How to Make a Desk That Fits Two Computers for $45

How I use a 15" hollow core door to make a desk.
This desk is long and skinny it would also work well for a sofa table, a sideboard, or craft table.
"I would like to add that we have since added a File cabinet in to the middle, this is not only great for the storage but it dose give the desk more stability so it doesn't shake when one of us pushes away from the desk."

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Step 1: Supplies Needed

Supplies needed:
1 - Hollow core door I used a 15 " wide by 80 " long door you could use one as wide as 18"
4 - Balusters (stair spindles) I used 24" long ones
1- 2 X 4 ( you only need a small amount of this maybe a quarter so you can by or scrounge a smaller length)
8 - Screws 2 & 1/2 " long
4 - Leg plate kits (called a straight top plate)
4 - Double ended screws (one end threaded for wood) make sure they fit your plate kit.
1 - Pack of furniture pads
1 - long piece of molding to cover the front edge
Trim nails
sand paper

Tools used:
an electric drill
Drill bits and screw driver bits
a nail set
pliers or vicegrips
measuring tape

Step 2: Leg Supports

You need to cut the 2X4 so that you have 4 square pieces. Rule one if you don't already know a two by four is not 2" by 4" it is closer to 3.5 X 1.75. they are called two by fours because when they were milled they were two by four. They shrank as they dried out.
That being said:
You should cut your blocks around 3.5" in length. sand the edges, If for some reason you don't have sand paper take these pieces out to the side walk and rub the edges on the concrete.
I cut 8 because I am making another door into a counter top for my wreck room later.

Step 3: Attaching the Leg Anchors

Attaching the Block:
You can see in the photo that the screw will be long enough to go thought the block and more then half way though the door
I used an extra bit before drilling the holes because I wanted the screw heads to be below the wood when I am done
I used a drill bit that is ever so slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw so that the screw will have a tight fit and not pull out.
The screws need to be on the outside edge of the door because that is where the door has solid wood to drill into.
The screws need to be in from the side of the door and block edge a half inch to an inch.

Attaching the leg plate:
Place the leg plate on the block where it will be attached then mark with a pen where the screws will go.
If you are smart you will mark each block and drill them all at once. I did one first to make sure I had it right then marked the other three and drilled them all at once.
switch bits and screw everything together.

Attaching the leg anchors to blocks is important for two reasons
1. it gives you a stable wood to attach the legs
2. it raises the legs so the desk is 26.5 " which is almost perfect height for a key board.

Step 4: Trim

I measured the trim to fit down one side of the desk and cut it to fit.
I then went along the length of the trim and using my smallest drill bit I drilled pilot holes for the nails.
This is very important the wood will split if this is not done so don't skip it.
I then hammered the small trim nails along the whole length leaving them out about a 1/4"
Then I went along with my nail set and counter sunk them to just below the surface of the wood.
If you want to, you could use wood fill putty to hide them but I used a cool trim so I didn't need to.

I am all about the trim. I chose trim that was thicker then the door but didn't cover the wood blocks. Why you ask? Because I love the trim. They make wider trims and even simple plain wood strips that will work too. Trim is how you make the desk personal.
Another cool thing about this trim is the design hides the nails so I won't be using putty to hide them.
Also I didn't rap the trim around the sides because I am in the middle of a move and didn't have my miter box and no one will see the sides anyway.

Step 5: The Legs

There is a dot in the middle of each leg piece. I however trust no one, so I use my measuring tape and check center square then make an X and drill a hole in the center of each piece. Use a drill bit that is as close but not bigger then the diameter of the screw.
Here is the killer using pliers or vicegrips you must screw the wood screw side (pointy side) into the leg. This requires a lot of hand strength. You might try using a jar opening pad to help.
Then add a pad to the bottom of each leg. I used felt pads because I am cheep.

You can buy ready made legs & if you are a wimp please do because getting the screws in are a @%&#$% .But ready made legs cost $15 to $30 each that way, and I didn't like they way they looked plus I am cheep I spent $5 each on the spindles and 79 cents on the screws

Step 6: Finish~

Screw the legs into the plates. I was afraid that I didn't bury the leg screws deep enough into the legs and that they would be half sticking out. However I had nothing to fear they went in nice and tight.

