Introduction: DIY Plywood Desk With 1 Sheet of Plywood
We all love a good DIY project! And what better project than a simple DIY plywood desk. I don't want to bore you with a super long intro, but to make it short and sweet, this desk was built from just 1 sheet of plywood! We used a handful of tools, but you really could get away with using less.
We have a full set of plans with a cut list and assembly list here: https://www.woodbrew.tv/product/diy-modern-plywood-desk-plans/
If you're interested in the tools that we use you can check out this blog post or our Amazon store!
Materials (affiliate links):
1 3/4" Sheet 4x8 Birch Plywood: https://homedepot.sjv.io/3DjEy
Total Boat Lust Finish: https://bit.ly/2XfCraQ
FastCap Drill Bit: https://amzn.to/2WHQeab
FastCap Powerhead Screws: https://amzn.to/2Wn1zfq
Kreg Pocket Hole Jig: https://amzn.to/3hMffJG
Pocket Hole Screws: https://amzn.to/2O2Fnmu
Edge Banding: https://www.fastcap.com/product/fastedge-peel-and... (Birch)
Flush Cut Trimmers: https://amzn.to/2saXHCp
Edge Trimmer: https://amzn.to/2saXHCp
(Bits&Bits use code "WOODBREW15" for 15% off your order!)
*Astra Coated* Whiteside 2001 Roundover Bit 1/4: https://bit.ly/31KuFsn
*Astra Coated* 420-DNC250 Down Cut 2FL Spiral Bit 1/4: https://bit.ly/31KuFsn
*Astra Coated* Whiteside 2000A Roundover 1/4SH - 1/16 Radius: https://bit.ly/31KuFsn
Step 1: Cut Plywood Down to Length and Width
Starting with a circular saw, we cut down the plywood to the size of the desk top and bottom. This is going to make it easier to manage the rest of the plywood at the table saw, but now we have those pieces done. Feel free to keep going with a circular saw.
Let's talk pieces real quick. We are going to need a desk top and desk bottom, both the same. Then, we will need 6 different size strips, four sizes for the legs, and two sizes for the cubbies inside the desk.
Once all those pieces were cut to width, we moved to the miter saw to cut them to length.
Step 2: Pocket Hole the Desk Dividers
We need pocket holes drilled into all the pieces that will be a part of the cubbies. We did 3 down the length of all of them and only on one side. These will get attached to the underside of the desk top. Here's our pocket hole jig: https://amzn.to/3hMffJG The pocket holes don't need to be perfect, just relatively spaced out.
Step 3: Cut Out Computer Cord Slot
I chose to do a larger recess in the back of the table top to accommodate a larger Furman Power Conditioner Strip. This one to be exact. https://amzn.to/3hPnvIX If you don’t need a hole this big, just resize the opening to your needs.
To knock down the edge we used a 1/4" round-over bit from Bits&Bits. It's such a tiny detail but makes a world of a difference. No cords getting cut up here! You can use the code "WOODBREW15" to get 15% off your order over on the Bit&Bits website: https://bit.ly/31KuFsn These bits are truly the best we've ever used and hardly ever get burned wood due to the Astra coating on the carbide blades. Check them out!
Step 4: Assemble the Legs
Assemble the leg sub-assemblies. For this there are 4 different sizes. Pair up the pieces for the legs and for the cross pieces on the top and bottom. Use pin nails and wood glue to attach the pairs together. There should be a 3/4" gap on each end. You should end up with eight total sub-assemblies (four of each). Use a scrap of your plywood as the 3/4” spacer. This will make the joint perfect because most plywood is slightly under 3/4”. I made one side perfect using the plywood scrap, but then the other side became slightly too long. This was a simple fix. I just cut the board slightly shorter to make each side be the perfect length. Once the glue has dried, use a sander to clean up the edges, or run the legs back through the table saw. We chose the second option and took roughly 1/16” off each side. This makes the legs slightly less wide, but will make up for any inconsistencies there may have been in the plywood parts.
When screwing the legs together to make the full square base, put the screws in from the top and bottom, then they will be hidden.
Step 5: Desk Top Assembly
Attach the tabletop dividers to the top of the table. The good "UP" side should be facing down in this step. Make sure you use the piece that you want as the top of the desk. If you want to cover the plywood edges, now is the time to add edgebanding. All sides of the top panel need edgebanding, and just the front edge of the dividers need edgebanding. **Lay everything out the way you want it and mark all the edges that need edgebanding. This is important, because the divider pieces should have the pocket holes facing inward causing the fronts to be mirrored. This won’t matter if you plan to edgeband the front and back edge, but when only doing the front you have to know which is the true front edge. Attach the all dividers (front and back ones) using 1-1/4" Pocket hole screws. Wood glue is optional in this step. Make sure the pocket holes all face toward the center of the desk. You can use the back dividers to align the middle dividers correctly. The back spacers can be anywhere from the back to the middle or even the front. These just provide some extra support. I chose to put them 4" from the back of the desk. This makes the inside of the desk less deep and less likely for me to lose things in the back of each recess. It also allows me to add a power-strip and manage cables behind the desk. ** Leave the back pieces for last.
Step 6: Apply Finish
NOW, let's put on our finish while everything is still apart. We used the Lust varnish from Total Boat (https://bit.ly/2XfCraQ). We used the high-gloss Lust first to build up the coating, then finished it off with the matte Lust. This stuff is great because you can reapply another coat in an hour and there is no sanding between coats! So worth checking it out! You can use the code "WOODBREW1" to get 15% off your order on the Total Boat website!
Step 7: Attach Desk Bottom
Attach the tabletop bottom to the assembly created in the last step. If you want to cover the plywood edges, now is the time to add edgebanding. All sides of the bottom piece need edgebanding.
Glue is again optional. If you decide to add a wireless charger to the tabletop (we did!), you will want to route the recess in now before attaching the bottom. This is optional, and each charger is a different shape, so follow the general steps within the YouTube video at the top to make this work on your desk. You may also want the charger in a specific location, so take some time to find the best spot for your workflow. Use 1-1/4" screws to attach the bottom to the middle dividers. Be sure to pre-drill these screws to avoid splitting.
Step 8: Attach Legs to the Desk
Attach the legs to the tabletop assembly. Use 2" screws and 3”- 4” screws to attach the legs to the bottom of the desk. The longer screws can go through the bottom and into the dividers. BE SURE TO PRE-DRILL. You can use wood glue, but you won't be able to remove the legs if you do this.
Step 9: DONE
Move this DIY plywood desk into it's new home and decorate it, my favorite part!