How to Build a Desk of Wood

What You'll Need
2 x 4s
1 x 4s
3/4 inch thick plywood
Carpenters Glue
6 Penny Finishing Nails
8 Penny Finishing Nail
Shelf Edge Molding
Filing Cabinet
Wood filler
Paint or Stain

How to build a desk is fairly straightforward. They are easy to build and are great to organize work and paperwork for the home. Desks can even be used when space is limited. There are many different designs for desks. However, they will all contain a draw or 2, supports and table top. The height is fairly standard so any chair can be used.

Step 1 – Cutting Wood

There are several different lengths of wood that will be needed. A 20.5 inch long (1 x 4) piece, 2 pieces 30.75 inches long (1 x 4) and 2 pieces 20.5 inches long (2 x 4). These pieces will be used for the frame. The panels will be made of 20.5 by 29 inch plywood that is ¾ inch thick. The top is made of 24 by 48 inch plywood. The grain should run lengthwise.

Step 2 – The Frame

Use the 2 pieces of 2 x 4 and 2 pieces of 1 x4 to create a rectangle. Use carpenters glue at the joints and properly align them. Then use 6 penny finishing nails to nail the joints together. The panels will go between the front and back of the frame on each end. They will be flush with the top of the frame. Glue these into place and then use 8 penny finishing nails. 

Step 3 – The Top

Take the piece of plywood to be used for the top and apply glue all along the top part of the frame where the table top will rest. There should be a bit of an overhang along each side. There should be a ¾ inch overhand at the back and a 1.25 inch overhang at the front. Use the 6 penny nails to secure the top into place. Start by placing a nail at each corner and then space the nails 2 inches apart in all directions.

Step 4 – Molding

Shelf edge molding is used to cover the panels’ edges. This will disguise the cut pieces. Round edge molding is the best. Miter the molding to form perfect corners. Apply glue to the molding and then secure the strips with brads.

Step 5 – Drawers

Instead of building your own drawers, simply use a small filing cabinet that will fit under the desk. It is best to have the filing cabinet first and then create the desk to fit over the filing cabinet. If you want to build wooden drawers, then additional wood will be needed as will runners for the drawers.

Step 6 – Nails

Use a hammer and sink all the nail heads so that they are below the surface of the wood.  Fill in all the nail heads and any imperfections visible in the joints and wood.

Step 7 – Finishing

Sand down the entire desk and then apply a primer coat. If so desired you can stain the wood or us semi gloss paint. Let the paint or stain dry completely before moving it into place.