First Blog - New Desk for a College Student

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Blog entry by MT_Stringer posted 05-16-2012 04:53 AM 2381 reads 1 time favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first blog, so be gentle. My nephew is graduating high school in a few weeks and I got inspired to make him a present instead of giving money or buying something cheesy. :-)

My inspiration came from a desk I used while staying overnight at a hotel. Below is a pic of the table with my laptop sitting on it. It is approx 22×36 inches with straight legs that have the corners chamfered at 45 deg.

After taking a closer look, I thought to myself…I can make that.
Here is a closer look…

After conferring with my sister, I got the OK to build my nephew the desk for college next year. I had some Maple plywood so all I needed was some stock for the legs. Living in the Houston area, I bought some poplar stock from Clarks Hardwood. I called upon a friend to help me straighten out the legs on his joiner (I don’t have one). The end result was four pieces squared off at 2 5/8 inches.

Leg preparation – I wasn’t really happy with the thickness, and finally gave in and bought a Dewalt 734 thickness planer. Man I love that thing. Worked perfect from the git-go. I started planing the stock until I had four exact sides on all four pieces at 2 1/2 inches.

Then I used my table saw to rip the four corners at a 45 deg angle. Still not completely happy with the end result, I ran ‘em through the planer some more until I had them perfectly square at 2 3/8 inches. Time to stop. Dalton is a big kid and I figured the legs would make a good support for the table. After a bout with the orbital sander, the legs were good to go…

I cut the top, and used maple edge banding all around. I cut a 2 inch hole for cables to pass under the desk if he sees the need. With the table upside down, I carefully measured and cut the rails to length. Bottom line, the top overhangs the legs exactly one inch. The rails are then inset 1/4 inch (I used 1/4 inch plywood as a spacer). Not being a real furniture maker or cabinet maker, I was pleasantly surprised to find I had evreything square and perfectly aligned.

Here is the project final test fit before assembly.

Don’t mind the junk in the garage! :-(

The weather hasn’t cooperated much in the last several days. I have the desk stained with MinWax Red Oak 215.


Oh, I almost forgot. No glue or nails on this project. Everything is screwed together with pocket screws.

I have applied several coats of Deft Clear Wood Finish (Glossy) and hopefully, I will get to put a few more on the top (sanding lightly in between the coats). It will be smoooth when I get through.

I will have more pics when I get the desk finished.

Hope you didn’t get bored reading through all of this stuff. It has been years since I did any serious woodwork. After retiring in 2008, I have been staying busy shooting high school sports for MaxPreps and Lone Star Christian Sports Network. I am not sure if I was getting burned out or just needed to take a break. But I have been having fun slinging sawdust…and enjoying a few new tools.

Note to all woodworkers: Power tools are a lot more affordable than the photography equipment I have purchased over the last few years!

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

1 comment so far

View rbrjr1's profile


170 posts in 174 days

#1 posted 12-07-2017 08:28 PM


I just picked up a 70-200 2.8 II this year and frikkin’ love that lens..
I’ve also got the 50mm 1.2 and it’s as amazing as everyone says..

-- only an idiot dismisses an intelligent statement because they dont know anything about the person delivering it.

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