Work-Assembly - Outfeed-Storage Table: Repurposed Steel Desk

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Project by Jeff posted 07-30-2008 06:34 AM 16473 views 17 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It’s been a while since I made a project contribution to the site but after a little consideration I decided this reclamation project was a good candidate for “One Man’s Junk”. My father-in-law had an old steel desk from the 60s or 70s hanging around and asked me to post it on Craigslist and get rid of it and outta the spare garage (half of which houses my shop). Well, after two listings we had no takers and it just sat on its end on a dolly and I had to wheel it in and out every time i worked in the shop.

Flash forward to this spring and my plans to build an all-in-one outfeed table, work station, chop saw stand, planer stand, router table. I have some plans I heard about here on the site but they call for quite a bit of MDF and I’m not convinced I want to deal with all the toxic dust it creates. The other problem was what would I do with the old desk to make room for the tool/work station. Then, it dawned on me I had the basis for the tool station in the old desk. I talked to my FIL about letting me take the desk off his hands. He said that would be great and wouldn’t even take a penny for it.

I figured I could get some plywood and bolt it too any surface that I wanted to use as a surface to attach shelf mounts, hooks, etc. I also figured there was a way to get it onto some casters even though the legs were only 1 inch square. A little work in SketchUp and I was ready to go.

SketchUp design for modifications to desk

It’s not quite fully enhanced as per the SU plan but I was so happy to have it operational that I moved on to other projects so I could put it to use. I have some ideas for ways to incorporate some movable platforms (anchored in T-tracks) to function as outboard platform extensions for my chop saw and planer. The t-track approach would allow me to securely lock down the platforms with toilet bolts and knobs thus avoiding the handles of clamps getting in the way. This modification is “under development” for now though.

As for the table saw outfeed usage, I really lucked out. The height of the table is just a little less than 3/4 of an inch shy of my saw’s height. Just perfect for using another ‘salvaged’ item. I recently picked up two 30×42 x 3/4 drawing table tops for $25 total cost from a local surplus and salvage store. These are nice tops with the white super-slick laminate. One of them is used to take up the gap between top of the desk and the table saw. It works really well.

desk used as outfeed table

detail of outfeed usage

1 Steel Desk – FREE
2 4×8 sheets 7/16” OSB – $8 each
6 linear feet of construction lumber – FREE leftovers from the New-Fangled workbench project
4 3-inch casters – about $25 – purchased at big sale at Woodcraft earlier this year
Various lag, machine, and hex bolts and their washers and nuts for attaching the OSB and casters – about $35 (some new, some on hand)
Increased storage, mobility, and flexibility in my small shop – worth it!

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

29 comments so far

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 5210 days

#1 posted 07-30-2008 07:03 AM

Super job

-- jeanmarc manosque france

View Joe Brumley's profile

Joe Brumley

70 posts in 5276 days

#2 posted 07-30-2008 07:17 AM

Nice repurposing of the desk, Jeff. It’s great that you were able to help out the FIL and tidy up your shop. I like that you used sketchup to work out the details. It reminds me that I should use it for even the little things and by doing so I will become more familiar with it.

-- Joe, Indiana,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27248 posts in 5315 days

#3 posted 07-30-2008 12:03 PM

This is a nice job of re-purposing on the desk. You got a nice, as well as needed, piece of shop furniture for under $100 and helped your father-in-law get rid of an unwanted desk. Sounds like a winning combination to me.

Great job, Jeff.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5793 days

#4 posted 07-30-2008 01:14 PM

What a great recycling job, & it looks real handy.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View trifern's profile


8134 posts in 5261 days

#5 posted 07-30-2008 01:27 PM

Nice solution to both of your issues. Thank you for sharing Jeff.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 5485 days

#6 posted 07-30-2008 01:37 PM

Very Nice Jeff…. I really like the fact that it’s mobile.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 5292 days

#7 posted 07-30-2008 02:28 PM

As always, I am a fan of taking what normally would be discarded and turning it to gold

-- making sawdust....

View SteveKorz's profile


2140 posts in 5207 days

#8 posted 07-30-2008 03:04 PM

I agree with Motthunter… I like taking something that nobody really wants and making somthing that they want. Great job on this project… very functional. The original desk actually looks like it was in reasonable shape to start with. Very creative, I like it a lot.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4074 posts in 5557 days

#9 posted 07-30-2008 06:14 PM

Harvest gold rides again!
What were those 70’s designers thinking! I guess you can be glad it wasn’t Avocado green. In the printing business I’ve even seen a multi-spindle paper drill in powder coated Harvest gold.

Seriously, though, I think this is genius, especially the solution to the caster problem. And I like the power strips and the on-board storage. Good job, Jeff.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

798 posts in 5326 days

#10 posted 07-30-2008 06:17 PM

I would not have thought of using an old steel desk that way. Kudos for thinking outside the box!

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View gizmodyne's profile


1785 posts in 5583 days

#11 posted 07-30-2008 06:17 PM

Great repurposing. I think you have room for another shelf down at the casters. Is it heavy?

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Timber4fun's profile


218 posts in 5094 days

#12 posted 07-30-2008 06:18 PM

Very creative. I would guess that desk is rock solid. Should give you a great deal of work surface. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

-- Tim from Iowa City, IA

View jm82435's profile


1286 posts in 5236 days

#13 posted 07-30-2008 09:49 PM

I am glad to see I am not alone…
I repurposed a free desk from the local high school too. I intend on using it in the same manner:

repurposed desk

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5482 days

#14 posted 07-30-2008 09:52 PM

Nice and functional!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Texasgaloot's profile


465 posts in 5194 days

#15 posted 07-30-2008 10:09 PM

Makes a bottom-feeder’s heart warm…

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

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