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Forum topic by blu0ne posted 01-04-2012 12:23 PM 1621 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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blu0ne

17 posts in 1799 days


01-04-2012 12:23 PM

Hello all,
as one of my first projects, I’d like to build a desktop onto my office wall. No legs, I want the surface to hang off of the wall studs. I’d like it to “float” in essence. My question is, how do I support it? I’m new to woodwork and don’t know much about the types of “support” I would use for something like this. Could someone suggest some? I thought about “french cleat.” I like it, it’s simple and fairly straight forward. I also like that it allows the desk to NOT be permanent. If I need to access that space, I could just lift it off. Also, as far as desks are concerned, what kind of wood would I use? What thickness? 3/4in? Is plywood even an option? I’m afraid I only have my local Home Depot to go to for lumber. I think the desk will be between 10 and 12ft wide. How do I support it mid-width?! It’ll be a “dual” desk. Half for my wife and half for me. Two chairs. My office isn’t that big, so the depth will be about 2 or 2 1/2 ft. I’m thinking one 4×8 sheet of “whatever” should be enough along with a few 2×4’s. Also, forgive me for so many questions, what are some durable oils or stains that I could use? I like the look of natural wood. I don’t want to paint it. Thanks everyone. I live in Los Angeles where woodworking is all but dead I think, so I really appreciate a site like this. Thanks!

-- blu0ne - Los Angeles - blu0.com -- I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...


12 replies so far

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4541 posts in 2537 days


#1 posted 01-04-2012 04:23 PM

You are calling this a desk but it sounds more like a work surface. Do you intend to include any drawers or keyboard holder?

Regarding the material for the work surface, I don’t think you will be very happy with plywood. It will dent easily and soon you will have a marred surface. I recently built an audio booth with a built in work surface. I used a laminated product with a melamine top. It is like shelving material. However the piece I bought was 8’ x 23.5” and 1.25” think. I bought it at Menards (about $24). They probably have it at HD. It’s an excellent surface but the edges are not finished. I attached a strip of oak to the edge.

As for supporting the surface – - You need to do something that is strong. There are ways to make it appear to “float” but they are complicated and expensive. You do not need legs to the floor. A brace from lower on the wall (or higher on the wall) will work.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View casual1carpenter's profile

casual1carpenter

354 posts in 1938 days


#2 posted 01-04-2012 05:57 PM

blu0ne, are you planning to incorporate shelving length of desk? If so you might be able to build frames that your desk surface and shelf surfaces could be supported by. As rich said it would need to be strong but it can be done. The combination of no legs along with non-permanent does present some challenges to overcome. Keep in mind that horizontal surfaces are often used for resting places of things never intended or designed for.

This thought could go further, but you do not mention available tooling, skill level, or complexity.

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blu0ne

17 posts in 1799 days


#3 posted 01-04-2012 07:39 PM

Hi richgreer and casual1carpenter,
first of all thanks for taking the time to respond to my question. second, I’m very much a beginner. I’ll be getting a ridgid 4512 this weekend so I can start making clean cuts and working with large pieces of wood.

-richgreer—Yes, you’re probably right, this is a work surface. I don’t really intend to have any drawers (I don’t think my beginner skills would allow for that right now). Since this surface would span the width of my small office, I was thinking of a couple of small bookshelves “facing” each other from across the width of the desk. I think I’ve seen the melamine top material you’re talking about. I was hoping to keep it natural, but if you think a different approach would be best, who am I to argue. You mentioned a brace, which sounds fine, I just don’t know what it is exactly and/or how to make it. That’s what I’m looking for… instructions as to how to support this work surface (at the back and the sides and mid-width since it’s so wide).

-casual- I like your idea of shelving the length of the desk, or maybe part of it. I guess I’ll “design” something first and then show it here on LJ and give you folks a better idea of what I’m talking about. The non permanent aspect would be nice, but not necessary. That was just an after thought after I mentioned french cleats. As far as tools, hmm… handheld radial saw, corded drill, cordless impact driver, will be getting a table saw this weekend… framing square, 4ft level… not a lot right now. Thinking I might need a router to smooth out desk edges… that’s about it for now. Thanks again!!

