Concrete Top/Solid Core Panel Door Executive Desk

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Project by NaptownWood posted 07-29-2013 12:20 AM 5247 views 18 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I got this idea from a home blog that I stumbled onto last week. I needed a bigger desk when I moved to the dual monitor setup, and I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a nice big cherry or mahogany desk.

So, off to the construction remodel resale warehouse. Found this old big unfinished solid wood door, its 96” x 30”. its huge and heavy already, but it was about to get heavier…I was lucky, the door only had 4 shallow mortises for the hinges on one side, and they hadn’t drilled for the door handle yet. I think it was poplar, but I wasn’t sure. The door had one large panel in the middle with a small bead trim around that, it was about 3/4” deep. The panel was likely about 3/8” thick….............. $40

Then, off to the home store for some cheap pine 2×6 boards and one premium Douglas Fir 2×4 for the trestle. I also picked up 8 large lag bolts and the nuts and washers, the stain and a quart of gloss polyurethane, three bags of concrete, and one pint of terra cotta concrete colorant…............70$

I cut up the pine boards with the miter saw, and put the angles on them as well, I made a jig with one of the boards for the bolt holes, and clamped them one by one in the drill press. I marked out where the mortises went in the legs for the trestle, and used a forstner bit for the bulk, and then cleaned up with chisels. Yes, I cut mortises into construction grade 2×6’s. I didn’t cut pins to hold the trestle taught, four 3” decks screws in from the back did the trick.

For the top, you screw about 50 1” screws up from the bottom of the panel to serve as the rebar in the concrete mold. Then, you mix up the concrete very thin and add the colorant, tape off the wood with painters tape, and pour. This table took 80 pounds of concrete, two whole bags. You mix it very thin so that you can then take a hammer and bang the hell out of the sides of the table to jiggle the concrete flat and remove any bubbles. It dries fairly smooth. I didn’t have to sand or grind it at all.

The stain is a rustoleum “kona” dark stain. never tried it, but it works great. The pine didn’t take it perfectly, no surprise there, but the door took it awesome, it looks like a weathered old antique oak door. Then three coats of poly, with steel wool in between. I went right over the concrete as well for sealant. I stained it and poly’d it assembled. I’m not sure you could do it another way due to the logistics of the concrete top and not trying to crack it.

Up close the concrete looks surprisingly like one of those old leather top desks. I’m stunned at how well this thing turned out for about $100 bucks. Some one could use it as a dining room table if they wanted to it’s so huge and looks pretty darn good.

-- Witty signature line still pending

12 comments so far

View NaptownWood's profile


293 posts in 2784 days

#1 posted 07-29-2013 12:30 AM

oh, I just realized that in the pictures if you zoom in, you can see a bit of the shop. The new Grizzly 17” anniversary edition band saw. awesome. The craftsman 150 drill press, off craigslist and cleaned up. The oscillating spindle sander, which is sitting on the built in router table. you can see the router under the table. There’s a reloading setup in the corner of that workbench as well. In pic 2 I believe you can see the bottom of the 1959 Rockwell/Delta 9” table saw and 4’ jointer combo machine, an oldie but goodie, and the 18” Buffalo Forge 500 pound drill press, which is for sale if YOU move it :)

In the first pic, you can just barely see the new upper shelving unit. There’s about 150 square feet of additional storage hanging from the ceiling of the garage, suspended by cables.

-- Witty signature line still pending

View yrob's profile


340 posts in 4564 days

#2 posted 07-29-2013 12:59 AM

Your new desk unit look great. Using concrete was an interesting idea. A little bit of overkill for putting two desktop monitors on it, but hey this looks great and obviously will be durable.

-- Yves

View matts_dad's profile


63 posts in 3571 days

#3 posted 07-29-2013 01:37 AM

NaptownWood – A number of years ago I built a cement top pool table using a pour in place technique as you did. However, cement shrinks as it dries and I ended up with a surface even with the frame around the edge but with a slight concave belly in the middle. It made for an interestingly acting pool table until I busted it apart after a couple of years of use.

Guess I should have poured it upside down on a flat surface and then figured out how to right the whole thing up into place.

Looks like you had better results than I did. – I admire your ingenuity.

-- Barry

View NaptownWood's profile


293 posts in 2784 days

#4 posted 07-29-2013 01:46 AM


It did exactly as yours did, but on the desk, it works great to keep pens and pencils from rolling off. It is probably cupped down 1/8th inch. Quickcrete makes stuff called expansion concrete, which will not retract as it dries, but it would have cost about 5x as much. Theres little tiny hairline cracks in it, but since the ting cant ever really settle like a slab on the ground, the cracks dont appear to grow past the hairline phase, and it just adds some more character.

-- Witty signature line still pending

View wb8nbs's profile


164 posts in 3604 days

#5 posted 07-29-2013 03:33 AM

Did you seal the wood before you poured the concrete? I’d think the door would swell from the moisture and cause problems as it dried out. (maybe why NaptownWood had a concave pool table).

-- The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

View NaptownWood's profile


293 posts in 2784 days

#6 posted 07-29-2013 03:37 AM

I didnt seal it. I knew i was going to poly the top, and the moisture had to leave the concrete somehow, so i didnt seal the panel, or the bottom of the door at all. Im hoping that since it is a panel door, some expansion and/or contraction will be acceptable—-we’ll see….

I can say that there was no moisture wicking through the underside of the panel when the crete was poured, or the next day, so maybe all is well.

-- Witty signature line still pending

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4487 days

#7 posted 07-29-2013 04:13 AM

It came out really cool.

View Vince's profile


1274 posts in 4341 days

#8 posted 07-29-2013 12:47 PM

What type of concrete did you use?
Nice work

-- Vince

View NaptownWood's profile


293 posts in 2784 days

#9 posted 07-29-2013 02:18 PM

it said that it would dry smoother, and had vinyl polymer mixed in it, plus there were no large aggregates in the mix, and it was cheap.

-- Witty signature line still pending

View BusterBrown's profile


41 posts in 2727 days

#10 posted 07-29-2013 05:16 PM

Nice! I made a standing height desk out of an old door (particle board surrounding by solid wood) and thought it was pretty heavy. 80 lbs of concrete certainly takes things to another level. I like what you did for the trestle. I used a 2×2 on mine and wonder if it will last. I might copy your idea if mine doesn’t hold up.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2918 days

#11 posted 07-29-2013 08:06 PM

” it’s so huge and looks pretty darn good.”

Yep, and you better make sure it’s where you want it the first time you set it down… I’ll bet it takes 4 men to move it! LOL

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Vince's profile


1274 posts in 4341 days

#12 posted 07-30-2013 09:27 AM

Thanks NaptownWood,
I have been wanting to make a patio table and I think your table style will work out great.

-- Vince

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