Introduction: Simply Elegant Desk
welcome to my step-by-step guide how to build this super simple but skillfull desk. I really appreciate the interest.
I built this desk as a multi functional working space. Personally I use it for drawing and project planning, but since it is a huge desk it can be used by more than one simultaniously.
As you might notice pretty quickly, this isn't your average DIY built, since I used some professional maschines, which can't be found in a garage workshop. Nevertheless I encourage you to have a look at my guide or at least have a quick read trough. And you might pick up one or two useful tips for your future project.
So let's not waste any time and get started.
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Step 1: Design
As I mentioned this is a multi purpose desk for working, studying, drawing, and I occasionally use it for sewing. I didn't want the legs to be in the way when working on to hole desk, that's why I moved them all the way to the sides. That way the footwell is very clean and even can be used for storage.
When having a very long table and no legs to support the weight in the middle, it might occur that it could sag a little and looses stability. I solved that problem by placing two aprons underneath the table top. One on the back to stabilze the construction and one in the center to hold the weight of whatever is placed on the desk.
Another important point for me was having some storage space. I went with a small organizer on the table top, which seemlessly blend in with the minimalistic design of the hole build. And I could integrate the power outlets on the sides.
As material I used linoleum, a very fine laminate, which is ideal for writing. In contrast of the fresh blue, I decided to go with anthracite for the side panels. The anthracide side panel stand in contrast to the fresh blue of the table top and go perfectly with any electronic device I own. Addionally the warm oak is a perfect match for the design and adds a nice homely touch.
Step 2: Desk
So, the desk is made out of a 38mm thick block board with linoleum on the outer and veneer on the inner surface. That way even this huge desk is really light and can be transported more easily
I put a detailed plan of the desk in the file section, if you like you can follow along with it or you probably change some measures anyway so I won't get into dimentions much. Just customize this build to your preferation and needs :)
But you want everything a little bigger than your final measures, for now at least.
The next step is to cover the edges and for that it is imortant to do so in the correct order. First the undersides, than the front- and backside. That way you won‘t see to edges of the wood. Use some clamps to add pressure to the edge banding or maybe even tape could work, if applied with enough force.
As I worked with professional maschines, I used one to attach the edge banding. After that I sanded the planes with a wide belt sanding maschine.
Step 3: Desk: Laminating
Important things with laminating are:
Having the glue spread equally over the hole plane. Use just enough so the area is covered. A thick layer only causes trouble, when wanting to remove the planes out of the press.
Use a appropiate amount of pressure when pressing the laminate. For the top panel I used around 100 bar for the side panel together 90 bar. When working with veneer on both sides ou would want to use more (150-140), but as the linoleum is sensitiv to pressure I used less.
I don‘t have experience with pressing with clamps, so if you do, let me know in the comments if it could word as well.
Step 4: Desk: Preparing for Assembly
You are getting along just fine? Very nice!
So, the next step is to cut everyhing to final size & prepare the connections.
To cut wideness of the panels I used a vertical panel saw, where I underlayed my material with a scrap piece so the overlap isn‘t damaged and I have a nice straight support.
The mitters I cut with the help of some clamps. I meassured the thickness of my material and set my fence accordingly.
For the connections of the top and side panels and the back apron I used lamellos, which I milled with a milling maschine.
For the apron under the table top I decided to go with dowels, just to add a bit more stability.To figure out the holes for the dowels, I drilled the holes frst in the apron and then used some inlays, wich, when pressed in the material, leave a small print. I used those prints as reference for the „counter“-holes.
Step 5: Assemble Your Pieces
You got everything together? Then it‘s time to assemble.
To keep everthing rectangular, I used a scrap piece, which I cut to a 90 degree angle, and clamped it in a corner. This is probably a bad example, because to be really effective the piece should be bigger and maybe use one for each corner. But since the table was pretty rectangular I left it like this and focused on the loooong mitters. Those are probably the most important parts. Normally when working with solid wood you could sand the edges a little so you won't notice, but since we are working with linoleum there's no way to get the edges pretty if the mitters aren't perfect.
Step 6: Organizer
The organizer is built very similar to the desk itself. It consist of a long top panel, where I cut 3 rabbet for small dividers, and two side panels, also connected with mitters. As matterial I used a multilayer board (multiplex) with again veneer and edge banding on the visible edges.
To make things a little simpler I chose to attach the edge band after veneering. That way the rabbets can't be seen from the front and the dividers and set back by a little (depending on the edge band you use. In my case 2mm), which gives the organiser a nice touch.
We'll start by cutting the material and then move on to veneering. Since the egde band, which utlimately adds to our measures, is missing when vennering, I would suggest leaving the material wider for now and cutting to final width after the connections fit.
The next step is to cut the rabbets on the table saw. The width is determined by the thickness of the dividers. Although a the rabbets are basicly just a few cut, this is rather tricky part, so I would recommend to do a few test pieces. First you will need to cut to most right. Assuming the right edge of the rabbet to be 140mm from the left edge you need to set your stop to 140mm-3.2mm (thickness of most saw blades). To cut the left edge of the rabbet I prepared a 10.8mm thick piece, which I put between the stop and the material. That way you will get a 14mm wide rabbet.
Since the dividers are 384mm appart, the distance from the left and right rabbet to the outer edge should be 532mm (384mm+135mm+13mm). To cut the center rabbet you set your stop to 92.8mm and cut from both sides.
Now there are only the mitters and a fold for the back panel missing.
Step 7: Organizer: Power Outlet
To built the power outlet housing I used a multiplex side piece and a solid wood front piece, in which I milled a place for the outlets. I fixed them in place with special glue.
To connect them I basicly connected them parallel and hook them up to a power cord. But please get someone professional if you want to copy this design. I, too, had someone to look over my shoulder.
Step 8: Organizer: Building the Drawers
To finish the project I build some drawers, which perfectly fit between dividers. The front piece is lower than the sides so it's easy to pull them out. I covered the bottom with felt to avoid scratches on the surface and to achieve a 2 mm gab on all sides.
Step 9: Finishing Touches
This is it! We are about to finish this built.
For varnishing I used a airmax spray gun and covered up the areas, which I didn't want to spray, with tape and paper.
To connect the organizer to the desk I built a template to drill the dowel holes and secured the organizer from underneath with screws in place.
Connect the two power outlets and you're done!
Step 10: Enjoy Your New Desk
Thanks so much for following along. It was a lot of fun designing and making this desk and I hope it will be for you too. Altough I used some professional maschines I'm sure yo will work your way around. But if you struggle with something, I'm more than willing to help.
Also If I left anything unclear or you have any recommendation, please let me know in the comments. I would love to read them.
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