A while back we rearranged some stuff in our “office” and I needed throw out this tiny store bought desk that I had been using for years. I needed a bigger work space most of all. I wanted to build my own desk, but I wanted to do it as cheap as possible yet keep it nice looking and sturdy.
This desk is what I came up with. It is incredibly strong, provides a great work surface and was relatively cheap.
Make sure you watch the video as it shows a lot more of each of the steps.Download the FREE Simple Plywood Desk Plans
Also, check out the step-by-step details below.
Layout And Cutting
This project started out with a sheet of ¾ inch plywood. I ripped it into two 2 foot by 8 foot pieces to make it more manageable in my tiny shop. I marked everything to the dimensions I had come up with in Sketchup, and then cut everything out using a combination of the table saw and circular saw. Basically, what I wanted was, two legs, the top, the back, the front rail and two shelves. You can get all of the dimensions and what-not from the free plans on our website.
In the Sketchup plans the desk was designed to have all straight edges, but as I was working on the desk, I decided to add some curved features. I did this using a pretty flimsy wooden yard stick curved between 3 nails. This gave me the arc I wanted. To duplicate this, I just cut out one side first and then traced the first pieces contours onto the second leg.
As far as the shelves rounded edges go, I just measured in from each side of the corner and used my compass to add a curved edge. All of the contours were cut out on the band-saw. Any rough edges were cleaned up and honed by sanding.
After I had everything cut and shaped the way I wanted it, I started to drill the pocket holes. To speed things up a bit I made a quick jig to aid in the drilling. I’m not sure if the jig actually saved me any time, but it did seem simpler. The pocket holes were drilled into the legs, back and front rail.
Once the pocket holes were drilled, I took some time to sand everything.
Assembly was pretty straight forward. Everything was lined up and held in place with clamps while I glued and screwed it all together.
The front rail also got nailed from the outer side of the legs.
And as far as the shelves go, that’s up to you. I just made sure the bottom shelf was flush with the bottom of the back panel.
I trimmed the edge of the desktop using some scrap maple flooring that I had cut down to size. These just get glued and nailed.
I then gave the whole thing some color with some cherry stain.
I also filled in any gaps and nail holes with a matching wood putty.
The whole desk was finished with a few coats of polyurethane. Also something else I tend to do, is after the last layer of poly is completely dry I add on a healthy coat of paste wax. I let it set to a light haze and rub it out by hand using some old t-shirt cloth. I don’t think this really adds any extra protection, but it makes the surface super smooth, which I quite like.
So that’s it. A fairly simple desk that you can make in just a few days and at a pretty low cost. The only real cost is the sheet of plywood and of course, your time.
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