Introduction: Adjustable Bike Desk
In this project, we are building an adjustable bike desk for Dylan's bike that is on the trainer. He is training for a half Iron Man and is spending a lot of time on this bike. A lot of the time he is doing long rides, so having a spot to set up his laptop or iPad to knock out some emails or even just watch Netflix would be really nice. A typical bike desk can cost around $200 and we are just using scrap pieces of 3/4" plywood!
Step 1: Cut Materials to Length
The first thing we need to do for this project is cut down the material to a more manageable size. Then, we can make them the final width at the table saw and move them over to the miter saw for the final length. This project really only has 2 size widths and then a big top, so we can rip down a good amount of these strips. After we get the pieces to the final length, we always mark what board is what from the plans, just not to get them confused.
We have a set of plans for this project here if you are interested in building this for you. I know this is kind of specific, but we have them if you want them!
Step 2: Cutting Angles
Many of the boards are getting an angle cut on them, and a lot of the angles are parallel, meaning the long point is going to be on opposite sides of the board. It can get a little difficult to measure these boards, so having an angle finder is really nice. Here is the one we use: https://amzn.to/30qw3Or (affiliate link)
Step 3: Adding a Round Over
A lot of the boards are also getting a round over along the sides, not the edges. We used these guides from Rockler which for some reason we have never used. We are crazy and this makes it so much easier than using a jig saw.
Router Guides: https://amzn.to/2QQWUA8 (affiliate link)
Step 4: Router a Groove in 2 Leg Pieces
With all the pieces cut, it is now time to make a long groove that goes down the length of the side pieces that will be attached to the top. This is where the bolts are going to ride in to make the desk adjustable. Only the 2 pieces that are getting attached to the top are getting these grooves. If you have a router table or a router, we highly recommend using that over anything else. Before we went to the router table, we drilled a hole at the top of our penciled out guide. That way the router bit can start there.
Step 5: Drill Holes in the Other 2 Leg Pieces
On the other 2 pieces that will be attached to the bottom, they need several holes in them for the dowel. We used the drill press, but you could also just use a drill and a forsnter bit. Fast-forwarding a bit, it turns out that you really need 2 bolts in each side, rather than one to help lock everything down. Then you can ditch the dowel completely. This is updated in the plans, so no worries!
Step 6: Cut Out the Top and Add Groove
For the top of the desk, it is just another scrap piece of 3/4" plywood and we routered out a groove for a phone or iPad to stand upright.
Step 7: Assembly
Finally time for assembly. A lot of the double pieces are just getting glue and pin nails, whereas the larger joints will get glue, pin nails, and a few screws.
With the first side of the bottom done, we clamped it up and let it dry while we assemble the other side, just mirrored. We will repeat the same exact process for the sides of the top, which have the grooves in the long pieces.
The two sides of each top and bottom get connected together by stretchers. The bottom, however, will only get a stretcher on the back because we need to leave room for the bike wheel to come under the desk. The top gets screwed into place from underneath through the stretchers.
We ended up adding in a 3/4" piece to the bottom to help stiffen the desk up, we were having a little trouble with it being wobbly, so this definitely helps.
Step 8: Add in Dowels
Here is how we put the dowel into place. The idea is for this to run in that grooved piece so that when you loosen one of the bolts, the top won't spin and flop everywhere. Again, later we added a second bolt and this pretty much becomes useless.
Step 9: Finish
All that's left is spraying on finish! We used the Total Boat Halcyon Clear which we use for every project now. It's amazing! We did end up taking the top and bottom apart to spray the finish on better.
Sprayer: https://amzn.to/36UQ55Z (affiliate link)
Step 10: Add Casters and Knobs
One last touch is we added in some small casters just on the back of the desk, so you just have to lift up on the front and you are able to move it where ever. After we put the top and bottom back together, we used star knobs (affiliate link) so we can easily adjust the desk.