DIY: Bespoke American Walnut and Steel Desk, Workstation, Stand Desk

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DIY Office Furniture

I have been working on this project for several months now but have neglected to post on my blog about it. With my work schedule and lack of dedicated workshop space in the garage it can be difficult to get motivated. The past few weeks I have been able to squirrel away some time in the garage to make progress on my ongoing desk project. As I type this, now, I am using two plastic folding tables as a desk. This arrangement sucks incredibly, but my last DIY desk was destroyed in our move. So I am blessed to have a desk at all.

This time I am building a custom huge beast of a desk with a welded steel frame and hardwood laminated top made of MDF and 4/4 American Walnut. There are four individual units for the entire setup. A “stand” desk (see pictured below), a 7′ wing, a 4′ wing, and a corner desk that will support my dual monitor arm wall mount stand (two 24″ Dell monitors).

I love the more modern industrial looks in general. I enjoy working with metal and wood so this project has been very fulfilling in that regard.

Update 2015 May 26

The 7′ wing is in the process of being oiled. The shorter wing frame is welded. Still need to sand the top and grind the finish onto the frame. Almost there!

Then I get to build drawers!


Update 2015 APR 30

I am finished with the frame for the second desk in the set of four. The corner will have a single vertical beam to support my dual monitor arm. The support arm is adjustable side to side and via extra mount holes so that I can ensure the final setup is level and plumb. The feet are all custom made with rubber disks, bolts and washers and are adjustable.

Dual monitor arm and post mount.

       

The tops for the last three desks are planed, routed and partially sanded. The corner desk top is ready for oil.


      

Modern Industrial Stand Desk

UPDATE 2015 JAN 28: Sides mounted, soft close drawer slides installed

I was able to wrap up the next stage of building the stand desk. I moved it inside to make room for building the rest of the desks. I still need to buy materials for the drawer case. I will probably work on that mini-project next. I sold my dovetail jig when I moved a few years ago, so I bought a new Rockler Complete Dovetail Jig Kit to replace it (with the dust cowl).

2015-01-28 18.04.33
In place in my office in front of the window. Will be perfect early in the morning before the sun rises over the mountain to the east.
2015-01-28 17.59.48
the eight side plates added up to a lot of work. More than all the time spent on the rest of the frame because I had to fabricate 16 tabs, weld them in, grind, wire wheel, and sand. Plus making the inserts. I like the look though.

2015-01-28 17.59.39 2015-01-28 17.59.57 2015-01-28 18.00.13

2015-01-20 16.29.01
Unfinished. One coat of tung oil. Still needs side pockets filled with walnut and the drawer.
2015-01-20 16.17.22
The stand desk top before I rubbed in tung oil.
2015-01-17 15.29.17
This shows the frame during the welding process.

El Cheapo Welding Jig – Do not try this at home!

2015-01-11 15.11.17
Here you can see my trusty $80 direct from China welder (sorry, America). I made a jig so that I could weld up perfectly square corners on this project. Simply clamp in, tack, and finish.

Building the tops…

2014-05-27 18.24.18
The 7′ wing top during the process of hand planing, sanding, and routing the edge.
2014-05-27 18.24.27
The 4′ wing top. Here you can see how I built up the MDF as a base. I used a 4″ sponge roller to evenly spread wood glue on both surfaces before lamination. I used EVERY heavy object and clamp in the house to press the lam together.
2014-04-26 16.19.34
just prior to gluing…
2014-04-26 15.39.47
Planning the grain and show of the wood. Also trying to maximize use of material. Walnut is expensive!
2014-04-26 15.10.32
Pictures tell the story here. All the tops cores are 24″ deep.
2014-04-26 15.10.00
I flush trimmed the edges after glue and screw with a router.

Materials ready for electrocution

2014-04-26 13.57.35
Heavy metal. About $175 worth.

This day, I had really bad clamps

2014-05-10 20.09.46
Gluing the edges on takes forever. I felt like I would be 60 years old by the time I finished them. Since we moved out west I had to give up a considerable portion of my previous shop and tools. So, I had to be creative on this one. “Clamp and move… clamp and move”

The Extraordinary Plan – A simple one.

2014-04-26 12.06.57
I *could* have done this in Google Sketchup. But who has the time? Paper works just fine. A year later… I’ve had to go back to the plan a few times to remember my thought process. I did decide not to build out the 6 drawers in the 4′ wing. Instead, I will add a large shelf and a tiny shelf (for my computer network gear). The 7′ wing will be open on the bottom to accommodate stuff like file cabinets, paper shredder, et cetera.
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