Standing desk

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Project by Derakon posted 01-31-2013 12:51 AM 1842 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A friend of mine started a business making standing desks that can hang onto doors and the like. Unfortunately useless for me since there’s nothing at work I could hook onto (and at home I use a desktop computer), but it inspired me to take my first stab at real furniture.

This was a learning experience in many ways. Some things I learned:

  • If your piece has four points of support, then it will be very hard to keep it from rocking. Not just the piece as a whole here, but also the individual shelves each have four points of support.
  • Brass screws are pretty but they’re also very soft, so you can’t use a lot of torque to get them into position (a.k.a. drill slightly larger pilot holes than usual). Two screws in particular “rounded off” the grips in their heads before getting driven into position.
  • On a related note, buy more screws than you think you’ll need.
  • The Kreg jig I ordered to place the holes for the shelf pins includes a 1/4” drillbit. 1/4” is too big; the pins (standard 1/4” dealies) were loose in their holes and could potentially slip out in early iterations.
  • On a related note, it’s very easy to put your shelf holes in “upside down” (as if you’d gone top-to-bottom instead of bottom-to-top). Measure twice, cut once, as always. At least I avoided having the holes on the wrong side of the board!
  • The forward shelf supports need to be held at a fixed distance to each other, or else they’ll tend to splay outwards, making for an overall trapezoidal shape. In fact the forward-left support still does this a bit even after I added more reinforcement, because the wood isn’t straight. I wish I’d noticed that when I started.
  • Make shelves a bit bigger than you think you need them to be. I measured 24” for the keyboard and (trackball) mouse when I was laying this out, but didn’t realize that my hand extends out to the side of the mouse when I’m using it, so I’m a bit squeezed here.
  • The square-cross-section boards with the dados should really extend a bit further out from the boards they’re holding in position. I had to glue those boards back together several times after carelessness in fitting tests resulted in the 1/2” ends snapping off.
  • On a related note, check for cracks in the wood before you do much with it. The forward cross-piece had a small crack in one end; of course that snapped off as soon as I tried to drill the pilot hole for a screw into it.

Still, when all’s said and done it works, and most of the ugly bits are on the side that people don’t look at. Of course, while I was working this afternoon a coworker stopped by and noted that I could have just asked the Health & Safety department to get me a commercial one! Oh well…

Made from oak, poplar & ash (the long cross-pieces), and purpleheart, finished with tung oil.

4 comments so far

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

6226 posts in 3555 days

#1 posted 01-31-2013 02:21 PM

Neat Idea! Looks great!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2378 days

#2 posted 01-31-2013 04:01 PM

Great build and nice wood. Nice set up for a busy wood worker.


View GrandpaLen's profile


1651 posts in 2474 days

#3 posted 01-31-2013 07:05 PM


I like the design features, well executed and nice Fit and Finish.

‘Two screws in particular “rounded off” the grips in their heads before getting driven into position.’

Here’s a tip I learned from my Grandfather;

When using Brass Screws buy 1 or 2 steel screws, the same size. Drill the standard sized pilot hole for that size screw, wax (parafin) the steel screw and seat it to the final depth. Remove the steel screw and replace it with your Brass Screw. You have then relagated the torque task to the stronger steel screw.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Derakon's profile


89 posts in 2369 days

#4 posted 01-31-2013 07:08 PM

That’s a good idea, thanks Grandpa. I’ll have to keep it in mind for next time.

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