Building my first desk - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-09-2020, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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Building my first desk

Hi all. I've never built anything with wood before and decided to go off and make my own sit-stand production style desk. I have a few questions about joinery and methods for making this a strong and long lasting piece of furniture. The desk is very large (over 7' at it's widest points) and I am going to have to take it apart and transport it in pieces as I am not able to build it at home. I see myself moving at least one more time in the next couple years.

The overall design is kind of "C" or "Pac Man" shaped and will have a keyboard tray, rear shelf that runs along the width of the desk and I'd like to have a "privacy panel" on the back side to mount some electronics and too use for cable management. The main portion of the desk will be made of 2 3/4" sheets of birch plywood and everything else will be made of a single sheet of the same plywood.

Please see my CAD design for additional reference. (The design is to scale)

I am not building the legs as this will be a sit-stand desk and I have ordered some legs to bolt the bottom of the desk.

My current questions are:

1. Is it possible to use a threaded insert or some kind of meter hardware on the "receiving" side of pocket joints so the desk can be dissembled and re assembled without hurting the integrity of the wood too much? The desk will have a 7" raised platform/shelf that will hold standard rack units on the left and right side and a bit of storage in the center for a lighting controller (I am a lighting programmer). I was planning on using pocket joints on the vertical supports for this shelf.

2. Since I am using legs that I cannot bolt anything too, like the keyboard trey, the only way I can see mounting the keyboard trey is to put "t-nuts" on the top side of the bottom sheet of the main desk before laminating the main two sheets together. Thus giving the keyboard tray supports some hardware to screw into. The vertical supports would then get bolts through their side and into the bottom of the desk/"T Nuts" using long bolts and washers. I have hesitation on sending the long bolts through the side of the vertical keyboard supports but don't see any other way of building it so that they tray will be extra strong and hold the weight of the devices I'll want to put on it.

3. My last question is similar to the keyboard trey issue. I don't really know how to support the Modesty panel to the bottom of the desk.

I guess all my questions really come down to the same thing. What is the best way to butt join plywood so it can be taken apart and re assembled but also have a very strong connection. Even slightly weight bearing?

Thank you all for your help!


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post #2 of 4 Old 06-09-2020, 05:50 AM
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What you plan looks very similar to a desk made for Flight Simulation with triple screens.
Check out Google and Utube. Several pics of this type of desk on the net.
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-09-2020, 08:03 AM
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Welcome to the forum, Charlie! Add your location to your profile, please.

My desk has a return on it and is joined with fasteners underneath. I don't know what these are called but you can probably find something similar or make some out of 1/8" to 1/4" steel. You can recess them if you're looking for a smoother transition.

Building my first desk-flat-panel-fastener-under-desk.jpg



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post #4 of 4 Old 06-09-2020, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe I did not word my questions correctly. Pretty much all my joints are going to be 90 degree. I was planning on putting Dados/Rabbits for the vertical supports to slide into and then use pocket joints. The image you showed is more for connecting to sheets that are parallel and connecting on ends.

The Keyboard Trey, Vertical shelf supports and modesty panel will all be 90 degree joints.

So... does anyone on here know if its possible to put metal hardware like a threaded insert on the "receiving" side of a pocket joint? with that using the proper bolt for the threaded insert instead of a pocket screw.

Is there a common way of making 90 degree joints with hardware in the wood to insure the woods integrity when disassembled and re assembled.

For the keyboard trey is it okay to drive a long bolt through the side of plywood so it can bolt 90 degrees into a "t nut" that is in the lower portion of the desk? I have not cut the keyboard trey supports yet but I am thinking they will not be wider than 4"-5"
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