Intro: 2 Sheets of Plywood = DESK
I used 2 4'x8'x3/4" sheets of plywood (and some other stuff) to make a large 6 drawer desk with lights and outlets.
I really liked the idea of having a large workspace. I am also a fan of contemporary and minimalistic furniture. However, this style tends to be rather expensive if you are looking at anything of decent quality. After a bit of brainstorming, I came up with this plan.
You don't need to be a master craftsman or even have that many tools to make this. I am a self taught woodworker and I am pleased with the outcome. Just take your time and think it all out!!!
You will need:
2 4x8 sheets of plywood (I used the cheap stuff from from the hardware store)
about 28ft of 1x3
2 sheets of 2x4x1/8in particle board
4x8 1/2" MDF
6 24in. drawer slides
2 extension cords
2 remodel boxes
LED light strips
Linoleum flooring for writing surface
Step 1: Dimensions
Determine the dimensions of the of the desk you want. You can really make this as large as you want.
I decided to make mine 5ft by 2.5ft.
Each set of drawers are 17.5in. wide and 2.5ft. deep with 2ft long drawers.
Step 2: Drawer Construction
I recommend making your drawers first. Make a 1/8" grove about 3/16" above the bottom of the board along the entire length of your 1x3 board. Make sure to make this grove about 3/8" deep. From there, cut to the appropriate sizes you want your drawer to be. In my case, this was 13.75" for the width and 2' long. Remember to plan enough of a gap between the drawer and the cabinet for the slides! Once you have your pieces and 1/8" particle board cut to size slide everything into place, clamp and screw together. As you can see in my pictures, the bottom drawer is a bit taller. This is where the MDF comes in. Do the same thing as above for these drawers just with taller sides.
For a more in-depth look on how to build drawers Google "how to build a drawer." There are many methods and techniques. Use whichever you think is best and works with the tools you have to build it.
Step 3: Building the Cabinets
Cut the sides. For this part I recommend using your prettiest section of plywood. This is a part that will be very visible in the final product and you don't want a huge knot in the middle of it. I Cut 4 pieces that are 2.5' long and 2'4" tall. 2 for each set of drawers. Be sure to use a blade that has many teeth so that you get a smooth, clean cut (don't learn the hard way and end up throwing away your precious wood). This is a good height for many desk chairs to easily slide under but be sure to make sure your desk chair is lower that the height of these pieces.
From there, you can cut 16 pieces of plywood that are 16.25"(or whatever you width you determined your cabinet to be -1.5") by 3.5". As you can see in the pictures above, 3 of these pieces will join the top 2 sides, 3 for the bottom and 2 for the back. By using these smaller pieces you will not waste wood and make your desk unnecessary heavy. Use a pocket drill jig and clamps to assemble.
Next, screw in your drawer slides and slide in your drawers.
Again, there are many tutorials on Google that show how to do this.
Step 4: Adding Drawer Handles
For each drawer cut a 1"x3" rectangle into a 3"x16.25" wide piece of plywood. These will act as your drawer pulls. This way the entire face of the cabinets can be flush and flat. I again used the pocket screw jig to put in place. I recommend doing this first and then measuring the exact dimensions of your drawer faces. You want these faces to be very precise so the gaps all line up.
Step 5: Drawer Faces
Again you will want to use your best sections of plywood here. make your gap margins 1/8". I made a few shims of the appropriate width to hold everything in place while I assembled it. I clamped everything in place with the drawer in the cabinet and then screwed it to the drawer from the back side.
Step 6: Build the Top
Cut a 2.5' by 5' piece of plywood to fit over the top of both cabinets. Next lay a sheet of linoleum flooring over the top. Do not glue it down (you will see why in last step). It will stay in place and not slide around without glue. I know this part sounds a little weird but it actually makes a great writing surface. You can usually find some cut off pieces for cheap at flooring stores.
Cut 2 holes in top left and right corners for the remodel boxes. Once in place add the electrical components. I just cut the ends off of 2 extension cords and wired in outlets. There are many tutorials online. Sorry I didn't take pictures of this part. I also added in a switch for my LED lights that are described in the next paragraph.
Next build the stand thing or whatever you want to call it. I had just enough plywood left over to make it. Notice how the 4 vertical pieces line up with the cabinet sides. Again use the pocket screw jig to make this and then screw it from the bottom of the top. Also, use linoleum on this part too. I used LED light strips from IKEA to light the desktop. I can also change the color B-). I just used 2 part epoxy to attach them to the top but any method that works is fine really. I also rewired them so they are powered by the remodel box and turned on and off with the switch.
Step 7: Screw Top Into Place and Enjoy!
Since I used a linoleum top I just screwed it in from the top. Do you see why you don't want to glue the linoleum now?