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L Desk Design - Suggestions?

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Blog entry by Googalabosh posted 04-16-2019 12:11 PM 551 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Looking for feedback on the L Desk I have designed. I’m a beginner woodworker.

It will be made of red oak plywood with veneer on the edges. I’ll be using pocket holes for the connections. The desk will be able to split into three pieces: the large shelf, the main desk, and the side drawers.

I’m looking for ideas on how to make it look and function better.

Thanks in advance.



17 comments so far

View Rich's profile

Rich

5142 posts in 1196 days


#1 posted 04-16-2019 02:19 PM

It’ll look better if you skip the red oak, which is hands down the ugliest wood species on the planet.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Googalabosh's profile

Googalabosh

9 posts in 283 days


#2 posted 04-16-2019 02:32 PM



It ll look better if you skip the red oak, which is hands down the ugliest wood species on the planet.

- Rich

What do you recommend I replace it with?

View Rich's profile

Rich

5142 posts in 1196 days


#3 posted 04-16-2019 03:54 PM

If you want to stay in the oak family, then quarter sawn white oak is the classic wood for finer pieces. It’ll cost more though.

Here’s the thing, flat sawn red oak is ugly wood. Then, if you’re going with plywood you have to be careful that you don’t get rotary cut veneer since that’ll take ugly and turn it into ugly and bizarre.

Finally, that’s a big project for a beginner. Perhaps you’d be better off starting with some smaller pieces.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Googalabosh's profile

Googalabosh

9 posts in 283 days


#4 posted 04-16-2019 04:23 PM



If you want to stay in the oak family, then quarter sawn white oak is the classic wood for finer pieces. It ll cost more though.

Here s the thing, flat sawn red oak is ugly wood. Then, if you re going with plywood you have to be careful that you don t get rotary cut veneer since that ll take ugly and turn it into ugly and bizarre.

Finally, that s a big project for a beginner. Perhaps you d be better off starting with some smaller pieces.

- Rich

Thanks for the tip.

At $52 a sheet (needing 4 sheets) for the red oak, I can only imagine how expensive the white oak is. I’m not really wanting to shell out a ton of money for my first big project. So far I’ve estimated this to be about $350 total.

By beginner I didn’t mean this is my first project. However, this is my first large project. I built a rough design of this desk a few years ago (minus the L piece). It turned out ok. It was more to learn than actually be the final product.

I consider myself a beginner but I believe I’m ready to tackle my first professional big project. Hopefully I’m right. :)

View pottz's profile

pottz

7696 posts in 1591 days


#5 posted 04-16-2019 05:46 PM

as far as design is this for a home office or going in a business,the need will determine the design.i like what youve come up with myself.i gotta say red oak is kinda at the bottom of my go to list also,but it is less expensive.this is not a complex build so you should be fine.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Googalabosh's profile

Googalabosh

9 posts in 283 days


#6 posted 04-16-2019 06:03 PM



as far as design is this for a home office or going in a business,the need will determine the design.i like what youve come up with myself.i gotta say red oak is kinda at the bottom of my go to list also,but it is less expensive.this is not a complex build so you should be fine.

- pottz

Thanks. It is for a home office and will support a three monitor set up. I plan to incorporate some tech into it as well: USB ports, plugs, etc. I’m still trying to find the right light I want to use under the shelf. Haven’t found the right thing yet.

View pottz's profile

pottz

7696 posts in 1591 days


#7 posted 04-16-2019 06:33 PM

sounds good,as far as lighting im 100% led these days,takes liittle power,nice and bright and doesnt create much heat which at a desk is a factor.cant wait to see this built,be sure to post when done.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Googalabosh's profile

Googalabosh

9 posts in 283 days


#8 posted 04-16-2019 06:55 PM



sounds good,as far as lighting im 100% led these days,takes liittle power,nice and bright and doesnt create much heat which at a desk is a factor.cant wait to see this built,be sure to post when done.

- pottz

My bad. I should have been more clear. I plan on LED. Just haven’t found lights I like. I thought about using string or rope lights and using the router to make a groove to put them in. I’ve also been looking at under cabinet lights but nothing seems to be quite right.

I will absolutely put a picture of the final product. Won’t be done till later this year or possibly next spring. I’m also trying to decide of I want to add cabinet doors to some of the spots on top and possibly the computer shelf.

Decisions, decisions.

-Justin

View klinkman's profile

klinkman

46 posts in 482 days


#9 posted 04-16-2019 07:33 PM

two suggestions for “lightening” the design:

1. replace the “L” shaped panels that serve as legs with a post. Unless these two sides are up against a wall, these are visually heavy.

