Introduction: Plyboo California Desk

About: Gabrielle Patin reporting for duty.

Recently I was gifted a beautiful sheet of Plyboo (Thank you Arthur and Evan!) and also just moved into a very empty room. To fill this new space, I decided to use the plyboo to make a new desk.

After brainstorming a few different shapes, I decided that California seemed to be quite the right shape for a desk and so I set out to create California.

Materials I used:

3/4 inch, 4 x 8 sheat of Plyboo.
Walnut and Cherry for the legs
Waitco Danish Oil

Tools used:

Adobe Illustrator
Orbital Sander
Drill press
Disc Sander
Hand drill
Vertical Band Saw

Step 1: Cutting the Plyboo

Cutting out California on the Water jet

To cut out California on the water jet, I found an image of the state's border on google and used the make and expand feature(Illustrator) to create vector lines. You can do this in Illustrator by going to:

Object > Image Trace > Make and Expand.

I also used this trace to mock up the desk in Autodesk Inventor. You can also do this in Autodesk Fusion which is free for Enthusiasts!

Next, I set up my Cut path in Omax Layout, exported it to Omax Make, clamped the plyboo to the bed of the waterjet and cut out the desktop.


I was pretty satisfied with the quality of the cut, on the plyboo, from the Waterjet. There were a few very small chipsc on the bottom edge. Also, due to the water and abrasive, small slivers seemed to be coming off of the faces of the plyboo. This could be avoided by hand cutting out the image or using a shop bot.

However, I took care of these small slivers in the sanding step.

Step 2: Sanding


I used an orbital sander to sand the top and bottom of the California. I started at 220 and went up to 1000 grit sand discs. I rounded off the edges with the orbital sander as well. And hand sanded the tight internal geometry.

Finally, I used a tac cloth to remove the sand dust.

Step 3: Finishing


I used Watco Danish Oil to finish the surfaces. The plyboo was absorbing a ton of this stuff. I ended up leaving a bunch of oil on the top surface for too long and after I wiped it clean, the plyboo bled the oil for a couple weeks. It was pretty bad. I would suggest finishing with a polyacrylic or if you insist on using a Danish Oil on Plyboo, wipe off in 5 minutes, even though they say to leave on for 30 minutes...

Step 4: The Legs

Building the Legs

First, I used wood glue to glue together two planks of wood, in order to cut out the right shape for the legs. 

I used the chop saw and table saw to cut out the legs to size. Then, I used the planer and joiner on them. Next I drew my desired taper on two sides of each leg. Using the band-saw I cut out the taper. I used a table router to curve the sharp corners of the legs. Finally, I went over each leg with the Orbital Sander and finished the legs with danish oil.

Really happy with how they turned out.

I also made 10 little pucks using the band-saw and the Disc sander, to cover up the screw holes.

This video Instructable helped out a ton.

Step 5: Assembling

Putting it together. 

I counter sunk two holes in the side of each leg and then used wood screws to assemble the five legs to the table. 

After bringing the table home, I noticed it had a little too much movement. I took an older dresser that a room mate was getting rid of and took out the bottom two drawers and all the rails, leaving only the top two small drawers. I placed that below the desk and allowed the desk to sit on it giving it some more stability and drawers for storage.