So you need a cheap, sturdy desk
surface for your house? There's nothing in your price range that meets your unique needs of holding several monitors, keyboards, and still leaving room for other work? I was in the very same position you were in. So I built one myself. It's quick and easy... the desk can be assembled
in about two hours. But it will take a while for it to dry (you'll see) so budget lots of time for it to sit around before being used. Note that afterwards, you are going to have a desk that's six feet long, thirty inches deep, and about four inches high.
I'm not going to tell you how to make legs
for your desk surface. I'm using a computer as one leg and a set of large metal shelves as the other leg. Seems to work fine for me. If there is sufficient interest, I will figure out how to make some legs for this thing and post them at the end. But for my purposes, legs would only eat up space.
Materials you'll need
All those materials can be bought at Home Depot
for about $35. The tools can be borrowed from someone for a day. Now to begin. Haul all your stuff outside. Support the board under each corner for now. We're going to move them around in a minute, though.
(1) With a pencil, draw two lines on the board. The first line should be placed six feet from one end of the board and go across the width. The second line should be thirty inches from one side and go across it lengthwise
, stopping at the first line. The resulting 6'x30" section will be the desk surface. The long, skinny portion at the top can be made into a shelf, as can the chunk on the side. Be creative
. Here's a picture:
| | |
| |<--------------- six feet ------------>|
| | |
| | / \ |
| | | thirty inches |
| | | |
| | \ / |
(2) Having marked it off, now we're going to cut. Make the vertical cut shown in the picture above first. Now set that piece aside. Move the supports so that two are under each chunk of the remaining section. Carefully, make the second cut. Watch out at the end that it doesn't try to fall apart.
(3) Cut the 2'x4' to six foot lengths. These are going to serve as supports for the underside of the desk. Otherwise, it will be very flexible. That's bad. Now, we need to get these up underneath the desk surface. Stick them under, one end at a time, so that the narrow end is touching the desk surface. Ted
says this makes them stronger than positioning them the other way. Who am I to argue? Another picture to demonstrate:
| desk surface
| | 4" side
(4) Sand all the edges of the desk surface and supports down with the sandpaper. They can be quite sharp at first, and you'd hate to cut a finger or bust your knee open on this thing.
(5) Now, you need to position the first support properly. I placed the center of the support five inches in from the edge of the desk surface. You may want to play around with it a little bit but don't put it too far from the edge. Make sure to measure at both ends so you're sure it's straight. It may help to clamp
the support to the surface at this point as it may move around during this next step.
(6) Make four marks on the desk surface that are fairly evenly spaced out, and are aligned
on the center of the support. These marks are where the screws are going to go. We want them to go through the surface and into the supports to hold everything together. Don't put them too near the ends either.
(7) Get out a drill bit
of similar diameter
to your screws. Put the tip of the bit on the first mark and carefully drill straight down into the desk. The reason I suggested clamps in step 5 is because you really wouldn't want the pieces coming apart while you're drilling. Instead of clamping, I just put my knee down on the surface. Remember that your screws are two inches long, so you can drill down about that far. Make sure to get into the 2'x4'. Then, you will most likely want to countersink
the screws. Get another drill bit whose diameter matches the diameter of the screw head. Center the drill on the first hole and drill down a bit. You're just making a space for the head to fit so don't overdo it. Repeat this for all four marks on this first support.
(8) Get out your screwdriver and put each screw in until the top of the screw's head is lined up with the desk surface. And while you're at it, put your back into it
. The supports should be drawn up tightly to the desk surface. It's not going anywhere now. If you did clamp it together, you can remove your clamps.
(9) Position the second support as you did the first in step 5. Then, repeat the steps for marking
, and screwing
. At this point, your desk is fully assembled and should be quite strong. The addition of the supports makes it much heavier, too.
(10) This step could be considered optional. However, medium density fiberboard is prone to getting dirty and then looking like crap. If you don't do this step, you might end up with a nasty desk in a few weeks. Take the spray shellac and spray all over the top and sides of the desk. You may also want to give the ends of the supports a coat as well. Wait a few hours for it to dry. Then lightly sand (all in the same direction) and apply another coat. Now let it dry for about a day. If you press it into service too soon, whatever you put on the desk will end up stuck to the shellac. In general, follow the directions on the can.
(11) Congratulations, you are now done with your desk! All you need to do now is find some legs and you can get to using it.