(Note: This might seem to be a remarkably simple idea to do an Instructable on, but it isn't something just anyone might think to do. I love the principle of creating something you need out of something you have that is serving an unnecessary purpose.)
I've been needing a new desk for a while now, mainly for hand-drafting, but also for computer use. When I had the extra money, I couldn't find a decent one that was flat, uninterrupted by grooves, and/or not covered with vinyl and batting and under $300. Hell, who'd have thought finding a straight, level piece of wood with supports for a reasonable price could be so difficult?
Enter HGTV. While watching one program in particular (basically about cheap ways to makeover a room) I made note of a particular project. A woman had an extra dresser, but needed a desk...they promptly removed the drawers, knocked out the guts, and it worked perfectly for her home office.
The very next day I noticed a neighbor throwing out a perfectly good chest of drawers. With the utmost skill of a trained urban forager, I first made sure that they were really getting rid of it, then snatched it up before anyone else could get to it.
The first (and until now, only) Instructable that I made, I didn't realize I would be posting anything on, so I had to backtrack and make 3D diagrams to illustrate the process. Having promised myself that all subsequent projects would be documented extensively, I can now present the following simple Instructable which results in an elegant, if not perfect, outcome.
Step 1: What I Began With
The dresser as I originally found it. Here I got lucky; in the HGTV show, they had a lattice-work criss-cross of wood to separate and support the drawers; to remove any of it, you had to remove all of it.
As you will see, all I had to take out were the tracks for the drawers.
Step 2: Decisions, Decisions
Originally I was going to remove both sets of drawers. I then got to thinking...why? If I did that, I'd also have to remove the center support and, while that wouldn't really affect the structure, it would be an extra step that was unnecessary. Plus, you can never have too much drawer-space and these would be a much needed addition.
Here it is after removing all of the drawers. Notice the decorative piece of wood along the bottom; this would prove to be a problem as I had no saw to work with; I had a single saw blade. Bear in mind that I was trying to make this piece of furniture with zero investment beside my time, hard work, and freely flowing blood.
Step 3: Sawing for a Long, Long Time....
I needed to cut the decorative piece in half. I could have removed the whole thing with a screwdriver but for two reasons:
1. I liked the look of it; no reason to remove it completely.
2. I thought that it would lend a little more stability to the side with the (heavy) drawers in it.
I decided to cut it off at an angle. The space that would be taken up by my chair left precious little room and I didn't want to cut my feet against a sharpened, wooden edge every time I got up (my free-flowing blood being reserved for the construction project, not the aftermath). If I had had the handle for my saw blade, this would have come out a lot cleaner, not to mention straighter.
I've also removed the tracks from one side so far.
Step 4: The Completed Desk
And this is the finished project. Perfect height, ample storage room, and a stylish, classic look, all for zero dollars.
As you can see, I replaced the original knobs for the top drawer with a couple I had leftover from a previous project. Unfortunately I still don't have anything to exchange the other handles for, so here they sit; perhaps I'll paint them someday or, god willing, replace them with something better.
As always, comments welcome....