with a file cabinet underneath. That said, my wife and I both have laptops now, so we hardly ever make use of the desk. ;)

author
Jack the Hammer (author)2008-04-14

Hey simplegreen I don't know if your checking this still but thought I'd ask as I've been building almost an exact replica of what you've got, have had it planned for a year, just struggled on what to use for legs, but saw your, only question you didn't cover I'm struggling with is how did you attatch the 2 inch strips to the back and tops of the legs with nails, screws or what? Just not wanting to crack the pine as that stuff was expensive. Thanks hopefully you still check back here

author

hey bud, yeah i screwed them, however i drilled pilot holes in both the strip in the back and the actual leg. Did the same for the top. Remember when you drill pilot holes you only drill half the size of the screw. The real grip comes from the threads and the head of the screw pushing down. so just drill some holes and run the screws down carefully, you should be fine

author
theRIAA (author)2007-07-29

impressive! how sturdy is it? (would you feel safe jumping up and down on it?)

heres mine I made:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/theriaa/406564229/

author
simplegreen (author)theRIAA2007-07-29

i dont think i'd get up on it and jump, but i have a terrible habit of every so often putting my elbows down and putting all of my body weight on my arms so i'd feel safe getting on top of it. My own "eh" about it all is that it is infact MDF laminate counter top, complete with back splash. To me it's a bit well ghetto when thinking of just the materials, but i think i made up for it with the attention to detail and finishing of it. with all the crap on it you cant really tell it's made of of the parts it is. RIAA, your desk is very impressive as well. Our needs and space dictate differences though. I have a more rectangular room where it seems you have a bigger more square room. (i need to kick my wife out of her office, it's much larger). It also seems you are an artist or arcitect or something from all the scissors and pencils and such, i can see where more desk top space would come in handy. I can see from where your desk makes the turn that you have a supporting leg there. Works great for what it seems you use it for, but being as i wanted to sit in the corner i had to have it more floating (hence all the support at the joint. I have another good 6 feet to my other wall and probably another 4 feet when that wall turns the next corner so with the extras I painstakingly made i could certainly extend it, being a programmer though i just need space for a few monitors (which mine does) so i dont think i'll take up all that space. I might use it for a small love seat and some cool shelving. thats a long ass comment to say, i like your desk too :). Btw how do you like staring at that 37 incher? As you can see from my photos i have a 32 on the wall in front of me and i go cross eyed trying to watch it or when i extend my pc desktop to it lol

author
leebryuk (author)simplegreen2007-11-26

MDF is an excellent building resource. Don't knock it. Price per square foot, along with strength...can't beat it. It's also structurally better than solid wood. Almost all (including very expensive) cabinets are built with it since solid wood warps over time. Also, MDF is more environmentally friendly (more efficient use of resources.)

author
theRIAA (author)simplegreen2007-07-29

i thought 60 was cheap for a granite countertop :P yes, my room used to be a garage... "artist or arcitect" <--- hahaha and the TV is fine, its 1080P, my eyes never strain... although I do have to turn my head to look at the other side of the screen... and do something about those damned cables!!

author
simplegreen (author)theRIAA2007-07-29

yeah the wires are a mess my next project is to figure out a better way to stand up my computer

author
dpocius (author)2007-10-07

Looks great! Thanx for the hints-I'm considering something similar, but with a file cabinet of some sort integrated underneath. I ended up with the home office and computer in the living room so it has to look swank, and I haven't found a store-bought item that works quite right for the space. But, your version may be just the ticket for my garage office. I was looking at picking up a surplus cubicle for the long desk space (like yours). It just occurred to me I could make cubicle partitions out of 2X2 lumber and cover them with upholstery fabric remnants, then do the countertop thing on them and on cabinets, and the wall for support, too. It's all a little fuzzy right now... One thing: consider adding an ergonomic adjustable keyboard/mouse shelf underneath where you sit. Basically, all your body parts should be either parallel or perpendicular to the floor to avoid f*cking up your wrist and elbow. A good friend of mine ended up losing her house after going on disability from carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists (well, the rat bastard insurance companies involved in her case had a lot to do with the house part.) Basically, she never worked again. I've felt it sometimes myself, and had to mouse left-handed for a week on occasion to keep the devil at bay.

author
freakytech (author)2007-08-09

I made a similar desk some years ago, but I used Cabinets to set the counter top on and gained storage space to put items into like my printer, CD's and controller. I used one cabinet that had drawers and another that just had a single door that opened to reveal the full interior of the cabinet.

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zupHC (author)2007-07-28

GREAT desk!

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Reffner (author)zupHC2007-07-29

Nice clean looking desk. We'll be moving soon, and I hope to get my own office space so I can do something like this. Good job!