I got tired of seeing all of your typical desks out there. They were all rectangular, never quite fit right, and not right for me. I decided to break down and build my own desk. Keep in mind this won't save you much money, so if you're looking to save money this might not be the solution for you (unless you have large amounts of 3/4" Steel Pipe and Iron fittings laying around your house.
Let's get started.
4 x 24" Steel Threaded Pipe (3/4" Diameter)
5 x 18" Steel Threaded Pipe (3/4" Diameter) * Adjust for height of Desk
2 x 6" Steel Threaded Pipe (3/4" Diameter)
3 x 2" Steel Threaded Pipe (3/4" Diameter)
2 x 1" Steel Threaded Pipe (3/4" Diameter)
7 x Tee Fittings (to fit 3/4" Pipe)
5 x 4" Flange (to fit 3/4" Pipe)
4 x End Caps (to fit 3/4" Pipe)
1 x Sheet of 3/4" Red Oak Plywood (get a good piece, free of as many defects and with a good grain)
1 x Pkg Red Oak Veneer (3/4")
Stain / Clear Coat
Table Saw (If you don't have one, have the lumber yard cut the Plywood to 60" x 30" or 60" x 36" depending on how deep you want your desk, mine is 36" deep).
Step 1: Assembling the Supports
This part can be a bit tough to get down. You will need to assemble the legs completely before you start assembling the rest. The Steel and Iron can be a bit slippery but fit snug.
You will need 2 legs from top down:
- 6" Steel Pipe
- 18" Steel Pipe
You will need 2 more legs from top down:
- 2" Steel Pipe
- 1" Steel Pipe
- 18" Steel Pipe
Finally the Cross Member:
- 24" Steel Pipe
- 24" Steel Pipe
Coming off of the top of the cross member along the back will be a 2" steel Pipe and a Flange.
The first picture is of the first legs described with the rest of the framework mostly assembled in the second picture.
Step 2: Cutting the Desk
The introduction to this Instructable contains approximate dimensions to measure onto your surface. Make sure that you draw these on lightly or be prepared to gently sand off the extra. You could also draw onto the bottom surface. My preference was to eyeball where I would need to draw and place painters tape down. This also helped keep the plywood from splintering as I cut it.
Once drawn you will want to very carefully use your jigsaw and follow your lines to cut out the shape of your desk.
Now that you have a cut out desk surface as seen in the photos above you will want to sand down the edges to ensure a smooth surface to bond the veneer strip to. Be very gentle when using the palm sander and don't stay on one spot very long. Just smooth it out enough that there are no ridges or unnatural bumps.
To apply the veneer you will need an iron. If you're using your good iron for your shirts you will want to put a layer of aluminum foil over the heating element to protect it from the glue on the veneer. Put your iron on the lowest setting and let it warm (away from the wood). Once warm pick a spot, usually along the back of the desk and start to lay the strip down along the edge with the glue side towards the desk. Apply the hot iron gently until the glue melts. Once it has melted move the iron slowly down the veneer gently holding it with your other hand so that you can properly align it. The glue only takes a short period of time to start to set, keeping the veneer stuck firmly to the edge of the desk.
Continue moving around the edge of the desk paying attention to the curved corners as these are tough to get around but fortunately the edging is thin enough that the iron helps soften it to make the curve. Continue this all the way around the desk until you arrive back where you started. The trick now is to not get the glue hot and adhere it to the final spot until you have fut the excess off. I would recommend a sharp set of sheers to cut this excess off. Mark where you need to cut with a pencil and cut the strip. Apply the end of the strip with the iron like you have the rest.
Once the glue sets (I would wait a couple hours) you will want to make sure that the edges are sanded so that there is a smooth transition between the plywood and veneer (again, don't sand much as it's not very thick).
Step 3: Stain the Desk
You will want to make sure you clean the surface very very very well with a tack cloth and either canned air or a blower. Make sure there are as few particulates in the air as possible as well. Pick the stain and color you are going for. I used a walnut finish for mine. I also applied 3 coats, but make sure to follow the instructions on the can of whatever stain you choose for best results. Same goes for the clear coat. I went with a satin because I did not want a shiny gloss finish.
Step 4: Assembly and Placement
The fun part is finally here. Your desk will be ready to go. You will want to ensure that you lay the desk surface down on a soft surface so that the top surface is down. Center the framework that you built in step 1 and attach with 3/4" tapered screws.
Once attached it's time to move it into the room and start setting up your glorious battlestation.
The pipes provide plenty of support for the monitors and are positioned to give a minimalist look while providing plenty of support. You can also use the pipes for cable management and wire ties. I have some other ideas for how to hide those cables but have not done them yet. When I do I will update this instructable.
If you like what you saw or have any questions feel free to post them and I will get back to you as soon as possible!
Thanks for checking it out!