Five years ago I wanted a desk. When I was a kid my mother made a desk out of an interior door and two filing cabinets. I already had one filing cabinet about 29 inches tall, so I bought another the same height and tried the desk out.
It was ugly, tended to slide by itself, I hit my hip on the corners occasionally, and I heard disconcerting cracks and creaks when I put my 20" CRT in the middle where I wanted it. So I thought again.
My specifications were, in order of importance:
1) Elegant - I liked desks that wrapped around you
2) Easy to Make - Minimize tools and time
3) Cheap - Ideally made out of one piece of plywood.
4) Movable - I 've moved too many times to set myself up with a cumbersome desk.
I like corner desks as a rule, so I drew up a design with 6' legs from a corner, with a couple of curves. 6' on a side was a good size not just aesthetically, but because with judicious cutting I could cut all the structural pieces out of one piece of good, double-sided plywood. In my book, elegance of design is something you enjoy long after you've forgotten the monetary cost.
This project took an morning for the woodwork, plus the rest of the weekend for staining and poly coats.
Caveat maker: I have no in-progress photos of this project as I made it 5 years ago. I've done my best to provide as clear instructions and drawings as I can. If you are unclear about any step, leave me a comment and I'll try to explain better.
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Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools
Two (2) short filing cabinets of equal height
One (1) 4'x8' piece of 3/4" double-faced plywood. Just make sure both sides are pleasing to the eye, since you will have to flip one half over to marry it with the other.
One or two (1-2) table/trunk/whateveryoucallem-latches. You know the kind---two pieces, one with a loop and a level thing to grab onto the other side. (see picture below)
Four pieces of 1/2" radius quarter round trim, 18" long.
Metal strapping or corner brace for extra support in the center. I used a corner brace because I had one handy, but a straight bracket would make more sense.
Paint or stain plus polyurethane for finishing
~12 feet of real wood edging with heat-sensitive glue on back.
Optional: circular saw and long straightedge
Optional: Clothes Iron or possibly curling iron
Sandpaper of varied grits
Paint brush/drop cloth