Small Laptop Desk & Dovetail Bench

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Project by ZacPrunty posted 03-27-2017 08:26 PM 2921 views 3 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey all!

Finally got around to getting this project complete so I figured I would share with everyone. This project is made of two pieces (each challenging in their own sense!); the small office table I made specifically to use for my laptop, and the dovetail bench to match. Both pieces are constructed of Big Leaf Maple and Walnut. I just can’t get enough of that natural color contrast! It really pops!

Small Office Table
The Facts:
Species: Top – Walnut, Legs & Aprons – Big Leaf Maple
Joinery Techniques: Mortise and tenon for the legs and aprons. Biscuits for the top panel.
Finish: 3 coats of Poly Urethane (Semi-Gloss) with sanding sessions of 320G in-between coats.
The Story
Ever since I moved into my house (around september of 2003, I’ve wanted to turn this back porch sun room into my office space. For the longest time, this room wasn’t used for anything. Over Christmas break, I put a little time into freshening up the paint and added the accent wall for an extra touch (plus brownie points with the pinterest obsessed wife!) To be a true office, I needed a desk to work (or browse lumberjocks, youtube, and fine woodworking) at… I didn’t have a lot of space, but didn’t need much either. That’s where I decided to design a very simple desk to fit the space (and my laptop!). I wanted to go with very simple design, so I ended up with long tapers on the legs and a simple top. Overall, very funtional, and looks great on top of that!

Dovetail Bench
The Facts:
Species: Top & Stretcher Supports – Walnut , Leg Assemblies and Stretcher – Big Leaf Maple
Joinery Techniques: Hand cut mortise & tenons for the leg assemblies, router cut inlay for the top, and half laps for the walnut stretcher supports
Finish: 3 coats of wipe on Poly Urethane (satin) with sanding sessions of 320G in-between coats.
The Story
Throughout my woodworking journey the past couple of years, I have been wanting to put some time and effort into learning how to cut dovetails by hand. I just never took the time to sit down and practice. Two weeks ago, I decided to put words to action, stop making excuses, and get some scrap boards and learn! As you can see from this pic, I started pretty rough, but was able to gain confidence pretty shortly thereafter (9 tries later).

I really had so much fun learning this classic joinery technique that I wanted to build something to remember this weekend by, so I built this bench. It also turned out that I needed a place to sit and do “work” on my laptop! ha! I knew I wanted to use the dovetail shape in the legs, but as I got to the top, I realized I wanted to try an inlay using the same dovetail angles as the leg assemblies to tie it altogether. I used a router to create the inlay. Filled it in with Maple. I used a disk sander to create the mitered joints for the inlay, which burned some of the edges, leaving a dark line at the joint. I couldn’t get rid of it, so I ended up using a thin tipped permanent marker to “enhance” each joint line for a really cool puzzled look. This was somewhat of a happy accident, because I love the way you can see all the individual pieces that went into the inlay. It makes it pop and gives it kind of a mission flare to it.

Pretty funny that I decided to create a bench to honor the dovetail, but ended up using 0 actual dovetails in the project! Thats just how some of these things pan out I guess… I really wanted this piece to represent and respect the classic geometry of the dovetail, and serve as a confidence builder in the shop. I am pretty happy with the way it turned out! I also, really like the way the walnut stretcher supports tie the top to the legs.




14 comments so far

View grrt's profile


24 posts in 2637 days

#1 posted 03-27-2017 08:30 PM

Nice work man, really good looking!

View gsimon's profile


1334 posts in 3452 days

#2 posted 03-28-2017 02:41 AM

great story – i have to learn to do this!
The project turned out really nice

-- Greg Simon

View voodverker62's profile


49 posts in 1767 days

#3 posted 03-28-2017 04:40 AM

Beautiful in it’s colors , contrasts,simplicity , and yet the dovetail inlay really sets it off ,nice deign , plan , and execution. Wish I had the patience ,and $ to spend time building stuff for my self ;-) A+

-- only take credit where credit is due

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3682 days

#4 posted 03-28-2017 02:49 PM

beautiful table and bench

View GR8HUNTER's profile


9324 posts in 2051 days

#5 posted 03-28-2017 02:57 PM

very nice ….GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View ZacPrunty's profile


15 posts in 2169 days

#6 posted 03-28-2017 02:58 PM

Thanks everyone for the really nice comments! I appreciate it! this was a really fun project!

View JRsgarage's profile


475 posts in 1848 days

#7 posted 03-28-2017 03:00 PM

nice clean design

-- “Facts don't care about your feelings.” ..., Ben Shapiro

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4205 days

#8 posted 03-28-2017 04:11 PM

This is a very nice desk and bench. Well done!

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View EarlS's profile


5016 posts in 3687 days

#9 posted 03-28-2017 05:01 PM

I like it!!

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Ivan's profile


17143 posts in 4206 days

#10 posted 03-28-2017 05:30 PM

Inlayed bench top looks fantastic!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View DerekJ's profile


125 posts in 2226 days

#11 posted 03-28-2017 06:07 PM

Nice work, this rocks!

-- Derek ~ Omaha, NE

View ZacPrunty's profile


15 posts in 2169 days

#12 posted 03-28-2017 06:39 PM

Wow!! Thanks everyone again for the awesome comments! Thanks for all the love! Cheers!

View Tim Royal 's profile

Tim Royal

327 posts in 2825 days

#13 posted 03-28-2017 10:42 PM

Great project! Thanks for sharing it!

-- -Tim Royal -"Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real." -Thomas Merton

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4933 days

#14 posted 03-14-2018 06:01 PM

WOW amazing work

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

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