DIY Standing Desk (in Prep for Treadmill Desk)

Introduction: DIY Standing Desk (in Prep for Treadmill Desk)

I recently heard a report on "the splendid table" about Dr. Levine at the Mayo Clinic and his treadmill desks:

Right away the next day I made stands for my two non-standing desks, so that I could use them as treadmill-desks if needed.

Materials needed:
2 x 4 (8 feet or so)
2 x 1/2" (8 feet)
wood screws

Tools needed:
saw (I like the japanese pulling saws)
screwdriver (or screwdriver drill)
measuring tape
drill and small bit (for pre-drilling screws)

Step 1: Measure Your Desk Legs and Find Desired Height

For the first step, measure the distance between desk legs of the desk you plan to raise up in the air.

- width (how far between legs)
- depth (front to back distance between legs)
- height (amount you plan to lift your desk)

Height might depend on whether you are going to use a treadmill, bike trainer, etc. Take all of this into consideration. Calculate the amount you need to raise the desk to reach the desired height.

Step 2: Cut 2x4 Legs and Platform

The basic idea is to use the 2x4s for support, and to lay them on their side to form a wider platform on top of the desk stand, so you have some margin of error.

The 2 x 1/2" boards will act as cross-bracing. If done properly, there will be no wiggle at all.

Cut 4 2x4 pieces to act as legs. Cut the legs 1.5" shorter than the amount you will raise the desk, since you will add more height by laying 2x4s on their side to form the platform.

Cut 2 2x4 pieces to form the platform. Use the "depth" measurement you took from the desk legs.

Step 3: Cross-bracing

The purpose of cross-bracing is to prevent "wiggle".

Basically, triangles don't wiggle, so you are creating triangles by making diagonals.

I suggest bracing the two sides first (you are making an "x" between the two side legs, then the other two.

Lay the two side legs on the floor in position, as if they form the side of the stand. Place a 2x1/2" board so that it is joining the top of one leg to the bottom of the other. Once it seems in place, you may want to pre-drill the hole, since these thin boards may split. Then screw the brace onto the 2x4.
You will have extra sticking out. You can just saw that off. Or, if you are worried more about looks, measure the brace, then saw it, then screw it into place.

Flip the two side legs over, with the first brace attached. Now you can attach the other brace to form the X. Notice that you have gotten rid of most of the wiggle, except for an interesting motion where the top and bottom can come together or apart, since our X isn't fixed in the middle. That's ok, we will handle this when we attach the legs to the "platform".

Now, brace the other two side-legs the same way.

Finally, use basically the same method to brace the two back legs.
We don't want bracing between the front legs, since that will get in the way of our feet.

Make sure you think about leaving room so the cross-bracing won't hit any molding along the wall at the bottom. If you need to, move the bracing up so it won't hit anything.

Step 4: Adding the "platform"

Attach the two "platform" pieces by laying these 2x4 sections on their sides and screwing them to the new stand. Make sure the legs are vertical and not skewed forward or back before doing this, since it will fix the legs in place.

(It might be interesting to have the whole stand skewed forward to keep the legs out of the way - hmm, interesting idea!)

We add a tie-in brace under the "platform" directly attaching the right and left side, to prevent side-to-side skew.

Step 5: Safety Concerns - Fixing the Desk to the Platform

We affix the desk to the stand by tying them together, either:
attaching them with boards screwed somehow into the desk and stand,
attaching them both directly to the wall,
or screwing up into the desk legs through the platform.

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    10 years ago on Step 5

    One more guy here telling you that fastening the desk to the riser should not be an afterthought, or optional.
    Furniture is not generally held together strictly by gravity.


    13 years ago on Step 5


    I am always in favor of constructive comments.  Do whatever you want, but if reading this gives you ideas, I have succeeded.

    If your interest is just in being negative, I haven't!   
    I did mention attaching/affixing the desk, which I do notice you overlooked.

    I think the reason women were mentioning this is that they were thinking about children bumping into it.   I'm not particularly worried about this, and it hasn't fallen.

    Good luck with your plans!  


    13 years ago on Step 5

    Looking at your desk further, looks like the desk legs are sitting on 4 casters. Mark the position of these casters on the stand, drill 4 holes about 1/4-1/2 deep in the stand, and then the casters will fit snugly and securely into the stand.


    13 years ago on Step 5

    "several people (for some reason, all women)
    have mentioned that they were concerned about the desk or stand falling over"

    Well, I'm a guy, and I think your stand as-is should not be used. It's not a question of if the desk will fall, but when.  I'd favor putting 1x1 rails  on the top of the stand so the desk can not slide back and forth, but the desk can still be easily removed.  In earthquake country, the desk should be attached to the stand, and the whole assembly fastened to the wall.   After all, you have several hundred dollars of equipment setting on the desktop. Why risk a tumble when another half-hour or less work will secure this.

    BTW, new research has just been released stating how bad sitting all day is, even for those who spend hours in the gym.  I  think I'll build one of these.