Full wall (built-in?) desk - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Full wall (built-in?) desk

I have a 12+' long wall in my home office and my goal is run a desktop along the length of this. I'm thinking about taking a whack at some cabinets to go underneath and I can figure that out. I'm really struggling with the desktop though. I want wood and no stone or the composite stuff. However, finding a solid piece of hardwood at that length is both difficult and very expensive.

What's the trick to using 3 4' sections and seaming them together so as to almost appear to be a single piece?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 21 Old 10-26-2009, 05:05 PM
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I am involved in almost the same project...except mine is to be a very slick faced plastic like finish. I am using MDF but I suspect our joinery problems will be similar. I'm going to BM this thread and see what you come up with, or if you like I'll PM my email. I should have a preliminary SKETCHUP draft ready in a few more days. Wouldn't mind seeing what you've got in mind.
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post #3 of 21 Old 10-28-2009, 08:30 AM
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There are plenty of local sources for 12' long harwood boards assuming you live near a lumber yard or even a home center. You would however have to edge glue them up after properly flattening them. This is all based on whether you have access to a jointer and thickness planer. Squaring the boards up by hand can be done but with much skill and patience. A countertop made from solid wood sounds like an easy concept, but can actually be disasterous if all aspects of the build are not researched and adhered to. And yes the material can be expensive especially when buying stock thicker than 1"

Your idea of using shorter stock is fine too if you plan on using two dividers perpendicular to the 4' lengths to make up the 12' run. Somebody on here built a nice plywood conference table using this method and it was nice and much more cost effective.

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post #4 of 21 Old 10-28-2009, 08:40 AM
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Preformed counter top ?

Comes in lengths of 12 ft from the Home Depots, Lowes and countertop
suppliers. They may have particle board in that length to cover with your own laminate.
If you want solid lumber from glued up lengths, you can square the edges on a table saw if you use work supports and have a helper. just flip the boards end for end alternately, to minimize any variation from 90 degrees. You don't "need" a jointer. To joint a 12' length would be difficult and unwieldy. Just look for the straightest board and use that as the model to straighten the others. See threads on straight line ripping. If buying from a hardwood distributor have them straighten and plane the boards for a minimum cost. (My choice) bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 10-28-2009 at 09:33 AM.
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-28-2009, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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My original post might have been confusing. I'm looking at 48"x30" sheets of 1" hardwood. I'd like to take 3 of those and have the seams butted together. How can I finish that so that it's as transparent as possible?

I'm not interested in 12'x6" planks for instance. Although, perhaps that would be better?

Thanks for the replies so far!
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post #6 of 21 Old 10-28-2009, 01:19 PM
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Separate panels might be a problem

The seams will show. If you stagger the boards and make a random length panel the full 12 ft, there won't be one seam, there will be many and it will look like that was intended. You might consider a substrate with something like oak or maple or bamboo flooring glued on with adhesive.
It would have a random plank look as well. The tongue and grooves will make the joints more stable however, you won't want grooves in it because they are difficult to write on. The other way is to make the joints/seams a design detail and forget about concealing them. Just locate them at break points in the structures above or below to accentuate the lines.
Those are your options as far as I can tell, if you don't want to work with 12 ft long planks/boards.( my choice) bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 10-28-2009 at 05:12 PM.
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post #7 of 21 Old 10-28-2009, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BitBass View Post
My original post might have been confusing. I'm looking at 48"x30" sheets of 1" hardwood. I'd like to take 3 of those and have the seams butted together. How can I finish that so that it's as transparent as possible?

I'm not interested in 12'x6" planks for instance. Although, perhaps that would be better?

Thanks for the replies so far!

WELCOME TO THE FORUM

The 48" x 30" sheets of hardwood...how is that made up? is it a glue up of lumber, or is it hardwood plywood?

To make a length of three sections, they should be laid out end to to end. They can be butt jointed for a close fit. A scab can be fixed to one side so that when moved to the location, the second side lays on the scab and gets screwed in from underneath.

Another method is to use 'joint fasteners' like these that get machined on the underside to pull the two sections together.






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post #8 of 21 Old 10-28-2009, 02:25 PM
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I do not think that there is anything that you can do to make the seams invisible.

However, I think that you can turn that seam into an advantage. I would use 1" stips of a lighter or darker (depending upon what wood you are using) wood that would make a nice contrast as a filler along each seam.

G
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post #9 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 08:20 AM
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use the 6''x12'' and be done with it,
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post #10 of 21 Old 10-30-2009, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BitBass View Post
I have a 12+' long wall in my home office and my goal is run a desktop along the length of this. I'm thinking about taking a whack at some cabinets to go underneath and I can figure that out. I'm really struggling with the desktop though. I want wood and no stone or the composite stuff. However, finding a solid piece of hardwood at that length is both difficult and very expensive.

