Cherry Standing Desk

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Project by TheWoodenOyster posted 08-26-2014 02:52 PM 2219 views 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey everyone,

I built this experimental desk a few weeks ago out of some leftover cherry I had from a dining table that I built. I had wanted a desk that I could stand at as opposed to sit at for a long time. It helps my back feel much better. It also gave me a chance to try out some new techniques without the risk of screwing a commissioned piece up.

Overall dimensions are 17” deep x 30” wide x 39” tall.

The top box portion is made from a solid cherry panel glue up. I made a new sled for cutting long miter joints like the corners of this box. It needs a bit of tweaking, as I did have some gaps of around .008 to .010 in some places in my long miter joints. I am guessing a wixey might fix that problem. The grain flows continuously over the top and both sides. The glue up for this was interesting. At first I was going to try a ratchet strap setup, but I decided on just using blue painter’s tape to hold it together while it dried. The tape worked great, much better than the straps would have worked.

The legs are splayed out to provide a little more stability. They were tapered using a new taper/SLR jig that I built for the tablesaw. There are three simple inlay stripes at the tops of the legs that I cut with one .125 saw kerf thickness. Legs are attached to the box using mortises and homemade dominoes.

Finish is 2 coats of PURE tung oil. Don’t ask if it was Formby’s or Minwax. It was pure tung oil thinned with mineral spirits.

Experimental aspects:

1. I wanted to test the max height I felt comfortable making legs without some sort of stretcher to hold the lower portion of the legs stable. In my opinion, these legs do need some sort of stretcher at the bottom for stabilization. I think 6” to 12” shorter, it would be fine for an occassional table that doesn’t get touched or stressed much.

2. Pure Tung Oil. I wasn’t particularly impressed. I got sort of a fugly blotching. Also it seems like the finishing process with oil should truly take weeks. Not the best protection, and not the best look either. I’ll be going back to wipe on poly.

3. Mitered corner box. I was pleased with this, and will likely use the design element again. I need to dial in my angle a little more and will probably get a wixey if the element comes up in a commission. I also found that my titebond 3 left darker glue lines than I had hoped for. From what I understand titebond 1 could solve this problem. I think this design element is pretty hot right now in consumers’ eyes, so hopefully it could catch some eyes and reel in some work. One last thing about the mitered corners. I rounded them over ever so slightly to get rid of the sharp corners. Doing this resulted in a dark line along the entire corner due to the exposed end grain and the increased finish absorption in that area. I expect this wouldn’t be so bad with wipe on poly.

Thanks for reading, questions and comment welcome!

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

5 comments so far

View Lumberpunk's profile


334 posts in 3111 days

#1 posted 08-26-2014 03:31 PM

Beautiful piece.

-- If someone tells you you have enough tools and don't need any more, stop talking to them, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3259 days

#2 posted 08-26-2014 08:49 PM

Lot of cool and subtle design elements going on there. Nice work.

-- Brian Timmons -

View AaronK's profile


1511 posts in 4238 days

#3 posted 08-27-2014 01:14 AM

nice design, it looks like it’ll do the job. Also thanks for the report on the tung oil… sounds like it’s not the magic its reputed to be!

Have you ever tried shellac as a sealer for cherry? I havent had the chance to try it myself, but a FWW article reported the best blotch-blocking results on cherry using shellac before oil or poly finishing.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1335 posts in 2709 days

#4 posted 08-27-2014 02:15 AM

AaronK – I have not tried shellac as a sealer for cherry. In the past under a poly finish, I have found the “blotchiness” of cherry to be attractive. I think the word for how it looks with oil would probably be “muddy” and “dull”. I think I expected the character of the cherry to look good with the application of the tung oil, as it does with poly, but it just doesn’t.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Woodbridge's profile


3718 posts in 3192 days

#5 posted 08-27-2014 12:46 PM

Your continuous grain look of the top is very nice. I also like the design of the legs and the dark inserts. Overall a nice little experiment.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

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