L-Shaped Desk #2: Doesn't look exactly like an L...

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by SauceMan posted 05-16-2017 06:46 AM 2363 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Hello, world! Part 2 of L-Shaped Desk series Part 3: More progress tomorrow! »

There’s a picture of my completed desktop. I made it over the weekend, leaving the rough lumber in my shop for a week before I started tearing into it. I think it’s very close to the original measurements in my SketchUp plans, maybe off by a quarter of an inch or so.

If you look at the grain, you’ll see pretty much all the parts are cut with 45 degree cuts, though you may have thought it would be easier to use square cuts for the L. The reason I did it this way is so that middle part has one long piece of wood going across it, which is where most of your interaction would be with it..

I actually cut the individual components at 45 degree angles, though I probably should have cut them square and oversized and then cut the angle. When I had to go and refine the jointed edges so I could glue up with no gaps, for instance, I had to shave a little bit off which cause the angles no longer to meet perfectly. Also during the glue up dealing with slipping and sliding wood was more annoying, not to mention fewer points to grab on to with clamps. I glued it up in 2 passes though which helped a lot. In the end, I had to take my circular saw to the sides anyway to get straight edges, but I probably cut off no more than 3/16ths per side.

Some observations:
1. I still suck at jointing and planing. What started as 4 quarter lumber ended up as .66in wood after I squared it all off. I basically shaved off one third of the wood trying to get it flat. I must be doing something wrong. I covered one side in pencil marks and tried to joint it until the marks were gone but it sure felt like a whole lot of passes. Flipped it over and did the same with the planner. Also, the wood was 8 to 10 inches wide which meant I had to be creative with my 6 inch jointer, but aside from chewing away too much of the wood I thin I got it nice and flat.

2. I said I was going to wait on a new (used) table saw to get the project under way. While I did wait for it, there were some setbacks. First if all, this saw came with a splitter built into a blade guard, but no riving knife. So I had to try to make my cuts with that guard in place which I’m really not digging. Maybe I have to get a bit used to the guard, but the splitter built into it (which rises and falls with the blade so it’s similar to a riving knife) sometimes wobbles or bends when I rip a long part. Need to make sure it is installed correctly. I tried installing a new blade and put a washer on the about backwards which caused some blade wobble… I didn’t notice that until later, but my rips weren’t coming out clean until I fixed that. I removed the guard to try to shave off a millimeter per side (don’t tell my wife), and then I noticed that dust was flying up as the piece passed the back end of the blade more than the front. (Don’t tell my wife!) So there I am using a saw without a guard, splitter or riving knife and it looks like the back of the fence is pushing the piece inward towards the blade. For those of you who know what I’m talking about, I know what you’re thinking. For those of you who don’t, be aware that that is very bad news and I can explain to you why if you want to know (basically it means the piece is being pressed against the back of the blade by the fence… If squeezed hard enough it can snag against the back of the blade, be lifted right up and hurled towards the front at 200MPH. Guess where your face is when using a table saw?). I’m getting a few spare parts for this saw and really have to give it some TLC before using it more. Oh… And no crosscut sled for it yet… I want to make one, but I also want to get done with this desk!
3. Bad circular saw are bad. Good ones are good. Or maybe great. I’ve seen so many people talk about all these projects you could build with just a circular saw. You can build a whole house with nothing but a circular saw and a hammer. They say crap like that. All I knew was my old saw was loud, never cut in a straight line, and kept binding. I now know that it just was a bad saw, either it’s old, or reflecting the fact that I paid little for it new 15 years ago. It was cheap then, it is cheap and old now. I bought a much more powerful work drive model (used on Craigslist), and I can cut straight and easily every time now. It’s such a joy to use a circular saw, I never knew!
4. I had an old hand plane, it was a little one without even a knob to hold on to on the front. Just one screw to move the blade up and down. I thought I’d upgrade to a fancier one, a bit bigger. This one has a screw on each side to slide the blade up and down. I can’t, for the life of me, get that blade set right so it doesn’t just dig in and bind. I need to find some advice in setting it up.

So anyway, I need to set up my table saw and rearrange my workshop now that that beast is in the way. But I have to balance that with actually making a project, so cleanup will have to wait. But I need to line up the fence right because it is dangerous otherwise. That’s simply not acceptable.

If anyone has any good resources on jointing and planing, and can tell me how much thickness to realistically expect out of 4 quarter lumber, I’d really appreciate it. Also, I’m going to search now, but any links to help me set up my new plane would be awesome.

Up next for the desk, I need to joint, plane and rip the 6 quarter lumber forso I can glue to halves together to make 3 inch square legs. I also need to get the aprons cut and then connect then to the legs. In thinking mortise and tenon again.

Thanks for your attention!


2 comments so far

View WrathOfSocrus's profile


24 posts in 3134 days

#1 posted 05-17-2017 01:15 AM

Nice desk! I made something very similarly shaped with plywood for my mother a long time ago. I built it into the corner and she used it a lot, so I guess she liked it.

I’m glad you found a decent circular saw that you like. A rough blade or too much run-out can be dangerous for you and your projects. I wouldn’t give up my Makita for anything!

My experience with my Delta planer is similar. Unless it is very soft wood like cedar, I need to get a good bite on the wood or it doesn’t work well, chatters, and leaves a very poor finish. Buying wood already at your desired thickness or planing down something thicker like 5/4 will give you what you need. I’m kicking myself for passing up a treadmill down the street as that would have made an awesome thickness sander, as that is another method to get less waste from your wood.

I honestly never use my jointer because that beast is dangerous and difficult to use. I made a jig for my tablesaw in under 5 minutes and does most of my jointing needs better, faster, and safer. To be fair, I really like circular blades vs other types, and experience with how they perform and how to use them safely makes me more paranoid around other blades. I should probably put that thing up on Craigslist since I have powered it on maybe 5-6 times in 9-10 years of owning it.

That’s nice you are using SketchUp. I find it very helpful for figuring out angles and especially for trying to reuse wood I have on hand. It’s frustrating when you plan something out and forget about add for the thickness of another piece and now your scrap isn’t long enough for the job! It’s cheaper to cut a dozen times digitally and once physically. What kind of finish are you going with?

-- "To do is to learn. A brilliant man once said that... I think he had a beard, too." - Joe Burns, HTML Goodies

View SauceMan's profile


57 posts in 1091 days

#2 posted 08-07-2017 12:34 AM

That s nice you are using SketchUp. I find it very helpful for figuring out angles and especially for trying to reuse wood I have on hand. It s frustrating when you plan something out and forget about add for the thickness of another piece and now your scrap isn t long enough for the job! It s cheaper to cut a dozen times digitally and once physically. What kind of finish are you going with?

- WrathOfSocrus


I just now noticed that you asked me a question and I never responded—well, I went for the minwax wipe-on poly. Finish is decent, application is simple, and smell isn’t bad at all. I’ve finished the desk but not posted about it, so keep an eye out for two more posts forthcoming.


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics