You want to get your DIY desk build yourself - best still from old wooden planks? Then I want you with this article in the Do It Yourself Blog now give a little inspiration to take another step away from the mainstream, towards unique furniture. In the following lines you will learn what to consider when planning the DIY desk and how to build it step by step.
Planning DIY desk
Think first, then do - what makes sense for many areas of life also serves as a good basic rule for building your own desk. Because before you make the first move, you should have a pretty clear picture of the desk you're building yourself. By answering the following questions, you can shed a lot of light on the subject.
1) What style should the self-built desk be?
This question must be answered clearly in advance, of course, because otherwise the desk may not fit visually at all in the room in which it will later be subject mouse, screen and keyboard. When I wanted to build my desk myself, I opted for a mix of Minimalism and industrial design. Oak rustic but simple, so to speak.
Simply because it fit very well with the rest of the apartment. Oh yes: I like it when furniture does not look so straight after the hardware store - so I specifically looked for wooden planks that still have their natural tree edge. Now to get a neat, red thread in the article, I'll describe to you little by little the steps that I went to the finished DIY desk.
2) What material is used for the DIY desk?
The desired material is the practical answer to the question of the style of the desk. A lot of metal, a lot of wood, or may it also be a bit Plastic be? No, not plastic - at least that's what I thought. Quite in the spirit of the Zero Waste Lifestyle I wanted rather save a few old oak planks and give them a second life as a desk surface. In addition, a bit of metal to give the DIY desk also the desired industrial spice.
The question of material is, of course, always a question of availability and one's own budget. I didn't want to spend vast sums on a designer desk, but still wanted to build a desk myself that others might spend a lot of money on - simply because it looks good. While wooden planks (especially oak planks) are hard to come by in urban areas or only for a lot of money, they are really lying around on every corner in and around my home village. In the end, the wooden planks used were already over 30 years old - but more on that in a moment.
3) How big should the homemade desk be?
I built the desk for our new apartment - I basically did well with the industrial style. But because of the relatively short wall on which it was to stand, it could not be too long. Therefore, you should also consider in advance exactly how large the DIY desk should be - both in length, width and of course in height. With the latter measure you should simply try out a bit - a common table height is, for example, around 74 cm. I have planned it that way, too. In addition, a length of 120 cm and a width of about 60 cm. In the end, of course, the available material must also play a role.
Build your own desk - here's how!
So the idea was there - now it was a matter of finding the right material, processing it and finally joining it together to make a usable desk. I was able to find the wooden planks pretty quickly near my home village. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone, etc... A horse farmer friend of mine had a lot of old oak planks lying in the far corner of his yard for 30 years that he never touched.
So while you would have paid a lot of money for them in the city because of the high demand, I got them for a few euros in the country. The planks for the desk were just a bit bent - nothing that couldn't be solved. Other than that, the planks were great and I then took them home to work on. Now, in this section of the blog post, I want to show you how I proceeded from that point until the first time my computer settled on the desk I built myself in my apartment.
1) Clean and examine wooden planks.
Before I took the wood planks to my carpenter friend, I first had to clean them with the pressure washer. To dry the planks quickly, I simply placed them in a warm room for a few hours. After cleaning, it is then wonderful to see whether any nails, screws or other sperenzien have hidden in the beautiful oak planks.
In my case, all was well and the wood was ready to be trimmed, planed and cut to the desired dimensions at the carpenter. By the way, I only used two wooden planks for the desk, since one of them was already wide enough to reach the planned 60cm width or depth of the DIY desk. For the large plank, I decided not to have the natural tree edge (which would later become the front of the desk) trimmed, because this really makes each table unique.
2) Trimming, planing and cutting to size
As described earlier, the next step of the DIY desk was to get the wood to the desired dimensions at the carpenter's and remove any unevenness. Even though 30-year-old oak planks never gets 100% straight, among other things, because the wood is always working, we got a pretty even surface.
However, you can only see how even the wooden planks really are when they lie next to each other on a smooth, flat surface. An important tip: Before going to the carpenter, be clear about which plank is to lie where later and where you want to have a tree edge and where not. Of course, it is also important to know where and how the self-built desk will be placed in the future.
3) Sand wood with different thickness
Now the most important step is already done, the wood is evenly trimmed. In plain language: You know where the top and bottom, as well as the back and front are 😉.
