Building a desktop

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Forum topic by Gruff4531 posted 02-04-2016 03:59 PM 294 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 261 days

02-04-2016 03:59 PM

First of all this is a great site, although this is my first post I have searched through the forums many times before. Now to my question.

I am starting to build a L shaped desktop for my cousin, and it is about 9 feet and 6 feet and 22 inches wide. She wants me to use some existing walnut that was left over from her father (since past). She would like it to look/be 2” thick so to maximize the walnut on hand I am considering building a platform using 3/4 ply and then laminating/glueing 3/4 solid walnut to the top of the plywood and then covering the edges with basically a 2×2 of solid. I am thinking this will help keep the top more stable through the years. Am I thinking about this the right way?

All existing stock on hand is 1” to 3/4” and not enough to to build up entirely of solid to get 2” in thickness.

Thank you

4 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile


1519 posts in 557 days

#1 posted 02-04-2016 04:18 PM

Sounds like a good plan. Except I would attach the walnut to the ply with screws through oversized holes to allow for expansion/contraction rather than gluing them.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1770 days

#2 posted 02-04-2016 04:25 PM

No, that is a recipe for failure. The solid wood will move w/ every change in humidity, the plywood will not. The top will eventually develop cracks unless you allow for movement. Gluing it to plywood is not a good solution.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View isotope's profile


144 posts in 1043 days

#3 posted 02-04-2016 04:29 PM

I would not glue the solid walnut to the plywood. I think the seasonal movements will cause it to crack or warp. My suggestion for you would be to face glue each piece of walnut, to a piece of pine (something cheaper) resulting in a 2” thick piece. Then edge glue all these pieces together, using solid walnut pieces on the edges, to make your desktop. This will leave you with a top that looks like 2” solid walnut, unless you look underneath. Using this method, you could resaw your walnut to ~3/8” if you needed to stretch it out.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2263 posts in 1788 days

#4 posted 02-04-2016 05:12 PM

I’d ditch the plywood altogether and make slotted holes in some flat steel, or steel square tube, and use them as cleats front-to-back (22” long) spaced out along the top.and attach the glued up top from underneath. It’ll be easier to work with at this size, and will do a better job of keeping things flat over time. Double up the walnut on the edges to get the appearance of a thicker top.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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