Desk rebuild #3: Starting to take a new shape

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Blog entry by Ben posted 08-20-2009 05:50 AM 1463 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Apron construction, etc Part 3 of Desk rebuild series Part 4: Set backs »

I pushed through on my last vacation days and got the base of the desk re-assembled. I assembled all but the back strip with pocket screws. It is pretty strong right now, but I think I will back it up with some corner braces just to keep it from pulling apart over the years.

The original desk had one drawer, so you can see one mahogany drawer slide and one poplar.

I am a little nervous that the front of the desk will not have enough strength, especially with people pushing off of it to stand up. I am not sure how much I can really do about it. I could add an additional cross piece, but that won’t significantly reduce the potential sag. The original desk had extra rungs crossing the top on the short length. That probably adds to the overall strength, but not much when pushing down on the desk. Any ideas would be appreciated. Ultimately, it probably will be strong enough with the top on.

As for the finish, I ordered some Waterlox. I have never used it before, but it has very good reviews, and was originally designed for floors. It will probably protect the wood better than the original finish of 50 years ago.

Initial assembly complete

4 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117126 posts in 3604 days

#1 posted 08-20-2009 05:52 AM

interesting project

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View floyd3's profile


6 posts in 3229 days

#2 posted 08-20-2009 06:43 AM

If the top is fairly substantial, it could help distribute the “push-off” weight to the legs. However, I think I see the top sitting on your bench in the background and it looks fairly thin, like the base. A bit problematic, methinks.

-- "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." A. Einstein

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3700 days

#3 posted 08-20-2009 12:20 PM

Going to be a nice desk.

View cpollock's profile


34 posts in 3441 days

#4 posted 08-21-2009 04:23 AM

If you are really concerned about it, you could consider gluing a couple 1” strips of wood to the inside of the front on the top and bottom, mimicking an “I” beam. Strength there will do the most to fight flexing and yet still clear your drawers.
I like your idea of adding diagonal corner braces. I don’t know that that will do anything for the push-off problem, but it won’t hurt.
Looking good so far, nice work!

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