advice on raising the height of a desk

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Forum topic by jdh122 posted 07-09-2016 08:48 PM 1008 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1052 posts in 3019 days

07-09-2016 08:48 PM

I made this desk for a friend’s daughter about a year ago and she’s already about to outgrow it. He asked me if I could raise it to standard adult desk height. When I made it I intentionally left the legs square rather than tapering them (which I would usually do) cause I had a vague idea that it would make it possible to add height to it. Looking for any suggestions about how you’d go about this. Seems like I could probably make an extension that the current legs would fit into (probably by laminating and gluing around it). I want to make sure the new legs are permanent and very strong and also that they look decent.
Advice? suggestions?

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

15 replies so far

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4790 posts in 2511 days

#1 posted 07-09-2016 09:27 PM

You for the “KEY” piece of information.

How many inches do you intend to extend the legs???

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View TMGStudioFurniture's profile


55 posts in 1021 days

#2 posted 07-09-2016 09:32 PM

My general approach would be to try and accomplish two things at once, by asking: how can I add a design element that would also add to the height? For example, maybe add a tapered foot of a contrasting wood.

I would think that whatever you do could be attached with a decent sized dowel.

You might look at some furniture books for a design element that could be used to raise the table, too. I really like this book:


View bondogaposis's profile


5091 posts in 2553 days

#3 posted 07-09-2016 09:34 PM

I would use some contrasting wood to make it look like a design element. I would use a dowel that is roughly 1/2 the width of the legs to join them. You could also taper them.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Kazooman's profile


1238 posts in 2154 days

#4 posted 07-09-2016 09:54 PM

+1 with Bondo on using a contrasting wood. Something much darker than the original wood. Any attempt to blend the same wood into the existing legs will stick out like a sore thumb. However, in relation to the chair next to the desk it does look like this one needs to go up quite a bit. You can try some mock-ups to see how it looks, but I would imagine anything more than about four inches is going to look more like a patch than a designed foot. I know why you used the square legs, but I have never liked that look. I don’t think making it taller is going to help with that design issue.

Perfect excuse to build her a new adult size desk and let her store this one for her own kids to use somewhere down the road.

View jdh122's profile


1052 posts in 3019 days

#5 posted 07-09-2016 10:16 PM

It only needs to come up by about 4-5 inches, as it currently sits at 26 inches. I definitely agree with everyone that it would be best not to try to blend the added part in and should rather try to make it a design element. I’ll have to look around at images to see for ideas. Leaning toward a tapered foot of some kind, I guess.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View CaptainSkully's profile


1602 posts in 3760 days

#6 posted 07-09-2016 10:26 PM

Contrasting wood spacers on the bottom of the legs (smart to leave them square), then tweak the drawer pull with the same accent wood. Finished piece will look like it was designed that way from the beginning. Also, maybe same contrasting wood breadboard ends depending on how top is constructed.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2209 days

#7 posted 07-09-2016 10:38 PM

How are the legs attached? Might be possible to knock the current legs off, and make new ones in the desired length.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2209 days

#8 posted 07-09-2016 10:39 PM

Or wait! What about cutting the current legs off about 1” below the desk skirt, and make new legs, using dowels, and this time tapering them?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View jdh122's profile


1052 posts in 3019 days

#9 posted 07-09-2016 10:48 PM

More interesting ideas.
The legs are attached to the aprons with mortises and tenons. And unless I’m a worse craftsman than I think, they’re not coming off without wrecking something. But somehow I never considered that I could cut the legs shorter and then add longer pieces. Interesting idea…

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View runswithscissors's profile


2892 posts in 2227 days

#10 posted 07-11-2016 06:39 AM

If you decide to add lengthened legs using dowels, a useful trick is to bore the holes somewhat larger than the dowels. Fill the resulting void with thickened epoxy. The advantage is that you don’t have to have perfectly centered, perfectly straight holes. Easy, it works well, and it doesn’t show.

I picture the top of the extension being somewhat larger than the existing leg’s bottom, then tapered (concave) curves down to a smaller foot. And a contrasting wood could look good too. Maybe a little bevel at the top of the extension to match the bottom of the existing leg.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View mahdee's profile


4021 posts in 1969 days

#11 posted 07-11-2016 10:48 AM

Can you make it into a floating table top?


View jdh122's profile


1052 posts in 3019 days

#12 posted 07-11-2016 11:27 AM

Thanks for the dowel tip, runs.
Mahdee: I suppose I could make it a floating top, but as a way to gain extra height, I’m not sure it would be that effective, since the bottom of the rails would remain where they are, meaning that only a child’s chair could be used.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Dustin's profile


597 posts in 942 days

#13 posted 07-11-2016 01:19 PM

Cut the legs of the accompanying chair shorter?

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4291 days

#14 posted 07-11-2016 01:35 PM

Keep it simple. A couple of phone books under each leg.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View mahdee's profile


4021 posts in 1969 days

#15 posted 07-11-2016 02:10 PM

jdh122, I see what you mean. I have used threaded insert and threaded rod to raise desks before. Drill a hole in the table legs for the insert and in the extensions for the rod. Main thing is to align the extensions to the legs while the epoxy is still flexible.


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