Big Oak Desk From Kitchen Worktops




Hack a couple of Ikea 'Numerar' kitchen worktops into a 3 meter long oak desk.

Step 1: Get & Hack Wood

Buy the kitchen worktops: 1 x 246 cm for the 3 legs, 3 x 186 cm for the two tops and for the supporting beams.

Get to somebody in your family or to a friend or to a really friendly woodshop owner and have them cut the wood to the right lengths. To hard a job to do this with your regular DIY woodsaw ;)

See picture for lengths that I used, but feel free to alter where needed.

Step 2: Get Construction Materials

Second part of the materials is really the trickiest part: find the right construction materials. I wanted to see as little as possible holes and construction parts. Therefore I searched for someting similar to what Ikea uses to hold together there closets and stuff only then strong enough to hold large heavy blocks of oak wood together; like Ikea bolts on steroids.

I found a workshop which makes these construction materials themselves from hardened steel. They had a nice black finish which would look good with the oak wood. A bit tricky to use because measurements needed to be perfect to within about 1 mm. Not on the picture but also used were three connector bolts (no screwing end, but two ends with a hole in it) to screw together the tops (see next step).

I'm sure anybody can find something similar to use and if you can't and don't really bother that much about any visual construction parts: just put a 4 x 4 cm length of oak wood left over from the cutting in the corners to screw together the legs, the tops and the supporting beams.

Step 3: Connect the Two Tops

First step in assembly was to connect the tops. I used three special bolts to achieve this. They're inside both of the tops and on one side they are locked by a nut with a central screw-in piece, this piece slots into the bolt, locking it in place on that end. Then on the other side you put in another bolt, and screw in the centre piece. Only this time, if your measurements are spot on, it will screw in on the tilted side of the hole in the bolt, creating a pulling force that pulls together the two tops.

To be honoust, this was pretty hard and it took me a while to get it right! In the end it was worth the time because this is the part you look at most of the times...

Step 4: Prepare Legs & Supporting Beams

This is the step where you will get fed up ;) Don't worry, take a beer, relax during the night. You'll be done tomorrow!

Next step is to prepare the legs and the supporting beams. First the two outer legs, then the supporting beams and then the central leg.

This order seems illogical but actually is necessary to get accurate measurement. Since the sawing of the worktops has already occured there is no other option than to use the connection of the supporting beams with the central leg to get rid of any 'faulty' lengths of the working tops.
In my case it ended up beeing about two millimeters of missing length in the supporting beams. Hardly noticable when the whole thing is put together.

As you can see in the picture I used 'wooden connectors' (really don't have any clue as to what they are called in English!) to be able to position the legs and the supporting beams in the right place while taking measurements for the hardened steel bolts to construct & keep together the whole thing.

The hardened bolts are screwed into another bolt (the grey ones in the earlier picture) that is inserted into the bottom of the working tops. The hardened bolts than slot into a hole in the legs and into the nut that is already in the leg as you can see (that little black round thingie). Then you tighten the little centre piece in the nut and the leg and the top are tightend together really good. This desk might even outlive me; it's that tight!

Optional: I had to make it possible for the desk to be levelled. My floor is really old and therefor far from level. So I took some little feet from another Ikea closet, drilled holes in the bottom of the three legs (diameter 14 mm, 10 mm deep). Then I drilled a smaller, deeper hole (10 mm wide, 80 mm deep). In the wide part of the holes I put M8 nuts with a little bit of glue. Now you have very simple levelling feet to your desk. If you don't have those feet present, you can buy them for about 20-25 eurocents a piece at Ikea.

Don't underestimate the time it needs to do this. In total this took me about 1 1/2 days to get all the work done in this step alone. It takes a lot of measuring, drilling, fitting and sometimes correcting little mistakes to get it to fit properly.

Step 5: Putting It All Together

Now that all the fabricating is finished and all parts are done, and pretested for fitting it's time to call in your (girl)friend, neighbour or some other friend to come pitch in and help.

First you get all the stuff to the place where you want it to be. Then you connect the tops (part 1) and you connect the legs and the supporting beams to eachother (part 2).

The only thing left to do is to check the position of the holes in the hardened steel bolts (to see if they point in the right direction and if all the centre pieces in the nuts are screwed out so that the bolts can slot into them.

You need at least three people to lift the legs and supporting beams (part 2 that is) because of it's length (3 meters). When lifted walk over to the tops and gently lower part 2 over part 1. Usually this will take a little bit of fiddling to get all the bolts and wooden connectors to find there spot.

Then tighten all the bolts to make it into one desk!

Step 6: Finish Him!

Turn the whole thing upside down or upside up if you like and presto: there's your new oak desk!

Sit down, have another beer like the night before to congratulate yourself. Cheers!



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    11 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Do you know what the workshop called these connectors or where I could purchase some?


    8 years ago on Step 2

    Do you know what the workshop called these connectors or where I could purchase some?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    i love it! looks like something from an expensive design store! Two questions: I was surprised to read in the ikea instructions that the counter top requires screwed in installation to prevent warping plus regular oil treatment for the first two months. Did you oil treat your desk as instructed? Or is it fine as-is for normal desk use i.e. not much exposure to water... Although i was wondering about the heat of a hot laptop.. Anywhoo, thanks for any follow-up!

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Dear martamarta,

    thanxz! I've been away for a couple of weeks, so that accounts for my delayed reply to you, my apologies...

    I haven't oil treated the wood and it still looks great. The part just in front of my keyboard is only slightly darker than the rest, but it still looks pretty much new even today. We've had the desk for more than two years now.

    We have no issue with warping. Do take into account though that the top consists of two different parts and as always when working with wood you have to accept that every part has its own character. Meaning: the two parts have a slightly different 'curve' and the join in the middle is in some areas off by a millimeter or two. But this was the same when I just constructed it and still is today. No further warping whatsoever...

    Heat of a laptop has no effect of any kind, 4 cm of solid oak wood probably is not affected by this, based on two years of heavy laptop use on the desk.

    Good luck if you're gonna try it, if you have other questions don't hesitate.



    9 years ago on Step 4

    The 'wooden connectors' would be called dowels i expect :-)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent idea! (Meanwhile, I'm trying to turn a pretty granite kitchen countertop into a wrap-around computer desk "along the same theme.")

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! Good luck with your own project! Pretty hard stuff to work with that granite...


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thnxz! Thankfully it is pretty solid. I kept away from glueing the whole thing together, which would have been stronger for sure, because I live on the third floor with very narrow and twisting stairs all the way up. I needed to be able to disassemble the whole thing to take it with me when I will move. By using the hardened steel construction material it still is very solid...


    10 years ago on Introduction

    How much did the materials cost? I'm thinking of building my own desk, and it would sure be nice to have a solid wood work surface.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You can look up the cost of the worktops. Over here the worktops cost €129 for the three 186cm tops and €169 for the 249cm top: €556 in total for the wood. Then the construction material is relatively cheap if you have all the tools you need (like a drill and that kind of stuff): about €50. So I would say the costs are around €600-€650 for materials and then the cost of your own time you have to put in ;)