Step 5: Calculate and Cut the Cantilever Supports

I knew the desk surface was 24" deep, and that I needed space around the edge to clamp things on.  So, I set the maximum support length at 20".  To keep things simple, I decided to make the supports perfect right triangles (90-45-45), so the section screwed onto the wall had to be 20" as well.  But, that measure is only a guide.

The section (1) that runs along the underside is actually 18.5", due to the thickness (about 1.5") of the horizontal support already mounted to the wall.  The section mounted directly to the wall (2) is only 16.5", due to the width of the 2x4 (about 3.5").  And of course the angled section (3) can be calculated from there.  I chose a length of 21.5", a length that placed the angled section about 1" from the ends of the wall and desk sections.

A fourth piece (4) supports one end of the section that runs along the underside of the desk, and provides a convenient place to drive in more screws.  It also joins the horizontal support to the wall section, adding additional redundancy.

I should note that being super-accurate here really isn't necessary.  There will be no complex joinery here, and no piece relies on any other piece for a perfect fit.  So don't beat yourself up about an eighth of an inch here or there.

So, how many supports do you need?  Make sure there's one on each end of the desk for starters.  In my case, one end of the desk was supported by the horizontal support screwed onto the wall, so one support was placed as close to the other end as the studs would allow.  Then just place the supports 32" apart from there.  Again, this will depend on how long the desk is.  In total, I needed six sets of supports for desk top that is 8 feet on one side and seven on the other.