2. the large area where your monitors will be, does that need a back? You could just have wall back there instead of all that wood that’s going to be mostly covered anyway.

These changes might save close to a 48×96” sheet.

Another change I might consider is mix up the work surface with a contrasting material. I lined a counter top I built a couple of years ago with (some very large) pieces of espresso colored leather. Looks fantastic against the cognac colored cherry cabinets. Another idea, not sure if you’ve checked price in your area, but maple and red oak are near the same price in mine, and maple takes a lot of stains well so lots of color options.

-- Klinkman, hand tool enthusiast

View Googalabosh's profile

Googalabosh

9 posts in 283 days


#10 posted 04-16-2019 11:25 PM

OK. So, white oak is terribly expensive. Can anyone recommend a nice wood that won’t make me have to get a second mortgage? LOL.

As my first major project, I don’t want to spend a ton on the wood. I’ll save that for next time.

View Googalabosh's profile

Googalabosh

9 posts in 283 days


#11 posted 04-16-2019 11:40 PM

Maybe maple plywood?

View BlueRidgeDog's profile

BlueRidgeDog

618 posts in 386 days


#12 posted 04-16-2019 11:43 PM

A post in the back corner would save a good bit of plywood, that can be used to make the right file/drawer box free standing so it can be moved around (that edge of the desk being supported by the half moon shelf unit. A thin drawer where you sit will be appreciated down the road. Put a top on the left lower empty box (what goes in there) so that it too is free standing and you can then set the top on it. To avoid sag in the union of the tops, put a brace going down at an angle to the leg or back panels. Just some ideas.

I too think red oak is yuck…but if YOU like it, go ahead. Personally the clean lines would be good in basic birch or maple and that ply is abundant and moderately priced at the lumber yard.

Finally, I would use biscuits to do this, but if you are a pocket screw guy or one in the budding, that works too.

View Rich's profile

Rich

5142 posts in 1196 days


#13 posted 04-17-2019 01:33 AM

Since you’re focusing on plywood (nothing wrong with that), you could call around for prices on Ash, Cherry, Maple, Alder, Mahogany, White Oak. They are all nice woods but, of course, will vary in price. I would guess that Ash, Alder and Maple will be in the same ballpark as red oak.

All three will take color well if you want to stain or dye it. Alder and Maple are prone to blotching, but that’s easy to prevent. And you will want to have some spare pieces of plywood to test your finish recipes on.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Googalabosh's profile

Googalabosh

9 posts in 283 days


#14 posted 04-17-2019 10:04 AM



A post in the back corner would save a good bit of plywood, that can be used to make the right file/drawer box free standing so it can be moved around (that edge of the desk being supported by the half moon shelf unit. A thin drawer where you sit will be appreciated down the road. Put a top on the left lower empty box (what goes in there) so that it too is free standing and you can then set the top on it. To avoid sag in the union of the tops, put a brace going down at an angle to the leg or back panels. Just some ideas.

I too think red oak is yuck…but if YOU like it, go ahead. Personally the clean lines would be good in basic birch or maple and that ply is abundant and moderately priced at the lumber yard.

Finally, I would use biscuits to do this, but if you are a pocket screw guy or one in the budding, that works too.

- BlueRidgeDog

Thanks. I would do biscuits but don’t have the tool to make the grooves. I plan on getting this at a later date for future projects.

I’ve been thinking about adding a drawer under the main part of the desk. Only reason I haven’t done that yet is because I feel I would have to make the curve a straight edge so it makes sense.

I like the idea of the free standing drawer and shelf (the one on the bottom left holds the computer) but I dont see any use for it in my situation.

Thanks again!

View Googalabosh's profile

Googalabosh

9 posts in 283 days


#15 posted 04-17-2019 10:07 AM



Since you re focusing on plywood (nothing wrong with that), you could call around for prices on Ash, Cherry, Maple, Alder, Mahogany, White Oak. They are all nice woods but, of course, will vary in price. I would guess that Ash, Alder and Maple will be in the same ballpark as red oak.

All three will take color well if you want to stain or dye it. Alder and Maple are prone to blotching, but that s easy to prevent. And you will want to have some spare pieces of plywood to test your finish recipes on.

- Rich

Thanks! Honestly, I only chose the red oak because that is what Lowe’s has. I need to go around to the local lumber yards and see what I can get for the ones you suggested. Thanks for your help.

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