I prefer to stand while working, and have built several standing and treadmill desks. While they were functional, my previous standing desks have really been hacks, using whatever scrap and random hardware I had at hand. Once functionally finished, I never aesthetically finished them, and simply starting working on them. I recently had the need to built a new standing desk, and took it as an opportunity to learn from my previous versions, build from some very nice walnut hardwood, and to properly finish it.
Step 1: Design
With access to a nice shop for building and assembling and little necessity to hand write, the desk with my computer has changed from a work surface to a surface to hold my keyboard and a surface to collect junk. With this in mind, I designed my desk to minimize the actual desk surface, hoping to keep the accumulation of junk in check. It's really more of a small shelf with a keyboard tray than a desk. It's just deep enough to hold a laptop, and the other dimensions are generally based on the Golden Rectangle.
Step 2: Dimension Wood
I started with a few pieces of walnut from MacBeath Hardwood. I choose walnut for its hardness and color, and to match the aesthetics of the room. First, I dimensioned the wood by:
- making a flat reference surface with the jointer
- making another flat surface 90 degrees to the first surface with the jointer
- planing the wood to a consistent thickness with the planer
- ripping the wood on the table saw to the appropriate width
- cross cutting the wood on the miter saw to the appropriate length
Step 3: Cut Holes for Wires
I wanted to feed the power, USB, and display cables through the desk to keep the cables tidy. To do this, I used a hole saw to cut holes just big enough for the connectors to pass through.
Step 4: Cut Holes for Biscuits
With the exception of the wall-mounting hardware, I didn't want any exposed hardware, so opted to use biscuits.
Step 5: Glue Together
With the biscuit holes cut, I inserted the biscuits, glued everything together, and clamped it overnight.
Step 6: Test Finishes
On a scrap piece of walnut, I tested seven different finishes. Ultimately, I preferred the Minwax Polycrylic.
Step 7: Sand Smooth
After the glue dried, I sanded the desk smooth. After sanding, I vacuumed up the sawdust, wiped it with a damp cloth, and dried it with compressed air.
Step 8: Finish Surface
I applied the polycrylic with a brush and let it dry overnight. I then repeated the sanding and application of polycrylic steps for a total of three coats.
Step 9: Mount Keyboard Tray
Once the surface was finished, I mounted the keyboard tray, a Kensington 60044. The tray's bracket was too long, so I cut it to match.
Step 10: Mount on Wall
To mount the desk to my wall, I first mounted one side at the proper height with a screw into the studs. Then, I leveled it and installed more screws.
Step 11: Add Keyboard Tray and Peripherals
I finished the desk by installing the keyboard tray.