Introduction: How to Build a Modern Industrial Desk

About: Husband to a great wife, father to my baby girl, and child of the one true king. 9-5er during the day and woodworker the rest of the time. Follow along as I offer tips, tricks, and woodworking plans. I star…

Want to make the ultimate desk that blends the best of modern industrial design with functionality? Check out how to build this desk that packs a ton of customizable storage into a stylish workspace.

I've teamed up with my friends at Kreg to sponsor this project and bring you the FREE PLANS!!!

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Step 1: Build the Base Cabinets

To start things off, I first cut all of the 3/4" plywood parts to frame out the base cabinets using my ACS and table saw.

Between the top of these cabinets and the desktop, I'm using steel tube as spacers. These locate in some 2" diameter holes that are 1/8" deep. I make these holes using a forstner bit in the drill press.

I then add pocket holes to all of the parts as noted in the plans and assemble the cabinet frames using parallel clamps and pocket hole screws.

Step 2: Custom Cabinet Organization

I customized these cabinets to fit specific things I use in my office such as my CPU, Drobo (external RAID), drawing tablet, printer, hanging file storage, and more! This step may not be a perfect fit for everyone, but I hope it inspires you to think about ways you can customize the desk!

In the right side cabinet, I have a larger door that opens up a space for my CPU and computer accessories. I used 1/2" plywood to build some cubbies and dividers in the extra space.

Step 3: Cut Metal Spacers

To cut the steel tube into spacers, I used a cermet blade in my miter saw. Since my saw doesn't have a great clamp for holding round stock, I used some heavy duty clamps and blocks to make sure the stock was held securely before cutting.

Once all of the pieces were cut and any burs were filed off, I painted them with Rust-Oleum paint to match the hardware.

Step 4: How to Make a Desktop

To build the desktop, I ran the lumber through several machines starting with the jointer. This establishes one flat surface and an edge that is perpendicular to the first surface that is flattened.

I then cut the opposite side of the boards parallel to the jointed edge on the table saw. At this point, I glue up the top in two sections. After the glue has cured, I run each panel through the planer until they are to their final thickness. Now I'm ready to glue up the two desktop halves.

After the glue has cured, I glue on the front and side pieces that bring the thickness of the desktop to a full 2". The video illustrates this process well!

Step 5: How to Build Drawer Boxes

For this project, I used soft close undermount drawer slides, which require the drawer boxes to be built from 1/2" material. I cut all of the components to size per my plans, drill pocket holes, and then assemble each drawer box using a pair of parallel clamps.

Step 6: Install Hinges and Drawer Slides

In the build video, I did this a little out of sequence because I was wanting to start painting as soon as possible. Ideally, I like to drill for the Euro hinges, test fit the door, and install the drawer slides all before finishing. I prefer this route so that if there is any rework that needs to happen, I can do it before dealing with a "finished" project.

The undermount drawer slides are very easy to install in this cabinet. They simply rest against the stretchers, bottom, or shelf where needed and are set back 7/8" from the front of each cabinet. Two screws are all that is needed to hold each one in place!

Step 7: Paint & Finish

I used milk paint and a high performance top coat by General Finishes for this build. While it can be applied with a foam brush, I prefer using my Apollo Power 4VS to do the job. (You can catch an unboxing video on that here!)

As you see, I've taped off the inside of the cabinet as I want to leave that unfinished for this project.

Step 8: Final Assembly

To wrap up this desk, I start the assembly process by pressing the steel spacers into the top of each cabinet base.

I then secure the cabinet bases to one another with a stretcher toward the back of each cabinet using pocket hole screws.

With the desk's base complete, I secure the top to the base with screws through each of the spacers as shown below!

The last thing to do is center the drawer front and secure it to the drawer box with #6x1" screws.

Step 9: Get the Plans

This project is built with plywood and rough lumber from plans I have available. Grab these to take out the dimensional guess work and get your project done quick!

As always, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments. And until next time, have fun making something!

This project is sponsored by my good friends at Kreg!

Kreg provided me with product and/or monetary compensation as a sponsor of this build. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the sponsor. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.