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.