Double Desker




About: I build, I teach, I learn. Happiest when covered in saw dust, sweat and machine grease. Visit for more projects and info.

As space in offices decreases and work hours get longer and longer there is an urgent need for new and creative uses of space. Some offices are adopting open floor plans and allowing employees to work where ever they like. Others are simply decreasing desk sizes. At Instructables HQ we decided to experiment with expanding vertically.

The Double Desker stacks a standing desk on top of a standard sitting desk reducing the necessary space for two employees by 50%. As an added bonus Double Desker also incorporates a new type of work position, the lying down desk.

The desk is made from welded steel tube and walnut plywood and weighs approximately a kajillion pounds.

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Step 1: Design

The Double Desker is designed to maximize efficiency of space without creating uncomfortable working conditions for the users. The standing desk extends over top of the normal height desk but not so much that it throws shade on the bottom bunk dweller. The space below the platform could be used for storage, but we have our priorities straight so it is used as a nap spot.

Before starting fabrication I built a small scale wooden model and a 3D CAD model in Inventor to work out dimensions and generate a cut list.

Step 2: Cut

Using the measurements generated by inventor cut the 1.25 inch square steel tube to length with a cold saw and label them with a sharpie.

Step 3: Weld

Don your welding mask and prepare for an epic journey into TIG land. The welding of the frame pieces took days.

The best advice I can offer in this step is to reference the drawing often and make sure your joints are coming together at the correct angle. Keeping everything square over the entire length and width of the desk is a challenge.

Step 4: End Caps

Disassembly is key in a metal object of this scale, so the Double Desker is designed to be assembled with bolts. T nuts are welded to the inside of the end caps before welding them onto the ends of the cross pieces.

Step 5: Grind

I hope you really like loud noises, because this is going to take a while. It's time to make friends with your angle grinder. Grinding the welds took almost as long as the welding it's self.

Step 6: Angles

1/2 inch angle iron keeps the wood surfaces in place for the desk tops, shelves, standing platform and bed inclosure. When the bottom of the angle is flush with the bottom of the tube the top of 3/4 inch plywood lies flush with the top of the tube.

It is a good idea to assemble the frame before welding on the angles, because not all of the cross pieces need angles on the same sides. Clamp the angle pieces in place with vice grips and weld it on with short beads spaced about 8 inches apart down the length of the tube. Angles should be welded around the perimeter of any area where a plywood surface will lie.

Grind the welds down to a radius less than a quarter inch. If welds protrude too far the plywood won't fit correctly and the surfaces will be uneven.

Step 7: Wood Panels

Both desk surfaces, as well as the standing platform, bed inclosure and shelves are clad in walnut plywood. The panels rest on the angles welded on in the last step. Each panel is cut on the table saw and the bottom edges are rounded over with a router. The bottom of the standing platform is reinforced with a 'Z' of plywood not unlike a classic barn door.

Step 8: Assemble Frame

The frame is assembled using 1/4 20 bolts through holes in the sides and into the weld nuts in the cross pieces. The red dots in the image above represent the locations for the bolts that tie the frame together.

Step 9: Assemble Wood

The best method I found for keeping the wood panels in place was to use metal offset clips. These clips screw directly into the wood and the 1/8 inch offset fits over the angle iron perfectly. Each of the open steel tube ends is also plugged with a piece of walnut plywood.

Step 10: The Napparatus

One of the key features of the Double Desker is a comfortable place to rest. In a modern work environment the classic 9:00 to 5:00 job is less and less common and people are working longer and longer hours and sleeping at work is becoming more common.

The Napparatus shouldn't be thought of just as a place to sleep though. It can also function as an alternative work space.

Step 11: Get to Work!

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    56 Discussions

    Harriett Elizabeth

    3 years ago

    Brilliant, will use methodolgy to build play house in garden. Thank you for a very inspiring instructable????

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea. In the model railroad world there is layout concept that is called a mushroom layout. You have two decks of trains; one above the other set up just like this desk. That said, I think this is a great idea for a mushroom desk.

    Joe <><

    1 reply
    Poppy Ann

    4 years ago on Introduction

    this would be a great idea for a workshop keeping the electrical/electronic work on the top and the wood/metal work below to cut down on dust getting into the electronics. double the working area and only increasing the base by 30% for those of us that like to do everything ourselves.

    Regards Poppy Ann.

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    While I certainly like this project overall, I really want to just mention that "Napparatus" is now my favorite sleep-related word ever.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Glad you like the word. I can't really take credit though. It was named by my friend Robb.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    "The double decker desk! So everyone can work together and be buddies!"
    ~ Emmett Brickowski at his new office job at Master Builders.

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    so, if she removes a panel, she has a great crotch shot view and all he has to do is lean over to look down her blouse.

    3 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I would also hate to be the person sitting in the lower desk, fearful of things like pens, staplers, xacto knives falling from above.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, another nice project!

    Don't mind me 'cause I like to analyze a system from a material stress point of view.

    Just from a visual point of view one can determine that that some components are over designed and others are under designed. In trusses there are members in compression and others in tension. There can even be members with no loading. Members in tension do not have to be concerned with buckling. Those in compression need to be analyzed from a buckling standpoint. Using 1-1/4 tubing throughout is needless. For example, a 1/8 X 1 cross section for many of the truss members would suffice. Although one must be aware of the hard points, places where the truss members join. The flat stock could be oriented so that weld grinding would not be necessary.

    One problem, I just realized, is that my proposal could reduce the torsional resistance of the trusses. Enclosed members, tubes both round and square, offer excellent torsional qualities.

    I also saw where trusses needed to be used from a loading point of view.

    Many welds do not need to be 100%. A good example is where skip welding was utilized.

    If weld beads are "good", nice looking, and not need to be flush, they can be an attribute from an aesthetic point of view and need not be ground.

    Nice job though. Trusses can be quite pleasing to the eye. ; )

    I'm sorry for the critique. Hindsight is always 20-20. ; )

    From an aesthetic point of view, this project is beautiful!

    Don't you just hate people like me?