This step by step diy article is about how to build a simple desk. If you need to a small desk that you could build by yourself in just a weekend, you should pay attention to this guide. There are many shapes and designs you could choose from, therefore you should select the plans that fit your needs properly. In this article we show simple building plans for a rustic desk, as anyone can get the job done, even without a solid background in the field.
Align the boards properly at both ends, if you want to obtain a professional result. Pre-drill the wooden components before inserting the screws, to prevent the wood from splitting. Use a carpentry square to make sure the corners are right-angled. In addition, you should plumb the sides of the desk, as well to make sure the top of the desk is horizontal. Make the joint more rigid, by applying glue to the edges of the components.
Buy quality lumber if you want to obtain a professional result from the very first attempt. Therefore, we recommend you to use cedar or redwood, making sure all the boards are perfectly straight and in a good condition. The boards should have a smooth surface, if you want to get a nice appearance. Work with good judgement and attention, in order to prevent costly mistakes.
- 4×4 lumber – Legs
- 1×3 lumber – Aprons
- 1×3 lumber – Stretcher
- 14 – 1/2” plywood – Desktop
- 2 1/2” wood screws – Screws
- Wood glue
- Safety gloves, glasses
- Miter saw saw, jigsaw
- Chalk line, tape measure, spirit level, carpentry pencil
- Drill machinery and drill bits
- Router, 1/4” round bit
- Pocket hole jig
- Pre-drill holes in the wooden components, before driving in the screws
- Smooth the exterior edges of the components, by using a router with a 1/4” bit
- One weekend
Building a wooden desk
Building a desk by your own is possible, if you select the right plans for your needs and use the right woodworking techniques. There are many shapes and designs you could choose from, but in this article we show you how to build a rustic desk with x-shaped legs.
Top Tip: Drill pilot holes in lumber before inserting the screws, to prevent the wood from splitting. Use a pocket hole jig, in order to obtain a professional result. Enhance the bond of the joints by adding glue to the edges of the components.
How to build a simple desk
The first step of the project is to build the legs of the desk. Cut the legs from 4×4 lumber, as in the image. In order to join X-shaped legs together, you have to notch them and to clean the recess with a chisel. The ends of the legs should be cut at 30º, to provide a good support to the desk.
Top Tip: All the four legs of the table should be perfectly equal, otherwise the top of the desk won’t be horizontal.
Drill pilot holes through the interior legs, about 1 1/2” from the edges. Add a wood glue to the recesses of the legs and join them tightly. Afterwards, drive in the 2 1/2” screws and clean the excess glue, using a dry cloth.
Top Tip: Proceed in the same manner to build the opposite side of the desk. Work on a level surface, if you want to obtain a professional result.
The next step of the project is to install the aprons of the desk. Therefore, build the side aprons from 1×3 lumber and secure them to the top of the legs, using 2 1/2” wood screws.
Plumb both sides of the desk and install the front and back aprons. Drill pocket holes trough the aprons and secure them to the side supports with 1 1/4” screws. Make sure the frame is perfectly horizontal, before inserting the nails.
Afterwards, attach the table top, making sure it is aligned properly. If you have a pocket hole jig, we recommend you to drill pilot holes trough the aprons (every 6”) and drive in 1 1/4” screws. Use thick plywood or MDF to build the top of of the desk, making sure you cut it accurately.
Otherwise, you could get the job done with 2” finish nails and a lot of glue. Place a heavy item on the top, to enhance the bond of the components.
In order to make the whole structure more rigid, we recommend you to attach the stretcher to the back of the desk and to lock it into place with 2 1/2” wood screws. Add glue to enhance the bond of the joints and countersink the head of the screws, in order to obtain a neat look.
Top Tip: Plumb both sides of the desk before attaching the stretcher, if you want to make sure the end result will be professional.
Last but not least, you have to take care of the finishing touches. Therefore, fill the holes with a good wood putty and let it dry out for at least several hours. Afterwards, sand the surface with medium-grit sandpaper.
Top Tip: Clean the residues with a dry cloth or a vacuum. Next, you have to apply a good primer or conditioner to the desk, before covering it with several coats of wood stain.
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