-- blu0ne - Los Angeles - blu0.com -- I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...

View Pabs's profile

Pabs

196 posts in 2917 days


#4 posted 01-04-2012 08:08 PM

do I understand the top would sit between 2 walls?
if so you could have a cleat on both walls and your table top rest on top of that. you could have the top hinged so that it could be flipped up or simply not attached.

but since you are going over 10 feet you would need some pretty beefy framing for it not to sag int he middle
I built some heavy duty shelving in the basement using 2×4 framing and 1/2 or 3/4 ply. it’s unsupported for 8 feet and no sag at all

if it’s in an alcove then it’s not that hard… if it’s free standing in the middle of a wall then you have bigger issues… bracing for that would be a challenge I think

if you could take a pic of the area where it would be placed we may be able to provide more help..

-- Pabs

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blu0ne

17 posts in 1799 days


#5 posted 01-04-2012 08:16 PM

Hey Pabs,
it’s an alcove (it would be supported on 3 sides). I’ll try and get a picture of the space for you guys. Pabs, would you have a picture of your framing? That’s what I’m looking for… reference as to how to build the support for this thing… also, fasteners… what kind of screws would someone use for this? Drywall screws? how long? Thanks everybody!

-- blu0ne - Los Angeles - blu0.com -- I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...

View Gregn's profile

Gregn

1642 posts in 2446 days


#6 posted 01-05-2012 12:23 AM

bluOne, since this will be supported by 3 sides you should have no problems floating the top.

I made a desk in a corner cubby triangular shaped. I mounted 2×2’s to the wall where I wanted it. Made the top from 2 pieces of 3/4” ply and topped with hardboard for a solid writing surface.

The wife now uses it for her computer with no problems.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View DS's profile

DS

2151 posts in 1883 days


#7 posted 01-05-2012 12:29 AM

Typically steel brackets are used to support such worktops.

Something like these from A & M work well.

If you want a TRULY hidden bracket, something like these from Rakks well too, but you have to open the drywall to conceal them.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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blu0ne

17 posts in 1799 days


#8 posted 01-05-2012 12:33 AM

Hey guys,
thanks so much! This really helps… Gregn, I think your approach is the most appealing, not that the others weren’t, but I think for my skill level, yours will probably accomplish what I need. Again, as far as screws, can I use 2.5in deck screws you think? Thanks everybody.

-- blu0ne - Los Angeles - blu0.com -- I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...

View DS's profile

DS

2151 posts in 1883 days


#9 posted 01-05-2012 12:36 AM

Another option to the 2X2 is to use aluminum ‘L’ angle for a wall cleat.

It’s a cleaner look and can be cut and drilled with woodworking tools.

I often use this in combination with the steel support brackets—escpecially if you have a large span between the walls.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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blu0ne

17 posts in 1799 days


#10 posted 01-05-2012 03:19 AM

Can anyone suggest the fasteners I would use on this? I’m going to try the “L” cleat method. I used 2 1/2 inch deck screws to hang a few cabinets last week. Could I used these? or are there more “appropriate” screws? Thanks!

PS – Thanks for the suggestion DS251!

-- blu0ne - Los Angeles - blu0.com -- I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...

View DS's profile

DS

2151 posts in 1883 days


#11 posted 01-05-2012 08:49 PM

The screws depend mosting on what material is in the wall you are attaching to. A deck screw would be fine into a 2X4 or 2X6 wood stud wall. Metal studs would need bracing installed internally. Masonry, brick or cement would need anchors or other masonry fastener.

I usually use a 2.5 inch to 3 inch drywall screw into wooden studs.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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blu0ne

17 posts in 1799 days


#12 posted 01-05-2012 09:25 PM

Thanks DS251, it looks like my deck screws are going to be just fine then. I appreciate the info!

-- blu0ne - Los Angeles - blu0.com -- I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...

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