I simply placed the wood for the desk on a stack of Euro pallets and first sanded the edges by hand with 80-grit sandpaper and rounded off the corners a bit. This way, no one will get a splinter later on if they bump into the edge of the table. Make sure that you sand the later, invisible inner sides only roughly or not at all.
This way you won't have any gaps or unevenness on the surface of your desk later on. Also from below you should sand the planks of your DIY desk only roughly, so that the surface does not wobble when it later lies on the metal runners. Before I sanded the surface and the rest of the desk with the fine 180 grit sandpaper, I first did the following step.
4) Attach crossbars & screw together.
This step may not be necessary, but it is still a good recommendation. If you notice unevenness on the surface, you can even it out, for example, with evenly screwed together crossbars under the table. On the left and right side, the unevenness will be evened out if you screw the wooden planks together with the metal runners. In the middle, the crosspieces you can see in the picture will help. Screw them together near the transition of the planks so that they have the same height on the surface and there is no longer a step.
Now you have the entire surface of your DIY desk in one piece and you can sand the surface and the rest of the desk again with fine 180 grit sandpaper. Please make sure that you do not sand the underside too much, so that you do not get any unevenness when the table top later rests on the metal runners.
The corresponding You can find screws again here*. (select according to plank thickness)
5) Paint desk planks with hard wax oil.
To finish the tabletop of the DIY desk, I first cleaned it of excess dust and got myself some transparent hard wax oil to match. It protects the wood and gives the tabletop a slightly glossy look. Grab a roller and a brush and gently paint over the sanded and cleaned wood.
Make sure there is not too much hard wax oil on the table and just use it sparingly. After the wood planks are painted, about 12 hours of waiting in a warm room is in order. I just let the screwed together table top dry in the boiler room.
The corresponding Hard wax oil you get here*.
6) Get and machine metal skids
Until now, I only had a table top of my self-built desk. What should it actually stand on? Parallel to the construction of the table top, I had the table legs made in suitable and desired dimensions and sent. On the provider I am on the Internet about a Zero Waste App he manufactures custom metal table legs at a reasonable price. While two finished metal skids are often offered for 400€, I found a supplier who makes and sends me the skids for 100€. If you want me to put you in touch with him, just send me a short mail to metallkufen[at]careelite.de.
The metal runners should be sanded with sandpaper and cleaned sufficiently. Now you can spray them with clear lacquer so that they also shine a bit. I chose not to spray them with paint because I like the table legs to look a little worn. Of course, that's up to each person to decide. But this way I could at least avoid unnecessary Avoid plastic waste. 🙂
But that's not all - because the runners still need holes to screw the tabletop firmly to them. You should make sure that you pre-drill the holes near the transitions of the wooden planks. The reason for this is that existing unevenness at the edge of the surface can be corrected. This way, you'll end up with a really smooth surface that's easy to wipe clean.
The steps of the work briefly summarized: Have metal runners made and drill holes in the metal. Then you can pre-drill the holes on the underside of the tabletop in the desired places. In the last step, the tabletop and metal runners are screwed together.
7) Screw wooden planks and table legs together
If you want to build your desk yourself, you should screw the tabletop and metal runners together in the last step. You have already pre-drilled the holes in the metal and the wood. Make sure that you select the appropriate thickness of the drill bit according to the screws you want to use. You should adjust the length of the screws according to the thickness of your wooden planks so that they do not stick out on the surface later.
By screwing the table legs to the tabletop, the individual wooden planks will still pull down a little, so that the surface should now be completely straight. If you still have small bumps in it, you can sand again and paint the top again with hard wax oil.
The corresponding You can find screws again here*. (select according to plank thickness)
DIY build desk and get started
I hope that after reading this article from the DIY Furniture Blog helps you to be able to build your own desk yourself. It doesn't have to be an identical copy, but maybe you'll get a little inspiration and motivation for your own desk. Personally, I think it's great when the furniture in your own home has a little story - which both the material and you can tell. I wish you a successful construction of your DIY desk and I'm looking forward to any questions, tips and own experiences with building your own desk below in the comments.
PS: The desk was created in the course of my move and I used the available material immediately to build other furniture in the same style. For example, look directly at the article Build coffee table yourself on. Have fun!