Maple Knock Down Desk

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Project by EarlS posted 01-10-2021 03:59 PM 658 views 2 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A week before Christmas, my youngest daughter requested a knockdown desk for her apartment at college. As with most projects my daughters ask me to build, she didn’t really know what she wanted. She did want something with Asian influences and she wanted it to be light, but not painted. We spent some time looking at pictures on Google and came up with a basic idea. From there, I spent some time making a model in SketchUp and tweaked things a bit for her. A bit more time on SketchUp and I had the necessary dimensional drawings to build it.

Final Details:

48” long x 24” wide and 30” tall with a single 3” drawer. Walnut dowels were used as accents on the top, legs, and drawer

The desk is Maple, finished with Old Masters satin Armor Acrylic since it isn’t supposed to yellow with exposure to the sun like typical polyurethane. The top was waxed and hand rubbed to bring out a bit more sheen.


There are a few details that make the desk more than just a top with 4 legs.

The legs are angled and tapered on both sides to provide more stability since there isn’t a back stretcher. I used a dado to cut a rabbet into the top of the legs that was the height of the apron (3”). That gave me an easy way to make sure the legs would be perpendicular to the apron. From there, a table saw taper jig made quick work of the tapers. The legs are glued to the apron with Walnut Miller dowels.

The legs slip into notches in the top frame:

I originally wasn’t intending to use knock down bolts but decided to use them to eliminate the wobble from the legs not being tight in the notches.

The leg edges have a 22.5 bevel as a way to make them look less stubby. Originally, the top support ends were going to be angled but they looked to stubby as well so I used a french curve to make a graceful curve. The edges were also beveled to eliminate the stubby look of square edges. The top was also beveled to match the other edge details.

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

20 comments so far

View JimYoung's profile


399 posts in 2561 days

#1 posted 01-10-2021 04:45 PM

Clever, well thought out design. Lots of simple details bring it all together.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View WhattheChuck's profile


449 posts in 4534 days

#2 posted 01-10-2021 04:46 PM

That looks great, and the knockdown part looks a whole lot easier than what I did on mine for my son!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View Keebler1's profile


1317 posts in 682 days

#3 posted 01-10-2021 05:09 PM

Nice job

View oldrivers's profile


2427 posts in 2541 days

#4 posted 01-10-2021 05:17 PM

Very nice, good job.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Andre's profile


4124 posts in 2780 days

#5 posted 01-10-2021 05:31 PM

Lucky Daughter, Very Lucky! Must be your Favorite:)

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View swirt's profile


5871 posts in 3946 days

#6 posted 01-10-2021 05:44 PM

That is a great looking design. Well done.

-- Galootish log blog,

View jdh122's profile


1216 posts in 3792 days

#7 posted 01-10-2021 07:27 PM

Nice desk. Many students move at least twice a year through college, so furniture that will fit in the trunk of a car is a great idea.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View EarlS's profile


4215 posts in 3322 days

#8 posted 01-10-2021 08:17 PM

Lucky Daughter, Very Lucky! Must be your Favorite:)

- Andre

Her older sister got a built in desk/bookcase earlier this winter and then she also asked for a side table for her room for Christmas. I’m just thrilled that they want me to build furniture for them.

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

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile (online now)


2412 posts in 521 days

#9 posted 01-10-2021 08:47 PM

Very elegant, sleek design. Super job.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: The Big Bang: Nothing - exploded into Everything. Thanks to Nothing.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6663 posts in 1556 days

#10 posted 01-10-2021 09:35 PM

Nice little desk, Earl! Do college students even have books to put on a desk any more, or is it just a laptop that’ll go on there?

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View duckmilk's profile


4422 posts in 2298 days

#11 posted 01-10-2021 10:19 PM

I like your design. The knock down solution is a clever idea.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View kajunkraft's profile


193 posts in 3184 days

#12 posted 01-11-2021 12:07 AM

Great way to go.

View anthm27's profile


1802 posts in 2084 days

#13 posted 01-11-2021 12:31 AM

A very worthy Daily Top 3, Great work Earl and Happy New Year

-- There is no hope for any of us if we keep apologizing for telling the truth.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8259 posts in 1686 days

#14 posted 01-11-2021 12:40 AM

cleaver idea Earl I like it simplicity I also like the finish GREAT JOB :<)))) GRATZ TOP 3

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

View Peteybadboy's profile


2857 posts in 2923 days

#15 posted 01-11-2021 11:12 AM

Very nice!

-- Petey

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