What's the trick to using 3 4' sections and seaming them together so as to almost appear to be a single piece?

Thanks!
Have you thought about using solid core doors and laminating the top and front edge? I made a desk years ago using a solid core with two 2 drawer filing cabinets. One on each end.
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post #11 of 21 Old 10-31-2009, 04:36 PM
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"I want wood and no stone or the composite stuff. However, finding a solid piece of hardwood at that length is both difficult and very expensive."

From what I gather, you want to build a solid wood top 12' long.
No problem. Just go to a few local cabinet shops and ask where they get their hardwoods. Boards 12' long in hardwood are easily had and sometimes hardwood solid tops that size also.
If you want to use 3 4' sections, why dont you frame the outside with dividers and make the 4' sections as panel inserts. More or less a frame and panel design.
If you have to ask this question, I can safely assume that you do not have the skills and probably not the tools to make a 3' x 12' flat top. So whatever you try will be a gamble. Keep that in mind.
Actually I personally would not use hardwood for a desktop. It damages easily. I would use MDF and a nice plastic laminate (formica, Wilsonart, etc.) and surround the whole thing with a 2" x 2" frame. That would be very durable, easily cleaned and the wood look from the hardwood framing edge. Just a suggestion.

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post #12 of 21 Old 10-31-2009, 07:25 PM
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I have used laminate flooring for several desks and
tables. It is not to costly and it is tough.

Make the top from 3/4 OSB and use construction
adhesive to lay the top.

Trim with a matching wood edge. You can run it as
far as you like and it will appear seamless.





I got mine on the bargain table at Lowes, They
had several open packages for about 1/2 price.


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post #13 of 21 Old 11-09-2009, 05:28 PM
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now thats thinkin with yer dipstick jimmy
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post #14 of 21 Old 11-20-2009, 11:24 AM
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I've used Laminate flooring on several bar tops. works quite well and is very tough. You might also look into solid hardwood (Pre-finished) flooring.
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post #15 of 21 Old 11-21-2009, 11:45 AM
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YES that IZ thunkin at is best; I am gonna steal that thought when I setup my new shop in NC, nice,easy,durable tops for workbenches me thunks.
THANKS
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post #16 of 21 Old 12-05-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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Countertop Options

You will never make butt joints in a countertop "transparent". One option may be to look at a site like http://www.mapleblock.com/. They offer solid wood tops in various widths 12" long. Your local hardwoods company may be able to provide more info. Another builder of wood tops is the John Boos Company. I personally used Michigan Maple tops in my kitchen and love them. Best of luck. Randy
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post #17 of 21 Old 12-05-2009, 04:06 AM
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Quote:
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YES that IZ thunkin at is best; I am gonna steal that thought when I setup my new shop in NC, nice,easy,durable tops for workbenches me thunks.
THANKS
Good Idea, since it's just workbenches, you could just use bamboo. It's cheap and very hard.

No offense is one of you has bamboo in your house.
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post #18 of 21 Old 12-26-2009, 07:51 AM
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Bamboo counter tops as a replacement for solid timber

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Originally Posted by Old Skhool View Post
Good Idea, since it's just workbenches, you could just use bamboo. It's cheap and very hard.

No offense is one of you has bamboo in your house.

We have many kitchen manufacturers here in South Africa using 3.6 meter bamboo counter tops for exactly what it is you are looking to do. The boards are available in 3.6 m (11.811024 ft ft) x 600 mm or 900 mm with thicknesses of 16 mm, 20 mm, 30 mm & 40 mm (sorry about the metric dimensions). They are structurally extremely strong, dimensionally stable (unlike most of the long pieces of timber you'd be considering), are harder than Red Oak and mill very well.

You can possibly contact a supplier like Plyboo (Smith & Fong) to find out where to source these bamboo counter tops.

Here is a picture for your reference:

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post #19 of 21 Old 01-05-2010, 01:55 AM
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top

Just finished a hutch for in my loft nothing fancy but it was ten feet in length and I put it together with under counter clamps they are a cam operated nut with a long bolt for he adjustment worked quite nicely would like to show it but I don't have many post to this sight less than ten, and not sure how to post on this forum. A person can put together a large section like the 12' that you are talking about and if it is all the same it can look boring the beauty of wood is it's grain. then what we do with it to make it a show piece
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post #20 of 21 Old 02-03-2010, 12:57 AM
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I got a good deal on some old Bowling lane for bench tops. It worked great for a small message center in the kitchen.
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