Is this a good design for a desk?

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Forum topic by Maverick44spec posted 12-08-2017 06:24 AM 1112 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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391 posts in 3534 days

12-08-2017 06:24 AM

Hi fellas.

I’m on a bit of a budget, but I need a corner desk for my computer. I was just going to get a cheap pre-made one since the desk is only going to be temporary (a few years). The problem I ran into is that none of the ones I looked at really fit in the space it’s going to go, and the ones that did were too small for my liking, so what’s a woodworker to do but what he does best? :D

I have a design (seen below) that is designed to be as cheap and simple as possible, but (I think) sturdy enough to support all the electronics that are going to be on it. The legs and frame are going to be made out of 2×4s, the corner support will be two 2×6s, and the table top is 1” thick pine boards. The plan is to make it so that this thing is disassemble-able because its pretty big. I was going to use mainly pocket holes to join the boards. One table is 4’ long, the other is 7’ long, it’s 29” tall, and the tabletop is 23” wide.

It’s not the most elegant design, but I think it looks alright. A little stain might give it a nice rustic look, and it’s definitely functional. The main thing I need to be absolutely sure of is, it HAS TO BE STURDY. I cannot stress that enough. The majority of the weight will be in the corner. It’s going to hold three 24” monitors, a pretty heavy tower, a printer, speakers, ect. Not the sort of stuff you want falling to the ground.

Let me know your thoughts. I’d like to keep the cost around $100-$150 if possible. With this design, the lumber will cost around $82. I think I can get the whole thing finished for just over $100.


(4X) 28.25”
(4X) 16”
(2X) 41”
(2X) 77”
(1X) 21.25”
(1X) 45”
(1X) 81”
(1X) 24.25”


(2X) 28.25”

Pine Boards (8” wide, 1” thick)

(1X) 48”
(1X) 40.25”
(1X) 32.5”
(1X) 84”
(1X) 76.25”
(1X) 68.5”

-- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein

21 replies so far

View ScottM's profile


756 posts in 3196 days

#1 posted 12-08-2017 01:22 PM

I think it looks ok. It looks as though you have good support in the back corner and under that corner joint to the rounded front corner so I think you’ll be good. You mentioned staining it. Just remember that the pine you use for the top will most likely come out looking different than the 2x lumber you use for the legs.

View bondogaposis's profile


5972 posts in 3401 days

#2 posted 12-08-2017 01:46 PM

It will work but using 2×4s for the legs is way over built. 1×4s would be plenty strong enough.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Texcaster's profile


1293 posts in 2723 days

#3 posted 12-08-2017 02:36 PM

If you house the corner block you can avoid feather edges. It doesn’t take much, 10 or 20mm.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 1641 days

#4 posted 12-08-2017 03:09 PM

The week part is two front legs that have no support from the back-forth movement.
Make them from two joined at 90 degrees boards like the rest of the legs.
I would also add apron at the front of the table but that might interfere with your intent of using it.

View splintergroup's profile


4959 posts in 2272 days

#5 posted 12-08-2017 03:30 PM

The only weak spot I can see is the miter joining the two wings. It all comes down to the bending strength of that lap joint.

View Tony1212's profile


511 posts in 2784 days

#6 posted 12-08-2017 04:27 PM

Would it be even cheaper if you used MDF or plywood instead of the pine boards? Keep the bracing the same (you might be able to get rid of the diagonal part). Then you could cut the diameter of of the corner right into the sheet good and have a flat work surface with no joints for your pen or pencil to get caught in.

The dimensions show 4×7. You’d have extra from a 4×8 sheet for other projects, then as well. But I didn’t take the time to price it out, so I may be completely off base here.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View Bill_Steele's profile


762 posts in 2781 days

#7 posted 12-08-2017 04:41 PM

I think the design looks sound. I would not suggest using Pine—it’s very soft and will likely get dented/damaged easily. I would suggest plywood—a finished plywood—and some hardwood edging.

Another option might be to install wall standards and support brackets (for shelving)—heavy duty 2 hook support brackets—you can get long ones around 20” in length—and then just build a plywood top for it—maybe double thickness—MDF + plywood. It would be like a giant shelf—with no legs. That’s what I did.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17268 posts in 3668 days

#8 posted 12-08-2017 04:56 PM

The only change I would suggest considering is turning the 2×4 bracing underneath by 90 degrees to better resist the downward force (weight) of the PC and your arms, elbows. Boards ‘on-edge’ have more downward rigidity that boards ‘on the flat.’

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View htl's profile


5375 posts in 2209 days

#9 posted 12-08-2017 05:13 PM

As Smithy said and you could move the brace back a little so it don’t show from above.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View jerkylips's profile


495 posts in 3620 days

#10 posted 12-08-2017 05:22 PM

I would use plywood for the top – it’s going to be much more rigid across an unsupported span than dimensional lumber.

View LesB's profile


2944 posts in 4492 days

#11 posted 12-08-2017 06:04 PM

I agree on using plywood for the top. The cost would probably be less cost than clear pine. You can cover the edge grain with a thin strip of wood (sliced of a 2×4) that would bend through the corner curve or there are vinyl edge covers available. If you still have a concern about weight in the corner you can add a diagonal brace from the bottom back corner up to the 2×4 cross joint.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Maverick44spec's profile


391 posts in 3534 days

#12 posted 12-10-2017 07:12 PM

Sorry I didn’t respond sooner. It’s been crazy the last few days.

I thought everything over and this is what I ended up coming up with. Price wise, it’s still in the same ballpark. For the legs, I’m going to miter two 2×4s together to ensure that any movement in any direction is not going to effect this desk. I’m going to stick with the 2×4s because overbuilt is a good thing for this. It gives me more peace of mind.

The top will be replaced with plywood. The underside brace will stay pretty much the same except that it will be moved in an extra 1/2” to accommodate the new leg design. It will be less visible from above this way as well. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can turn them on their side without altering the height of the desk (which is already the perfect height for me). The underside would be a bit cramped for me if I left it as is and did that. If I need to, I can always add more support to the brace. I think since I’m using plywood instead of pine, it’ll be fine.

So here’s the design now. Hows it look?

-- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein

View Maverick44spec's profile


391 posts in 3534 days

#13 posted 12-10-2017 07:17 PM

Oh, I forgot to say that the large wing of the desk will not have much weight on it. The majority of the weight will be on the corner and the short wing.

-- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein

View htl's profile


5375 posts in 2209 days

#14 posted 12-10-2017 07:30 PM

Looking good.
I was think you could always add a brace coming up from the inside corner and have it mounted where the 2×4 meet for added support in the middle.
In my experience their legs don’t really go under the desk that for.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3346 days

#15 posted 12-10-2017 07:31 PM

Your stringers in the front should be vertical as well so the top doesn’t sag.

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