LumberJocks

Need assistance for building a desk top spanning 80"

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by Tim posted 08-30-2016 06:13 PM 1353 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tim's profile

Tim

34 posts in 2677 days


08-30-2016 06:13 PM

Title says it all.

I’m building a home office for my wife and I have the base cabinets in. My plan is to build a clean and simple desk top to span the 80” between the base cabinets. I’ve attached photos to show you the basic concept.

I used 2×4’s for the side supports on the cabinets and 2×80x3/4” plywood strips for bracing. A photo only shows 2 but I have 4 installed using pocket hole joinery. The top is 3/4 melamine board from Lowes (I hate this crap).

The issue I’m having is that this is not a solid desktop and I believe will fail over time. With no weight on it I can put my 48” level on the top and see at least an 1/8” gap at the center so, it’s already sagging.

I want a solid desk top that will last decades and remain solid. I have no problem scrapping the melamine, all I wanted is the melamine, not the garbage particle board and found the sheets at Lowes. I cheaped out because the board was cheaper then just the sheets.

I’m seeking your guidance and experience here. I have zero problem starting over this portion of the project. The base cabinets have a depth of 22 1/2” and I’m looking for a desk top with a depth of 28-30”. I want a lot of real estate for this desk. Also, I want the top to be attached to the cabinets since I don’t want any legs.

Any thoughts, ideas, plans or input? I don’t really have a budget but I’m not looking to go crazy here.

-- Tim - Austin, TX


16 replies so far

View ErichK's profile

ErichK

53 posts in 129 days


#1 posted 08-30-2016 06:30 PM

I did this: http://www.grizzly.com/products/Solid-Maple-Workbench-Top-96-Wide-x-30-Deep-x-1-3-4-Thick/G9916?utm_campaign=zPage with my desk. It is CRAZY heavy, so you may need to give it legs depending on what the sides of the cabinet are made of.

Additionally, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to put a vertical brace along the back or something since you’re free-standing it.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4035 posts in 1817 days


#2 posted 08-30-2016 06:43 PM

The frame is necessary but it should be 3 1/2 inches wide for that span. The one you show in your photo doesn’t look wide enough. Get some pine 1×4’s from the BORG, that should be cheap and work well.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Tim's profile

Tim

34 posts in 2677 days


#3 posted 08-31-2016 03:23 AM

Thanks for the input, I’ll try thicker supports first.

-- Tim - Austin, TX

View RobS888's profile

RobS888

1986 posts in 1310 days


#4 posted 08-31-2016 04:53 AM

Consider using 2 inch black pipe. I made a desk spanning a 10’ room for my wife. I had cleats along three sides, but it sagged a bit, so I put a pipe right across about 8 inches from the front edge. I used a forstner bit to make holes for it in the side cleats ( one was just a circle and one was U shaped to get the pipe in) it lasted 10 years until we moved her office into the attic.

It still flexed if you leaned on it. I think square tubing would be stiffer.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1646 posts in 1782 days


#5 posted 08-31-2016 05:02 AM

There is an excellent solution for this problem but you’d have to be prepared to fork over more than $100 to do it.

A torsion box made from honeycomb material and faced with laminate would do the trick. Kraft paper honeycomb is the cheapest and aluminum is probably the stiffest. A 2” thick top using aluminum for the core would probably be plenty strong.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 946 days


#6 posted 08-31-2016 12:11 PM

You need a stronger apron like bondo pointed out. You could even consider angle iron

Beef up the front and rear edges with some 2×2 hardwood like oak.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

1147 posts in 178 days


#7 posted 08-31-2016 03:18 PM



The frame is necessary but it should be 3 1/2 inches wide for that span. The one you show in your photo doesn t look wide enough. Get some pine 1×4 s from the BORG, that should be cheap and work well.

- bondogaposis

DITTO

-- Tony Reinholds,Pa. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View ScottM's profile

ScottM

346 posts in 1612 days


#8 posted 08-31-2016 06:27 PM



Consider using 2 inch black pipe. I made a desk spanning a 10 room for my wife. I had cleats along three sides, but it sagged a bit, so I put a pipe right across about 8 inches from the front edge. I used a forstner bit to make holes for it in the side cleats ( one was just a circle and one was U shaped to get the pipe in) it lasted 10 years until we moved her office into the attic.

It still flexed if you leaned on it. I think square tubing would be stiffer.

- RobS888

I like this one. You could hide the pipe behind a pine apron at the front.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7923 posts in 1846 days


#9 posted 08-31-2016 06:30 PM

View jbay's profile (online now)

jbay

816 posts in 365 days


#10 posted 08-31-2016 06:43 PM

Another simple fix would be to just add half a leg in the middle.
Like so.

-- My “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly be wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct -- (A1Jim)

View Tim's profile

Tim

34 posts in 2677 days


#11 posted 09-18-2016 08:48 AM

Thanks for all the replies, I appreciate the input.

I’m going to try the thicker bracing/frame first. Not feeling the pipe solution but I’m also not ruling it out.

I’ve also been thinking about ErichK’s solution but making a solid top myself. Would glueing milled 2×3’s work? I figured I could fire up the planer and build a nice, and heavy, desk top.

I was sent to Trinidad for work, and I think I have another week here before I fly home so, I’m still planing this out.

-- Tim - Austin, TX

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

881 posts in 1902 days


#12 posted 09-18-2016 12:51 PM

JAAune’s solution only cheaper … Recycle shop or Habitat for Humanity shop… hollow core door. Pretty stiff from the get-go. Add a stiffener on the front edge.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View wichman3's profile

wichman3

15 posts in 87 days


#13 posted 09-18-2016 02:20 PM

When I built a home office for my (now ex) wife, I used kitchen counter tops for the top.
Very rigid with a backsplash to keep stuff from rolling off the back and a slight lip to keep stuff from falling off the front. I used a very light colored pattern to keep the office bright and to make items on the desktop visible.

View Tim's profile

Tim

34 posts in 2677 days


#14 posted 09-18-2016 02:27 PM

Where do I find an aluminum, or kraft paper honeycomb, material for a torsion box?

-- Tim - Austin, TX

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

881 posts in 1902 days


#15 posted 09-18-2016 02:42 PM



Where do I find an aluminum, or kraft paper honeycomb, material for a torsion box?

- Tim

Inside that hollow core door you get at the recycle shop. :)

-- Visualize whirled peas

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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

HomeRefurbers.com