Custom Computer Desk

  • Advertise with us
Project by Lenny posted 10-27-2013 12:50 PM 2529 views 4 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a custom computer desk I was commissioned to make. The husband of the couple gave this to the wife (Steff) as a gift. They had a store-bought pressed wood desk in their study and she always wanted a nice desk. I was asked to make the desk within specific dimensions dictated by where it will sit in the room. It is 66 inches long and 39 inches wide along the left edge. It is 26 inches wide at the right hand edge. The drawer component is 24 inches square and the desk top sits at 28 inches from the floor.

This was not a surprise gift. Steff had major input in the groundwork for the desk. Between photos she shared with me and ideas/photos I brought to the meeting, we came up with a modified version of a computer desk designed by Charles Durfee that appeared in a Fine Woodworking specialty magazine titled, “33 Furniture Projects”. Durfee is a professional furniture maker in Woolwich, ME. At one point in the project I contacted him to ask a few questions and he graciously answered them. He created a wonderful design and a beautiful desk. Steff decided that cherry was her choice of wood. I opted to make the desk top and panels from cherry veneer plywood, a departure from Durfee’s completely solid wood desk. My primary means of joinery (the panels, internal frames and stretchers) is mortise and tenon. The internal frames of the drawer component sit in dadoes milled into the side panels. The drawers are made from ½ inch Baltic birch plywood and ride on full-extension draw slides.

I wrapped the desk top in solid cherry. It is attached to the under structure with screws. However, even though it isn’t expected to move much, if at all, I elongated the screw holes. True to Durfee’s desk, I added a sliding keyboard shelf as well as a pull out writing surface. The structure in the final photo is a shelf on which the printer/scanner/copier will sit. Steff will store her reams of paper beneath it. Durfee indicated in the magazine that he had good success with Minwax Antique Oil Finish when working with cherry so I decided to give it a try. It is an oil/varnish mix that can be brushed or wiped on. I applied three coats and it leaves a satin look to the piece. I wanted a tad more sheen so I topped it with a coat of Watco Satin Finishing wax.

This piece provided several challenges and its share of “bumps in the road”. I estimate that I put in 150 hours making it. I delivered it yesterday and all involved are pleased!

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

31 comments so far

View gsimon's profile


1272 posts in 2140 days

#1 posted 10-27-2013 01:03 PM

can’t beat custom – nice work!

-- Greg Simon

View Woodwrecker's profile


4154 posts in 3602 days

#2 posted 10-27-2013 02:15 PM

Great work Lenny !
That came out beautifully, and looks like it’ll function perfectly.
The finish really catches the eye as well.
They knew the right guy to do the work !

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3529 days

#3 posted 10-27-2013 02:57 PM

Great Job Lenny!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3330 days

#4 posted 10-27-2013 03:00 PM

beautiful lenny, you sure nailed this on the finished end, we all have ups and downs, on projects, we just hope its not to expensive of a learning opportunity lol, was there a certain reason you didnt go solid wood all the way, just wondered.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Lenny's profile


1596 posts in 3554 days

#5 posted 10-27-2013 03:28 PM

Thanks guys. Funny you should ask that Grizz. If I were to change anything on the project it would be a solid wood top. The biggest bump in the road was that I sanded through the veneer in not one but two places! My thought in going with ply in the first place was not having to deal with movement of the desk top.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3459 days

#6 posted 10-27-2013 04:51 PM

Wow! That really came out beautiful! Stunning piece… and think of all you learned ;-)

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View MT_Stringer's profile


3172 posts in 3258 days

#7 posted 10-27-2013 04:56 PM

Good job. That is beautiful.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Lenny's profile


1596 posts in 3554 days

#8 posted 10-27-2013 05:05 PM

Thanks Ellen. I wish I didn’t need to learn so much…it’s mentally and emotionally painful. Thank you MT_Stringer

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3850 days

#9 posted 10-27-2013 06:06 PM

Nicely done my friend , that Cherry real looks wonderful and should age fantastic. Doing piece this large real gives woodworkers a real thrill. I know you spent plenty of time setting up your shop and project like this bring a real sense of accomplishment , I’m very happy to see you work paying off thanks for sharing…Wilson

View Spencer's profile


30 posts in 2082 days

#10 posted 10-27-2013 09:22 PM

looks great!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18290 posts in 3703 days

#11 posted 10-27-2013 11:09 PM

Nice job.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Lenny's profile


1596 posts in 3554 days

#12 posted 10-28-2013 01:12 AM

Thank you Wilson. Much appreciated. Thank you Bob and sch46.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4104 days

#13 posted 10-28-2013 02:19 AM

truly beautiful!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Woodenwizard's profile


1331 posts in 3070 days

#14 posted 10-28-2013 02:43 AM

WOW! And if you say it backwards, WOW! A very nice piece of furniture. Nice little features like the pull out writing surface and the keyboard tray. I have a similar computer desk but it does not have the keyboard tray. Maybe something I should add.

Looks like you have put that new sawstop saw to good use. How are you liking it? My son, Troy just purchased the sawstop contractors saw version. He hopes to get a shop going at his place. It will give me something to do when I visit.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View Lenny's profile


1596 posts in 3554 days

#15 posted 10-28-2013 03:10 AM

Thank you Matt and John. What’s not to like John? The Sawstop is a top-notch, quality saw. Assuming the contractor versions are the same, you’ll get to see for yourself at Troy’s.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

showing 1 through 15 of 31 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics