Introduction: Simple Modern Writing Desk

About: My name is Mitch. I make videos about the things I make and what I learn along the way. I have a Youtube Channel called Made by Mitch. I also love the coffee and the outdoors.

This is a very simple and modern looking writing desk that you can make with just a few tools and a few boards. Every day at some point I grab my laptop and go to work on something and run in to the same problem. I don’t have a dedicated workspace to work. So I decided that I needed a simple writing desk for the bedroom to be able to set at and do a little work. I wanted something that was small, minimal design, and fairly easy to do in a short amount of time that looked very nice. I found some inspiration and then got to work! I wanted this to be a project that anyone would make. Even if you have a minimal amount of tools, you can probably do this project. I will show you what I did for the project.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Step 2: Cut the Boards

For this project, I used dimensional lumber that you could get at you local home center. I used two 2x10x8 for this desk and that is the bulk of the build. The first thing I did was cut all the boards to the size they needed to be. My cut sizes where as follows: (Top) 2- 40” (Sides) 4 -26”. [2 for each side].

Step 3: Glue the Desk Panels Together

After all the boards were cut to size, I had to glue them up to make panels that would be the sizes and top. To do this I used a table saw to trim ¼” off of one side of all of the boards. I did this to cut off the rounded edge of the boards and ensure a straight edge on the boards so I could glue them together without a seam. You do not have to do this if you don’t want to or don’t have a table saw. You could just glue them up.

Next I used a dowel jig that I made, to add dowels to panels that I was gluing together. I first lined up the boards, then I marked each board where the dowel would go. I then lined up the dowel jig with the mark on the board and drilled into the board where the dowel would go. I did this on every board. Then I put all the matching pieces together to ensure I had been accurate with my drilling. Once that was confirmed, I added wood glue to all the pieces, pounded them in place with a wooden mallet, and then used clamps and ratchet straps to put as much pressure on the boards as possible. After doing this I had three solid panels.

Step 4: Prep for Finish

After the panels where glued and dried, I prepared them for assembly and finish. After taking the straps and clamps off, I first used a chisel to get the dried glue squeeze out cleaned up. I then used a hand plane to get some of the high spots in the desk panel out. This is definitely not a necessary step, but it did make the desk more flat and I wanted mine to be as flat as possible. Next I sanded each piece with a random orbital sander from 80 to 220 grit. Something I have learned over the past couple of my projects is that sanding matters a lot. It is easy to overlook and get lazy with it, but the better job you do with the sanding process, the more professional looking your final piece will be. When I start with 80 grit, I make sure and get every little place that has an imperfection and smooth it over. Then when I jump to the other grits, it is just like polishing the piece.

Step 5: Apply Finish

Next I added the finish to the desk. I wanted to keep natural look of the wood as much as I could so I used Minwax White Stain. I have used this before but not in this way. With a foam brush, I brushed the stain on thick and then about 5 seconds later, I wiped the access off with a rag. This left a white tint to the wood that was barely noticeable which is what I wanted. It looks like the wood is just a very light pine. Once the stain dried, I added several coats of spray shellac letting it dry very well between each coat.

Step 6: Assemble the Desk

After the boards were finished, I could assemble the desk. I used pocket holes to do this. I first added four pockets holes on the top of each of the side panels using a pocket hole jig. This is very simple to use. You just measure where you want the hole to be, clamp the board in the jig, and then run your drill bit through the jig to get your pocket hole. After the pocket holes were drilled, I could attach the side panels to the top of the desk. I made a small jig out of 1x4’s to act as a guide for assembling the desk. Sometimes when driving screw with pocket holes, the board wants to move if you don’t have enough pressure on it while you are driving. So the jig I made was designed to prevent this. It was hard to hold and install the screws so the jig made it very easy work. I installed the pocket hole screws on each side panel and it was very strong. Much stronger that I anticipated. I went ahead and installed a cross brace between the side panels, to re-enforce and keep the sides from pulling apart. I used a piece of 1x4 and installed it with pocket holes as well. After assembling the desk, it was complete.

Step 7: Video

Make sure you check out the video for this project to see all the steps I took in greater detail. This project may be my favorite project to date. It was very simple and was pretty quick also. If you liked this project, you might enjoy some of my other projects videos! Be sure to check them out and also follow me around the web.

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