Joining legs to a desk - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-08-2014, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Joining legs to a desk

Hello,

I would like to build a solid walnut desk. I would like the desk to be able to break down into pieces so that one person could move it and so that I could get it into tight spaces (like upstairs) to set up in upstair rooms. Without a big gymnastics act with 2 or 3 guys scraping the sheet rock and paint and busting light fixtures lol.

I know the cheesy particle board desks have those locking mechanisms you use a Phillips head screw driver to put together. Are there locking mechinisms similar to these (but much beefier with a hand lever) that can be installed say on a 4x4 solid walnut post so the legs of the desk could be latched on to the main deck of the desk. The main desk would have a screwed on metal disk that a metal peg could be screwed into to interlock with the turning mechanism in the post.

I was thinking about using magnets but those could interfere with any electronics placed on the desk.

As big of a pain furniture is to move I would think something like this would be sold everywhere. I contacted a furniture builder in the area and he wanted 2500 to build a walnut desk but he also did not have any locking mechanisms and when I called to price the wood, I found out walnut is expensive but not 2500 expensive. My step dad has a full wood working shop but not a CNC machine so I was going to see if I could try my hand at it.

If I had to have the mechanism special made that would be a 5 axis metal CNC which there is one in my area but its VERY expensive to have anything done on such a machine (I have called and got quotes lol).

I could get a copy of solid works and do it but im hoping there is something commercially available.
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-08-2014, 10:30 PM
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I would say you`re over thinking it, but only because I`m usualy the one doing that. With a desk like that magnets and screw in mounts probably wont be able to offer the sturdines you wil need. You wil always want to stick to widely available and when possible used hardware. Granted I`ve never put together a desk like this but I would suggest mortise and tenon with no glue but held in place with a bolt and nut. You could probably get a more specific answer if you posted some drawings or models of what you were thinking of. Sketchup is the usual go to for me.
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post #3 of 12 Old 07-09-2014, 08:28 AM
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your desk design will play a huge factor in breakdown capability. maybe post a sketch of the design you're thinking of. many desks are three pieces, two side drawer pedestals, and a top that stradles them.
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-09-2014, 12:11 PM
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Granted I've never used this on a table, its usually for a bed but the concept may work. You would probably also need some similar supports near the bottom of the legs and elsewhere but the same process could be used. Its a standard mortise and tenon but with a bolt holding it together instead of glue.
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I would also recommend getting some cheap pine and practicing this. Like you said walnut is pricey and one wrong cut and you've cause a problem.

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post #5 of 12 Old 07-10-2014, 01:01 PM
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You could use through mortises and peg them for the legs. This technique has been used for centuries.


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post #6 of 12 Old 07-11-2014, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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Additional pics and thoughts

I have sketched out what im hoping exists. It is very close to what you are suggesting.

Also how do you hold a router steady to cut the 2 groves in the table top where the legs will sit.

This is kinda what I want the desk to look like - http://www.treeforms.net/product/grand-river

So it would be like 8 4x4s and a large 3/4" or 1" walnut plywood and then probably farm 2 small drawers out.

The bottom picture is the cheesy one that broke off my cheap particle board desk but its a cool concept if they were just more well built. Also I don't think the circle inside that device is oblong so it does not really tighten as you rotate.
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-28-2014, 03:59 PM
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Rockler Hardware makes a metal corner bracket specifically for removable table legs. Screw it to the table top and table aprons. Drill 2 holes in each leg and put in a threaded insert and viola you can take the legs off your table/desk with a wrench/socket in just a few seconds.
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-28-2014, 04:32 PM
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The custom furniture maker priced the desk at $2500 and you found out the MATERIAL did not cost $2500.This is why I got out of the business
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-28-2014, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akmetal View Post
Hello,

I would like to build a solid walnut desk. I would like the desk to be able to break down into pieces so that one person could move it and so that I could get it into tight spaces (like upstairs) to set up in upstair rooms. Without a big gymnastics act with 2 or 3 guys scraping the sheet rock and paint and busting light fixtures lol.

I know the cheesy particle board desks have those locking mechanisms you use a Phillips head screw driver to put together. Are there locking mechinisms similar to these (but much beefier with a hand lever) that can be installed say on a 4x4 solid walnut post so the legs of the desk could be latched on to the main deck of the desk. The main desk would have a screwed on metal disk that a metal peg could be screwed into to interlock with the turning mechanism in the post.

I was thinking about using magnets but those could interfere with any electronics placed on the desk.

As big of a pain furniture is to move I would think something like this would be sold everywhere. I contacted a furniture builder in the area and he wanted 2500 to build a walnut desk but he also did not have any locking mechanisms and when I called to price the wood, I found out walnut is expensive but not 2500 expensive. My step dad has a full wood working shop but not a CNC machine so I was going to see if I could try my hand at it.

If I had to have the mechanism special made that would be a 5 axis metal CNC which there is one in my area but its VERY expensive to have anything done on such a machine (I have called and got quotes lol).

I could get a copy of solid works and do it but im hoping there is something commercially available.
When you get your design worked out and build your solid walnut desk, let me know I might be interested in buying one from you as long as the price is below 1000 dollars.

Jack
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-09-2014, 11:54 AM
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Just stumbling across this

I've built a couple of desks (one solid cherry, one with a maple base and padauk top), but for both of mine, I used mortise and tenon joinery for the bases. If I was trying to build a desk with removable legs, I would approach it in one of two ways. One way would be to use a metal corner bracket (I'd prefer a kerf-mount bracket) as a previous poster pointed out. This is available from Rocker (http://www.rockler.com/kerf-mount-co...ons-kerf-mount). You screw a hanger bolt into the leg and typically use a wing nut to make the connection. If for whatever reason I wanted to eschew the use of the metal bracket, you could replace it with another construction I've seen which uses a wooden bracket. I've sketched that up as attached.
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post #11 of 12 Old 08-12-2014, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddrf View Post
I've built a couple of desks (one solid cherry, one with a maple base and padauk top), but for both of mine, I used mortise and tenon joinery for the bases. If I was trying to build a desk with removable legs, I would approach it in one of two ways. One way would be to use a metal corner bracket (I'd prefer a kerf-mount bracket) as a previous poster pointed out. This is available from Rocker (http://www.rockler.com/kerf-mount-co...ons-kerf-mount). You screw a hanger bolt into the leg and typically use a wing nut to make the connection. If for whatever reason I wanted to eschew the use of the metal bracket, you could replace it with another construction I've seen which uses a wooden bracket. I've sketched that up as attached.
How do you get the measurements for how much to chamfer the leg so that it mates up tightly to the joints in your design?
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post #12 of 12 Old 08-12-2014, 02:53 AM
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No offense mate, but I think you're in over your head here, price wise. 8 4x4 lengths of solid walnut alone I could very very easily see putting you over a grand, extrapolating from 4/4 walnut being $10bf in my area and scaling up linearly price wise. As a matter of fact, punching that into a board foot calculator came up with $1280, assuming 16/4 walnut could even be found. And again, that's just the legs. Add in the rest of the desk, the inevitable mistakes that come with working with something new, the hardware and you'd be extremely lucky to come in under 2.5k. I'd hit the drawing board again and draw up some plans, and maybe pick a cheaper wood. Or, call that guy back, get him to build the desk and start with a smaller project
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