Intro: Black Pipe Standing Desk
I wanted a standing desk for my home office, and didn't need one that adjusts. Knowing the height I needed, I decided to purchase the necessary pieces so I could customize it.
Here are the final measurements of the frame. You can change the pipe you buy, based on the top and height you want. Height is 41", depth is 27 3/8", and width is 53 1/2".
I only used 1" diameter black steal pipe.
For the frame, you will need the following supplies:
- 8 - Floor Flanges
- 6 - T-fittings
- 4 - Coupling
- 6 - 12" Pipes
- 4 - 24" Pipes
- 4 - 1" Pipes
- 2 - 9" Pipes
- 1 - 4' Pipe
Additional Items I Used:
- Black Hammered Paint & 2" Chip Brush
- Stain & Natural Hair Paintbrush
- Polyurethane & Natural Hair Paintbrush
- Electric sander with 220 grit sand paper
- Cleaning solution for the pipes (I used acetone)
- 60" by 30" Butcher block workbench top, 1.75" thick
- 16 - 1" Screws to secure desk
- Wood clamps
- Magnetic level
NOTE: I used all pre-cut pieces to save on material costs. Sites like Amazon and Grainger have all the sizes you need, and in 1" increments.
Step 1: Clean the Pipes
Black steel pipes will come with some grease or lubricant on them. It can make a real mess if not removed, and could cause issues if you intend to paint the pipes. I cleaned all the pipes with a bucket of soapy water, then wiped them down with some old rags and acetone to ensure I got off any debris. Set the pipes in a warm location to fully dry before you begin assembly.
Step 2: Build Horizontal Support
It was trial and error to find the right order to assemble the pieces. Do it wrong, and you'll be twisting your whole desk to get two pieces together. Start by assembling the horizontal supports.
For this you will need your 6 T-fittings, 2 of the 12" pipes, 2 of the 9" pipes, and your 4' pipe. No need to ensure everything is perfectly aligned, as that will come later.
Simply screw the pieces together as shown in the image.
WARNING: Before you continue, you may want to finish any assembly in the room where your desk will be located. Depending on your doors, halls, and the desk surface you select, you might have trouble getting the completed frame inside after this point.
Step 3: Assemble Legs
Using the remaining 4 of your 12" pipes, assemble the lower half of your legs. Attach a floor flange to the bottom of each leg.
Using the 4 24" pipes, and couplings, assemble the upper half of your legs.
Using the 4 1" pipes, and remaining 4 floor flanges, attach them to the top of each leg.
This completes the assembly of your frame!
Step 4: Check Your Work
Since the pipes won't all screw in to the same depth, you will need to check each pipe to ensure all similar pieces are screwed in to the same depth. No having all legs symmetrical in length and distance apart will result in your desk surface being crooked.
I used a tape measure to check all of the corresponding lengths, then used some brute strength to tighten as needed.
I wanted each piece to be exact, so my desk wouldn't have any stability issues.
Once you have all the pipes adjusted to the same length, use a level to make sure each leg is straight and level. I used a 12" magnetic level for this.
NOTE: One of my pipes was 2 degrees off of center, and I chose to accept it like that. If you have time, and if it is too far off center, you can always return the piece for a new one.
Step 5: Paint the Frame
Planning to paint your frame? If not, skip this part.
I used Rust-Oleum's Black Hammered paint, and did not use the spray can version. For my application, I painted it on. I highly recommend you do NOT use a cheap sponge brush with this paint. Because of how thick the paint is, sponge brushes get weighed down and become unusable very quickly. Get a 2" chip brush, as shown.
I selected this paint because it does not have an over-glossy look when dried, has a slight shine, creates a cool "industrial" texture, but is smooth to the touch.
Because of how thick the paint is, I only needed one coat, with some touch up in a couple of the exposed pipe threads.
Step 6: Stain Butcher Block
If you're using a finished surface, you can skip this step.
I chose a 1 3/4" thick piece of ash butcher block for the top of my desk. It measured 60" wide by 30" deep, to give me a large work surface. I didn't want any support structure under my desk surface, so having this hard wood, and of this thickness, meant less structure I had to build.
The stain I chose is Minwax Classic Grey, and their Clear Satin polyurethane.
This was the process I followed:
1st - Sanded the butcher block with 220 grit sand paper and electric sander
2nd - Applied a coat of stain to the bottom, letting it dry overnight before staining the top and remaining sides
3rd - Applied one coat of polyurethane, and allowed to dry a full 8 hours, repeat for each side
4th - Light hand sanding with 220 grit sand paper
5th - Applied second coat of polyurethane, and allowed to dry a full 8 hours, repeat for each side
6th - Light hand sanding with 220 grit sand paper to complete the finish
NOTE: I chose to stain the bottom since anyone sitting in a chair would be able to see the bottom of this tall desk, and I didn't want it to look sloppy. Also, I allowed longer drying times for the stain and polyurethane due to high humidity where we live.
Step 7: Attaching the Desk Surface
Lay your desk surface on the floor and set the frame, upside down, on top. This will let you mark and, if needed, pre-drill any holes for screws/bolts.
Once you align two of the floor flanges so they are equal distance from both sides at the back, use clamps to secure them in place. You can then verify the other two flanges are in the correct locations.
You may need to twist some of the pipes to get everything aligned properly. If you do, use a level to check that the legs are straight.
After you've made your marks and pre-drilled any holes, turn everything right side up and place the desk surface on your frame.
Because of the thickness of my surface, I used 1" wood screws (total of 16).
Step 8: Completed!
Enjoy your new standing desk!