Scaffold Board Electric Standing Desk

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About: I love creating and making things. From leather wallets, wooden rings to DIY projects. I also make videos of everything I make, have a look at my YouTube channel.

Intro: Scaffold Board Electric Standing Desk

In this guide, I show how I made my dream desk. I've wanted a standing desk for years now. Partly for the health benefits, of which there are loads, partly because I always just thought they were cool.

I often toyed with the idea of buying one of those cheap manual ones you hand wind, but knowing myself, I knew it would never ever get raised from the seated position. I built my old desks using some used scaffold boards and piping. They look great and everyone who comes to my office comments on them. But for this project, I wanted to try using some brand new ones. Yes, I will lose some of the rustic charm and character from the old ones. But I'm super happy with how this turned out.

For this build you will need;

Step 1: Boards

I started off with 3 x brand new scaffold boards at 1.8m long. My old desks were 1.5m long, which is fine, but bigger is always better! One of the disadvantages with new boards, is they are far more likely to bow, split etc. I've not had any real problems with these ones so far...

The first job was to remove the metal bandings that come with the boards at either end. You can find some boards that don't have these, but the ones I got did. I did have a vague plan to try and somehow get these back on to complete the look but it never happened.

They are held in with a series of large nails around the edges so be prepared to have some pretty big holes. I used a mixture of an old blunt chisel, a screwdriver and hammer to pull these free.

Step 2: Glue

Following this, I glued up all three pieces together. I made sure to add some clamps on top, and some clamps underneath the boards to make sure they had even pressure from top and bottom.

Step 3: Supports

I used some CLS timber, but you can just use 2x4 to add some supports for the desk. I was initially worried this would not be enough support, but it has held fine. I also at this point did not have the frame of the electric unit so I didn't really know what I had to work with there.

The boards are meant to be 22cm wide, but they do vary so instead of using that dimension I just measured up against what the final width was of the glued up 3 boards.

I cut 2 of these down using the mitre saw. I added more wood glue and clamped them down at each far end of the desk. For extra safety, I wanted to add some screws. I found some really long screws I had lying around and pre-drilled 2 holes for each board, so there was 6 on each end. A mistake I made on my first desks was not properly countersinking the screws. I assumed that I would never really have my leg under that part of the desk. This time around I decided to do it properly. Once each was predrilled and countersunk, I put the screws in.

Step 4: Sanding

I then sanded down the whole desk all the way up to 220 grit. Your arms will probably be resting on this desk a fair bit, so do as much or as little as you want. For some reason, I totally forgot to film any of the 3 hours I spent sanding, so it's not really shown in the video. But I did do it.
I also finished it with my beeswax wood polish. I love finishing this, it feels great and super easy to reapply whenever I need to. You can follow my Instructable on how to make your own HERE.

Step 5: Frame

The frame I got sent from a company called Furna, they are UK based and make these awesome standing desks. They have a great range but I got the E2 Electric Standing Desk frame in Black. It came super well packaged despite UPS's best efforts to loose and or break it.

Step 6: Building

I followed all the instructions on how to put it together. I won't go into too many details as each frame will be different. The ones from Furna have a great manual that is super easy to follow along.

Step 7: Mount Up

I have also always wanted a proper fully articulated screen mount. I am a filmmaker and have always seen editing studios with a huge array of screens and all I've wanted is just one nice big screen on an arm. I thought I'm making my dream desk, I might as well go all out here.

I got a basic model off Amazon, and it has the option to clamp to the back of the desk or drill directly into the desktop. This sounds easier when most desks are made from coated MDF, whilst scaffold boards are by no means an exotic hardwood... drilling would definitely be harder (a lesson I learnt in the next step).

Step 8: Wireless Charging

Next up I wanted to add a wireless charger. But not just any wireless charger, a flush mounted one. This is where things started to go a bit wrong. My workshop is around 40mins drive from my office. The first half of the desk was built in my workshop, then moved to the office.

I had my 65mm forstner bit read to go, to drill this big hole in my brand new desktop. I had 2 choices;

a) drive over an hour and a half to get my drill press and do an awkward set up to get a nice clean hole
b) use my hand drill with a 98.5% of failing...

So quite predictably the drill bit skipped around so much and made a massive mess. I'm happy with it for now, but if you watch the video you can see how bad it is. I have a few ideas on how to fix this, but I would love to know if you have any ideas on how to cover this up and still look good.

Step 9: Cage

I also added a cable cage at the back of the desk. This helps keep all the cable management nice and tidy. Everything is running off 1 extension lead so there is just one cable that leaves the desk to the wall. This helps when you are going up and down.

Step 10: Final Images

I'm really happy with this. It works really well and I do find I am far more active during the day, I don't stand all day every day, but it's great to be able to stand up for an hour or two at a time.

Step 11: Don't Forget to Watch the Video :)

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    17 Discussions

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    Goatius Maximus

    2 months ago

    Cool! I can't afford the electric desk, does anyone have a cheaper alternative?

    9 replies
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    marvelmxGoatius Maximus

    Reply 2 months ago

    Yes, there are some bases that you place over a normal desk and can raise and lower your monitor, keyboard and mouse. Not much for working as in a workbench but its good enough for a computer desk

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    InstructableSDGoatius Maximus

    Reply 2 months ago

    I made a standing desk using shelving, it's similar to the one in the attached photo, although I used much larger brackets for the main desk.

    Standing Desk.jpg
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    AlexanderK176Goatius Maximus

    Reply 2 months ago

    I'm not sure how much the advertised electric frame goes for or how much you can afford, but I built something similar (see photo) using this $350 frame: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016Z1U34K and a $40 piece of oak plywood that I simply cut down to size and varnished. The shape is up to you, mine is about 6'x2.5' with a center indent for a wraparound experience. The 3/4" oak plywood turned out to be strong enough without any bracing.

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    NeowizardGoatius Maximus

    Reply 2 months ago

    Yes, check out this one:

    https://www.instructables.com/id/Automatic-SitStan...

    I've actually built a variation of it for a friend over 6 months ago (posted an image on that instructable), and it came out great.
    The only part cost was the linear motor (ordered a 40cm stroke 90KG capacity from china).

    The top and back brace was reclaimed particle board I found, the housing (rails) for the raising legs were made of an old particle board table top I had laying around and the legs were made out of leftover 1X6 pine from building a fence

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    marvelmx

    Question 2 months ago

    How much is it in cost approximately? Also... is there any really international alternative?

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    Bruceaulrich

    2 months ago on Step 10

    Really cool project! I don't know if I'm familiar with this type of scaffold board. I like how it turned out though!

    2 replies
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    colinmccBruceaulrich

    Reply 2 months ago

    Presumably the poster is in the UK, scaffold planks like that are the norm there.

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    aCuriousCreatorcolinmcc

    Reply 2 months ago

    Yeah in the UK they are used on building sites all over the country. Or you can buy them new. They are usually pretty cheap softwood.

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    colinmcc

    2 months ago

    Here's the trick to using a Forstner bit on site with no drill press. You need a square of ply 1/2" thick, a few inches bigger than your bit, and (ideally using a drill press) drill a hole with your Forstner in the center of it, you can do this anywhere, and not necessarily at where you are going to drill holes, so find/borrow a press for that one off hole.

    Then on site you clamp the ply to your work piece, (using clamps/double sided tape/whatever works) in the spot where you want your hole, and place the Forstner bit in the hole and drill. The ply will both hold the bit square with your job and stop the bit wandering when you drill!.