Dovetail Desk (Steel Into Wood)

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About: We are Mike and Lauren. We make videos on YouTube about money, travel, homesteading, and DIY.

Intro: Dovetail Desk (Steel Into Wood)

I made this desk out of scrap wood from my lumber yard and 1 inch square steel tube from home depot. I used a homemade circular saw jig to cut faux metal dovetails into the wood to join the steel.

Step 1: Solid Top

You could start with any top you'd like. I happen to find all of these cypress scraps from my lumber yard for $10 dollars. I planed, jointed, cut, and glued them together into one solid top. 36" x 22" x 2"

Step 2: Rabbet the Edge

I used the table saw to carefully cut a rabbet all the way around my top so it would slip into the metal frame.

Step 3: Cutting the Dovetails

I made a quick jig for the circular saw to cut the dovetails on my top. I made them 2 inches long with 15 degree bevels. I used the guide on the circular saw to run up against plywood 'rails' which gave a perfectly uniform shape.

Step 4: Building the Frame

I welded a frame together with a cheap MIG welder. It's 30 inches tall. My first test fit of the top into the frame went well. I left about 1/4" wiggle room which was needed since my frame was slightly out of square.

Step 5: Cut the Metal Inserts

I used a 14" metal chop saw to cut each of the 10 metal inserts. I used the grinder to get them close to a perfect fit, then the belt sander for fine tuning. Instead of welding in each dovetail, I used 5 minute epoxy. I did this because my welding isn't pretty, and it probably would have burnt the wood.

Step 6: Tung Oil Finish

I used two coats of tung oil to finish the top and spray polyurethane to seal the steel. The finished product turned out great! The only thing I wished I did was reveal all 2 inches of the top on the front side so it looked a little thicker.

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    8 Discussions

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    TylerL11

    Question 8 months ago on Step 6

    with regards the oil could you use linseed oil???

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    jeanniel1

    3 years ago

    Wow, impressive without welding - I was getting excited about welding when I saw this, but the 5-minute epoxy is great! How's it holding up? End grain aside, I think the grain showing through the metal parts makes it even more surprising. Great job.

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    Renard_Bleu

    3 years ago on Introduction

    beautiful! You need to wear safety equipment!!! Pants, sleeves, gloves when welding. You must live in a magical place where you get service from a hospital!

    1 reply
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    Lorenzojose

    3 years ago on Introduction

    nice table. The only criticism I have it that dovetail joints are made in end grain in wood. Something to think about next time.

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    ali626

    3 years ago

    That is awesome! I totally want one too use as a counter in my new sewing studio. I love the softness of wood against the hardness of metal. It really looks great.

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    rguerrero79

    3 years ago

    very cool! I've always liked the combination of wood and steel. your faux dovetails are very clever.

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    CurtosNoirDesign

    3 years ago

    Saw the video. Very cool guys. I love the contrast between the metal and wood. Looked a bit humid outside lol