Stand-up / Sit-down Desk

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Project by swirt posted 88 days ago 818 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I work full-time in front of my computer. Sitting all day is not supposed to be good for you, so a lot of people have been switching to stand-up desks as a way to get them off their duffs. I like the idea, but I have enough gray hair to know I likely can’t stand all day long without some other parts of my body complaining, so I wanted an adjustable desk that could allow me to sit or stand while I work. I also had the requirement that this adjustable portion had to fit inside the armoire desk that I currently use.

I had the idea to make this desk slide up and down on rails. As a locking mechanism I chose to use clutch plates from pipe clamps, which in turn, chose the material for the rails, 3/4” pipe.

Overall I am happy with the results. Fully loaded, the desk is fairly heavy so I do ponder if it would have been more manageable to use quick-grip type clamps for the mechanism and rails in place of the pipe clamps. I can move it ok with the pipe clamps but it is a bit clumsy. The desk does have a little bit of play in it so I will likely be adding a bracket or brace that goes from the surface to the underside of the pipe rail.

The Wood: Maple. It was from the side of an old maple dresser that had been ruined by too much time in a basement. My son and I refinished it with some scraping to remove the old finish and some planing to get it down to some fresh unstained wood.

The Finish: Shellac, wiped on with a bit of mineral oil.

The Mechanism: Deep reach pipe clamps sliding on 3/4” pipe rails angled to 20 degrees so that 14” of rise will cause it to retract 5”

Tools: card scraper, Stanley 81 Cabinet Scraper, Stanley #4 Smoothing plane with a Hock blade, drill press spinning a 1-1/8” Forstner bit, Makita cordless drill, Vaughan Ryoba (Bear saw)

More of the gory details of this stand-up / sit-down desk build

-- Galootish log blog,

10 comments so far

View Dave's profile


10914 posts in 1341 days

#1 posted 88 days ago

Dude good to see you.
Its been a while.
I have missed your wisdom and whit.
As we can see in this project.
Nice work and the helper looks like he is having a blast.
Brilliant use of pipe clamps.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View swirt's profile


1914 posts in 1473 days

#2 posted 88 days ago

Thanks Dave, It has taken me far too long to get my shop set back up and in working order since we moved nearly 3 years ago. This is pretty much the first thing to come out of it. The shavings and smell of shellac though have re-awaken me, so I hope to be doing more soon ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

View Roger's profile


13062 posts in 1305 days

#3 posted 88 days ago

nice idea

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


3845 posts in 793 days

#4 posted 88 days ago

Interesting solution.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Woodwrecker's profile


3470 posts in 2076 days

#5 posted 87 days ago

Now that is thinking outside the box.

And I agree with Dave.
It’s been too long.
Don’t wait three more years to share your talent.

-- Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Albert Einstein

View swirt's profile


1914 posts in 1473 days

#6 posted 87 days ago

Thanks Woodwrecker, I will try not to disappoint. ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

View mafe's profile


9231 posts in 1590 days

#7 posted 79 days ago

Wauuuuuu so nice to see you!
What a great idea and solution.
When I was working as an Architect I was working at a up down table and changed between standing and sitting, this is really good for the body.
So cool to see next generation working with you also.
Hope life is sweet to you.
Best thoughts,

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


14592 posts in 1368 days

#8 posted 79 days ago

An unusual design and nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View swirt's profile


1914 posts in 1473 days

#9 posted 78 days ago

Thanks Mads,
It is good to be coming back. I am amazed at how fast you got your new shop up and running—well done. I am enjoying working standing up at my new desk most of the time…. though I do have to find some more comfortable shoes ;)

Thanks Charles. I appreciate the encouragement.

-- Galootish log blog,

View mafe's profile


9231 posts in 1590 days

#10 posted 78 days ago

;-) smiles.

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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