You can paint or stain your desk or leave it as is.
I stained my desk with a cabbenet color stain that is very red-brown then sealed it with polyurethane.
If you do seal it you must sand and do a second coat . The stain and first coat soak in and swell the grain of the wood leaving it a little rough. this is a two day process waiting for stain to dry and such.
Also do this out side or in a very well ventilated area.
If you are putting heavy stuff on this you will want a 5th leg on the center back or, you could run a 2X4 down the middle so that it is attached to the back and front then put a leg dead center of it.
For that matter you could run 2X4's on each side and have less cuts. But I didn't add an extra leg instead I am using this as a reason to by a new flat paneled monitor for myself.
The finished photo is as clean as my desk gets.
I may add drawer later on because, my husband complains there aren't any.
If I were to design it with a drawer I would have gotten taller legs so as to put a key board slide in too. Perfect height for a key board is 27 inches unless you are long legged (I am not)
The supplies cost me about $45. The desks I was looking at buying cost no less the $200 each and they weren't made out of wood, most are press board with photo laminate. The money I saved will go to a much needed new monitor. (mine is the one on the left). So that is $355 savings.Hmm I wonder if I can talk my husband into spending it all on a monitor for me.

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    17 Discussions


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You know there is a hard drive in that printer that saves a copy of every single file you copy right?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm looking for a 15" hollow core door but, not having any luck. Could you tell me where you got yours from?

    1 reply

    It is a bi fold door they are available from HomeDepo and Lowes as well as Menards But at Menards they can as a kit and you had to by two with the hardware. You can call ahead to that department and see want they have also ask if they have any scratched or dented that you can get a discount on.


    10 years ago on Step 1

    In case you don't have felt pads, I saw someone cut up a cork from a wine bottle and use the slices for the same purpose as the felt pads. :) Just, fyi.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    A great place to buy a hollow core door -- if you're not too picky -- is Habitat ReStore. Yeah it needs to be refinished and yeah it's got a hole drilled where the handle was and yeah there are indents where the hinges were. BUT the hole becomes the "cord catcher"... it would need to be painted or stained anyhoo... the trim and long with a wee bit of wood putty will cover the indents... and it was only $2! Plus you're recycling and if you're lucky, that day they'll have some used balusters as well. I'd been looking for a little help with this project. Thanks for the great instructions.

    2 replies

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job. I've been considering doing this to make a breakfast bar/computer station combination surface. Currently however, I'm thinking of using 3 milk crates stacked under each side, which will double as bookshelf space. the use of a hollow core door might be my solution for the top surface however.

    6 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    If you use the milk crates I would bolt them together (using large washers with hex bolts and nuts) for more stability of the crates. And use a band of nylon or thin metal strapping to fasten the top down to the crates


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Yep, that's the plan. Currently I have a 2 x 3 wide milk crate setup, with two 1 x6 pine clapboard lengths on top (two side by side are perfect for milk crates). They aren't fastened, but the unit is against a wall.

    The breakfast-bar/desk I'm designing will be perpendicular to the wall, and will act as a room divider, for separating the kitchen from the rest in my studio apt. So if you're in the kitchen (ok, standing at the kitchenette) you can sit an eat, and if you're in the rest of the space, you can sit the other way and use the computer. The middle will be open, and I'll use a milk crate stool with casters, so you can just roll the stool underneath the desk depending on which side you want to sit at.

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    It'll look like that, and I'll definitely have some bolts throughout for support.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm, I didn't see that the door was 15", I thought you'd cut one in half longitudinally. Did you have the door already?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    No I bought it at Home Depot. It is a bi-fold door often used at a closet door. they run about $20 Sometimes you can get them cheaper if one side is damaged.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! Since you're a home depot frequenter, I have a tips for getting some useful items for free thee. If you go to the carpet section, usually they'll have a box/bin full of 5' black nylon straps with Velcro and a small buckle for fastening around rolls of carpet. If you're going to buy lumber, a bi-fold door, etc, you can grab a few of those, wrap them around, even if it's redundant, and use them for something else.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    very nice, well done. here, take a look at my desk- its a kitchen workside placed across two desks!