DIY Desk-Not a tutorial!

This is a lap desk.  My sister made it for me when I went off to college a loooong time ago and it is still in use. (Good job sis!)

I am showing this to you because last year it (along with the tiny travel trailer table) was the host of all our homeschool/office work. It was chaos in close quarters.

So this year it was time for a change! Our house has a long, narrow entryway or parlor which leads directly into two more long narrow nondescript hallway/rooms. The first room off of the entry is directly in the center of our home and we deemed it to be a good spot to centrally locate the internet access, ie. the laptop, desktop and charging station for all of the technology. For this to work, we needed a double desk space.

Now something like this would be period correct for our home, but it only seats one person.

I found quite a few double work space desks for purchase, but frankly none of them were exactly what I wanted and I am just too practical.  I was not willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a piece of furniture that wasn’t really what I wanted. Now, Handy Hubby would love to build me a great custom piece of furniture. However, as great as that would be, I really need for him to remain busy with, you know, bringing home the bacon so that we can keep feeding these boys and putting this old house back together.

So, what should I do? Oh convince my sweet middle son to help me build our desk! That’s right we built our double desk for cheap, and I am no carpenter.

We started with these plans.

For the record, this desk is very nice, but not my ideal! It is, however, my ideal price range!

So we printed out sawdust girl’s plans and went out and purchased the supplies.

We followed the instructions in cutting the table top pieces, clamping and gluing them together.

We then moved on to the leg boxes. When we got to the instructions for the x pieces for the legs we ran into some trouble.  The directions say to cut 48.6 degree angle and a 41.4 degree angle.  However, my husbands miter saw does not cut more than a 45 degree angle.  Not gonna lie, hubby was out of town and the carpentry skills of my 12 year old and I combined are limited with me as the team handicap. So, I was ready to just go with a plain table top and rectangular leg boxes unadorned.

But that kid of mine….he just kept saying, ” Come on, we have the lumber let’s just take a chance. We don’t want it to be boring.”  So we came up with the idea for v legs instead of x legs. I wish that I could tell you the method that we used to create these legs, but I can’t. We are such novices that all we really did  was hold a spare 2 X 4 up to the inside of the rectangular table leg, mark the angle we thought we needed and continue to make small cuts until the angles fit. Then once we had the v cut for one end of the table we used those two pieces as a template for the other v.

Once we had the v leg boxes put together and the glue was all dry on the tabletop, it was time to screw it all together and then sand, and wood fill the cracks, and then sand, and sand some more! We filled cracks carefully and sanded thoroughly because it was really important to me that this desk be a smooth writing surface. Finally it was time to pretreat, stain, and polyurethane the tabletop and paint the legs.

And then, we had this…..

It may not be fine craftsmanship, but y’all it is getting the job done!! During the homeschool day two kids can work at the same time and I find folks completing their writing assignments here because they have room to spread out.  When blogging, I can type a post on the laptop while my oldest edits photos.  It is smooth, sturdy, and with a $60.00 price tag, functional!! Makes me smile!

In short, this post really isn’t a tutorial, but an encouragement! If there is a project that would vastly improve the function of your everyday life do not be afraid to create your own “outside of the box” fix!

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  1. Allyson Elrod December 13, 2018 @ 5:49 -05:00Dec

    I love this and I am in the market for a double desk for my homeschooling boys! At least this will prevent me from getting an ugly piece of Ikea furniture! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • UpWithTheSon December 13, 2018 @ 5:49 -05:00Dec

      Fantastic! You just made my day! Inspiration is why we have this blog! If you end up building a desk please share pics! Good luck!

  2. Heather December 14, 2018 @ 5:49 -05:00Dec

    Love the new desk! (and the old lapdesk too!) I just used mine the other night to address Christmas cards in the recliner. I don’t know if you remember this, but grandmother gave it to me and then I used it as a template for yours. Great job to you too sis!

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