This year has been my first year of college off campus, and that left me with a serious lack of basic furniture, most notably a computer desk! This instructable is my way of throwing together a simple desk from some pallet wood I got from work. The aim of this design was to be as simple as possible with my limited tools and construction space, hope you enjoy!
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Step 1: Break Those Pallets
Tools for Breaking Pallets:
- Pry Bar
- Work Bench (I used a 5 gallon pickle bucket)
I got a couple of pallets at the loading bay at work and was able to break them apart by carefully using a hammer and crowbar. Once I got all the individual boards, I used a hammer and pickle bucket-work bench to knock all the nails out. Since I live in an apartment building, my worksite was an empty parking space next to my car.
Step 2: Start Building Pieces!
Tools/supplies used for Construction:
- Cordless Electric Drill
- Measuring Tape
- Workbench (again my handy pickle buckets)
- Multiple Grains of Sandpaper (and sandpaper tool)
- Deck Screws
- Deck Stain
To begin my design I based the height of the desk on where my knees would be at right angles and my arms would lay on the desktop comfortably. I did this mostly by guesswork and sitting on the back of my car, but a very good way to find this is to go out to a store and measure existing desks that you like the height of!
The depth of the desk I based on the flat boards I would use on the top of the desk but with 2 inches removed so that there would be an inch lip on the front and back. The width of the desk was based on the length of the flat top boards, again planning for an inch overhang on each side.
To begin construction I built two rectangles that will be the sides of the desk, raising the bottom of the rectangle up about 3 inches so that there are legs to the desk. Remember to drill pilot holes for the screws before screwing everything together so that the wood does not split!
Step 3: Connect the Ends
Once I had the sides screwed together and square, I cut out three lengths of 2x4 to connect the sides, with two on top and one on the back so that my legs will be able to go under the desk. I also cut two small pieces of scrap to place on the front so that it matched the style of the rest (see in later pictures)
Step 4: Add Support
In order to increase the support for the desk surface, I next added in a small piece of blocking on the top, centered on the desk.
Step 5: Placing the Top
This was the most important part of the woodworking. I picked out the least damaged and flattest if the surface boards and placed those on top of the desk frame I had built. Using a sanding tool I rough sanded the boards before screwing them in placed, and then sanded the top of the surface until it was flat. This took a while, so don't get discouraged if you don't see progress at first.
Step 6: Stain It!
I used a cherry deck stain in order to stain this desk. Using a brush, I lightly brushed the stain over the whole desk, and the let it dry. I repeated this process for 3 coast since I was going for a darker look.
Always stain in a ventilated area and make sure that the stain is dry before bringing it into your house/apartment. Don't want to get stain on the floor!
Step 7: Finished
Once the desk is dry, you are done! Now all you need is a good chair.
Thank you for reading this instructable, this desk was made with a minimalist mentality and a college student budget in mind. Hope you all enjoyed my first instructable!
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