When we were moving into our new unfurnished apartment, we searched for furniture that would be cheap, easy to move, and look excellent with the room. After trolling around craigslist and finding an oblique mishmash of multicolored hand-me-downs, we threw up our hands, rolled up our sleeves, and went to TechShop to craft our own custom furniture.

This is one such piece: a sturdy, powder-coated steel desk that works great for your computer or home office!

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Time Needed: ~3 hours (plus about 30min/day for 2 days for lacquering)

Materials: (Total cost: ~$70)


  • Cold miter saw or horizontal band saw
  • MIG (or TIG) welder plus filler, clamps, accessories, and safety gear
  • Sand blaster
  • Powder coating gun, and a powder oven
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Power drill with 3/16" metal drilling bit
  • A faucet and cup of water
  • Hand grinder

Step 1: Materials Prep: Wood

To get a nice, glossy finish for our wood, we'll be using some high gloss polyurethane to seal our table surface. This takes a couple days to do right, so be sure to start this early.

Start out by using the sandpaper and sanding every surface. After sanding, take some mineral spirits and a rag and wipe off all the sawdust generated from the sanding process. Let the spirits dry for a few minutes.

Now rest the table on some scrap wood or a table and apply a light layer of lacquer with a foam brush to the top face and edges. Try to avoid drips and be consistent; the lacquer should only be on enough so that the wood looks a bit damp.

Wait as directed on the can (about 4 hours).

Now flip the wood over and apply the finish to the other side. Wait overnight for the coating to cure.

The next day, repeat the process - flip the wood over so the original surface is up, apply lacquer; wait, flip, apply more lacquer, let cure for the day.

Onward to the metal!

<p>Thank you for instruction. Thanks to you now I have the perfect desk, where I enjoy to work ...<br></p>
<p>Good pictures!</p>
<p>That's a good looking desk!</p>
<p>Thanks! We were really going for something that's sturdy and really easy to build - but didn't look like it :)</p>
<p>Nice, simple desk. I like it!</p>

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