Joining two sheets of plywood for desk

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Forum topic by tazboy posted 01-08-2014 11:41 AM 3757 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 1762 days

01-08-2014 11:41 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plywood desk

My next project is to make an L-shaped computer desk using two sheets of 3/4” plywood. I was hoping I could get some help as to some good ways to join these two sheets together. I would like to allow them to be separated at some point because I might move it in the future. But I would like it look and feel like it’s still one piece of wood.

I’m also not sure about a nice way to attach the legs. I was thinking of using 4×4s for the legs but that feels like overkill. It was suggested that I attach them using a Clinch nut plate for straight legs. It seems like a nice solution but with it not being a completely flush plate I’m assuming the leg will not look flush and I was hoping to have the legs sit on the edges of the table.

23 replies so far

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


298 posts in 1616 days

#1 posted 01-08-2014 12:02 PM

When I did an L-shaped desk some years ago, I joined the pieces with a 1×4 underneath with screws, and glued it as well Couldn’t separate it again, of course, didn’t intend to move it but of course I eventually did; it barely fit through the doors (just lucky there). Might be worth planning the size that way.

Rather than legs I attached it to the wall with heavy duty steel brackets.

Sorry, no pix… it’s in my daughter’s room now and so covered with stuff you wouldn’t be able to see it.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View CharlesA's profile


3319 posts in 1791 days

#2 posted 01-08-2014 12:20 PM

Not sure about the legs, but pocket holes will work to join the plywood—don’t use glue if you want future flexibility.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View hydro's profile


208 posts in 1745 days

#3 posted 01-08-2014 12:54 PM

For the work surface use a “Tite Joint” Fastener and a spline to ensure surface alignment.

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2962 days

#4 posted 01-08-2014 01:40 PM

Biscuits for alignment, pocket screws to pull it together. Worktop connectors are nice when used with biscuits but won’t work with 3/4” material. Have you got an apron underneath?

View tazboy's profile


30 posts in 1762 days

#5 posted 01-08-2014 01:56 PM

No apron. At least that’s not the plan. Are aprons just aesthetic?

View JayT's profile


5619 posts in 2204 days

#6 posted 01-08-2014 02:20 PM

Aprons are more than aesthetic, they are primarily to help keep the top flat by giving strength in the direction the top is most prone to sag.

And +1 to hydro on the fasteners.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View tazboy's profile


30 posts in 1762 days

#7 posted 01-08-2014 02:28 PM

It that case would using plywood be ok for aprons? I wouldn’t have to worry about covering up the edges since no one will see them. Would I just glue them on?

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 2063 days

#8 posted 01-08-2014 02:33 PM

An apron will help keep the table rigid, strong and keep the legs square. If you dont plan on using an apron Id recommend addressing these issues in some other way.

Plywood will work fine, and pocket holes will work. A plywood top is less likely to move with time. If you wanted to be really safe you could use a clip to allow wood movement.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3641 days

#9 posted 01-08-2014 02:36 PM

+1 on JayT (and hydro).

yes, plywood would be ok for aprons if mounted underneath the top as a support beam. However usually it is used to cover up the plywood edges of the top in which case- plywood wouldn’t be all that great though :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View tazboy's profile


30 posts in 1762 days

#10 posted 01-08-2014 05:43 PM

Never thought about using pocket screws. I just got a Kreg Jig Jr as a gift too so I’m good there. Didn’t think I could use those for something that is only 3/4”. But that’s probably my ignorance of never using the device.

Could I also use pocket screws for the legs? So I would have 1-2 screws on the two sides of the legs that aren’t showing. And then use the pocket screws for the apron too?

Thanks for the continued help everyone.

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 1624 days

#11 posted 01-08-2014 05:53 PM

Yeah, pocket holes work great for 3/4, you will be fine using them for aprons and legs. I put together most of furniture with pockets screws. Anything that doesn’t show, onto the kreg jig it goes.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2020 days

#12 posted 01-08-2014 07:47 PM

Instead of 4×4s use 2 1×4s for each leg joined in a L shape toward the outer edge, this will give plenty of support and guard against any kind of warping. Join the edges of the legs together on one side into the edge of the other using a countersunk hole that you than put a wooden plug into and you have a near invisible joint. I do this quite often with pocket hole screws, but of course this is not a pocket hole.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2103 days

#13 posted 01-08-2014 08:22 PM

I might make the joint a feature, say with a shallow (~ 1/8”) chamfer that wraps the front and sides of the two pieces. This chamfer would display as a vee in the joint. Another way to do this is to make one section a different height, with the two overlapping in a tasteful way.

I think it would be darn near impossible to make it look, and stay looking, like one piece of wood, and still be able to come apart.

Any time I’m in a situation where I don’t think a flush alignment will last, I add a reveal, inlay, surface break, or other feature, to hide the misalignment, and make it look on purpose.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2962 days

#14 posted 01-08-2014 08:23 PM

Just had a look at those tite joint connectors, they fit into a 5/8 deep hole, so they would work for your application.

View TaybulSawz's profile


156 posts in 1675 days

#15 posted 01-08-2014 08:27 PM

Is the plywood gunna stay plywood or will it be covered with laminate or some other material? To hide the joint you can do several things but with just plain plywood it will be very difficult. hydro has the best solution IMHO as far as ease of disassembly but still the joint will be very visible. If you cover it with laminate and bevel the joint you can make it almost disappear but it will still be there.

-- Still got all my Fingers!!!

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