Picture of Simple Plywood Desk (Desk 1.0)
This is my first instructable, a plan for a simple plywood and 2 x 4 desk that I designed and made several years ago.

The idea was to use a single sheet of hardwood plywood, and some basic hardware to build this desk for between $75 and $100. It could probably be built for less if you changed some of the materials.

Unfortunately I didn't document the build process at all, so I only have pictures from several years after it was built, and some pictures of a much larger version that I built later. I've included pictures of the other desk (a similar design), and the completed desk as it is today.
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Step 1: Planning

Picture of Planning
Planning for this desk is pretty simple. Since the goal is to build it from a single 4' x 8' sheet of plywood, the length is dictated by the available length of the plywood, and the height of the desk.

I laid my desk out on a sheet of graph paper using a 4 squares per inch rule.

Step 2: Planning: Legs

Picture of Planning: Legs
The first step is to decide how high you want the desktop. Standard desktop height seems to be around 28", but I decided to build mine at the same height as a keyboard drawer for ergonomic reasons (~25").

So the height of the legs is measured off of the side of the plywood, and then split in half to form two legs.

Step 3: Planning: Top

Picture of Planning: Top
The next design consideration is how deep you want the desk to be (I chose 30" for mine).

The wood left over from this cut is used to provide a backing panel for the desk to strengthen the design.

Finally, how long should it be.

The simple answer is "whatever is left once the leg portion is removed", but you can always shorten it to fit your needs or space. At most this will be around 72"

Once you have the basic measurements, you can calculate how much support wood you'll need as well.
8Keep1 year ago
Is a back plate necessary for a desk for stability? Is it harder to make it without one?

not only does it add stability but if you make it right, its also great for clean wire management

hdsrob (author)  8Keep1 year ago
I don't know that it's required, but it certainly adds a lot of stability to the desk.

I wouldn't think that leaving it off would be that hard.
did you apply any finish on the wood?
hdsrob (author)  stephanleitz2 years ago
I used Minwax PolyShades (Pecan). It's both stain and polyurethane in one step.

It took about a pint (~500 ml) to get a single coat.

It's OK, but I built another desk later that I stained first, and then sealed with polyurethane, and I like that finish better.
armstk1802 years ago
this is very good idea ,
i will try make it !