A miter saw is all you need to cut the 2x4 lumber into sections.  Pieces 1, 2, and 4 were cut with a 90 degree cut on one end, and a 45 degree bevel on the other.  The bevel looks nice for one thing, but also prevents bruised knees.  Piece 3 was cut with a bevel on both ends, since it will be screwed on at an angle to the others.  Cut one set to test for fit, then cut the rest.
<p>Got a lot of good ideas from this excellent Instructable. Thanks!</p>
Building this this weekend. Two actually. Wrapping this all around my office, which is split by a window.
Thank you! Used your piece on the triangle support under two IKEA Ekbacken Countertops with Alex drawer units (1 on each side).
<p>My husband made me this desk and it turned out great! So strong and really stable. I am so happy! It was easy and such a great idea!</p>
<p>I'm thinking about using the same concept to make a folding/removable desk. Maybe have the brackets on hinges and then set the desktop in at need.</p>
<p>I really enjoyed following this Instructable! Though I apologise for the potato phone. This was my first DIY off this site and it's got me excited for more :D</p>
<p>That is very well done! I like how neatly you arrange all your routers and cable under the table.</p>
This is a spectacular Instructable. Following your guide, I made a desk that wraps around 3 walls of my office. I've had it for 6 months and can vouch for it's strength. It supports my home business as well as my full weight whenever I need to climb on top of it. <br> <br>I personally used 3/4-1&quot; thick MDF board for the table top since it is incredibly cheap. It doesn't exactly paint well, so I ended up covering it with wood pattern contact paper (my inexpensive go-to solution for such situations). <br> <br>If I could change one thing, I would use the skinny side of the 2x4 for the cantilever. I store a lot of things under my desk, and the wide width prevents me from fully utilizing the space under there. I don't know if it would negatively affect the strength though.
Yep, you could have used the skinny side without any trouble. Either way, it turned out great.
<p>Turning the skinny side of the 2x4 (the 1.5&quot; side) upwards, will make the cantilever much stronger. Probably 27 times stronger or so. The only reasons to use them flat-side up is for aesthetics or to prevent table sagging or to save space in one dimension. </p><p>If it works for you then that is the natural way to do it.</p>
Just finished. Took me somewhere between 2.5 and 3 hours. Solid. Thanks
Time well spent. You're welcome!
<p>Please tell me what size did you cut the 4x8 plywood?</p>
One of the sheets is 30 inches deep, the other 18 inches or thereabouts. But remember this design scales, if you want a three foot deep desk then just make the supports bigger.
<br> I absolutely loved your desk design so I took it and ran with it!
Cool, well done.
Just used this to build a work bench. Worked out awesome! If I can figure how to upload pic I will. Thanks!
just couldn't do it from my phone. BAM!
Looks great!
weird uploader.... anyhow, for anyone interested, I used same &quot;triangle measurements&quot; as OP, and my joists happend to be 24 OC. After I completed it, I got up on it and jumped up and down and it stayed put. I'm ~200 lbs.
Study renovation over; Result:
Wow, nice work. Those stripes of light wood look really slick. <br>
Great idea!!! I did the same thing a few years ago out of welded steel and it's awesome. The amount of leg room makes you realize how much you give up with the traditional desk setup. Great instructable!
Get Job, but would pre-painting all the parts be quicker? <br> <br>
two things come to mind. First, it seemed like he was assembling it all from scratch as he went, Paint may have been an afterthought. Secondly I wouldnt trust myself to NOT gouge or scrape paint off when I was assembling it, so that may have been their reasoning too.
Great looking desk, very similar to something I just installed in m yloft/office area. <br>One major difference in mine, and I think its an improvement, I was able to use a Kreg pocket hole jig to make recessed screw holes and only a single support brace from the desk bottom to the wall. I also did my angled supports on the edge rather than on the flat. <br>I was also able to attach the left and right top parts with the pocket hole jib, thus needing no brackets and a wicked strong corner joint. <br>
Love it. Would be a challenge to do in our house, which is almost 100 years old now. Nothing in the structure is straight, plumb, or level!
It could be easier than you think. Each support is individually adjusted for level, so as long as you can drive everything into studs you should be able to make it work.
Nice! Super-strength tables are awesome.
Hmm, I've been needing a good work bench, as all I have right now is one of those plastic flooding tables.... but since my work area is in the living room (actually I think it's supposed to be the dining room) It needs to be relatively nice looking, but since I also do metal work and such, I need something stable... this fits the bill one those two points... but unless I can convince my aunt, I don't think she would let me have it permanent... Also one quick question.... what is the approximate cost per support and per square ft for the top?
To convince the aunt, tell her that when it comes time to take the desk down, you'll install a wainscot and chair rail to cover the unsightly holes. It ought to be at about the right height for that, and it would be appropriate in a dining room. And in the mean time, if the room ever needs to be used for something other than your projects, simply attach a velcro-mounted banquet table skirt to the front edge, throw a table runner on top, and your workbench becomes a buffet, with the added feature of being able to hide your tools, materials, works in progress, etc. behind the skirt.
Yeah, the permanent thing could be a deal breaker if she doesn't want you driving screws into her walls. But on the other hand, she'd have a nice sturdy worksurface for herself once you've moved out. <br> <br>Cost per support is probably about $5 (one 2x4, some screws and brackets), cost per square foot of desk space averages to about $1.60 a square foot - but if you want a desk deeper than 16 inches you pretty much have to buy a whole sheet of decent plywood ($55). <br> <br>If you tossed in a few sturdy door hinges you could make the table fold flat against the wall...
Thanks for the info, but for now I should really focus on trying to find a (new) job...<br>but, I might see what I can do to win her over... and maybe see about splitting the costs.... well, anyways thanks for the help!<br><br>Good Luck and Happy Making,<br>~Electfire
Good luck finding a job! I happen to be in the same situation, myself...
OK, I know I'm going to get called a pedant for asking this, but... <br>Surely the very definition of a cantilever is that it is not braced?
Nope, that's an excellent point! One I considered myself as well. But since the edge is not supported by the floor, and lacking a better name for the design, I decided to call it a cantilever.
It's a little misleading as I only clicked the instructable to see how you managed a cantilever desk. It's a Truss desk if you need a better name
Thanks! I'll see if I can update the name. The title might have to stay the same but I'll try to fix the rest of the text.
Hi, I later realised my comment may have sounded rather negative to what is both an excellent instructable and finished desk. Further thought it is maybe better described by stayed desk? Anyway it's just a name! thanks for posting
Thanks! And no worries. I'll do more research and figure out what to call it.
I love it -it looks awesome. Did it take a long time to build it?
Just a weekend. Less, if you don't paint it.

About This Instructable




Bio: By day, Jeff is the Jack of All Robots at Clearpath Robotics. By night, a mad scientist / hacker / artist / industrial designer wannabe!
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