I am building a new computer desk out of 2x4's and nice oak ply for the top (hey I had to splurge somewhere!). It's not exactly fine woodworking, but I wanted something affordable, custom-sized and strong. I wound up building an 84" x 27" desk with a 30-inch return for under $200 and that makes me a happy man.
I will be staining it with the usual Minwax oil-based stain, then sealing with quick-dry poly (maybe spray). As I learned a long time ago (the hard way), I will be applying the Minwax Pre-stain conditioner first, before staining.
I do not intend on staining certain areas that will never be seen, such as the tops of the stretchers that the top will sit on, and the underside of the top...that's a lot of area to stain/spend money on staining and nobody will see it.
In theory I know this is sort of a bad idea b/c you're supposed to seal all sides of the wood the same way to keep moisture/expansion even, etc. But the top is plywood, not solid wood. (don't know if that matters?)
I'm unsure if I should apply at least the pre-stain conditioner on the tops of the stretchers and underside of the top, even though I won't be staining it. Don't know if just the conditioner would help/hurt anything. I guess I'm looking for advice here.
Any good thread has some pics, so here they are. Tops' not on it yet, obviously.
Top and the return. Note the holes drilled for a 3rd leg on the return. I decided I didn't want to use it, as it's not needed. This edge will be against a wall so nobody will see the hole anyway.
Another angle. Two metal drawers will hang from the underside on the right side of the desk. That is one reason why the desk is so wide. The other reason is "because I can." :D
L-leg construction with 2x4's and 1/2" bolts. Never coming apart.
Countersunk bolts are extra work but look nice.
Pocket holes to attach top. I will not use all of them; I wanted lots of options for where to put screws, should I need to pull the top down more or less, here or there. If you're thinking "Man, I bet it was a pain in the butt to drill all those pocket holes!" you would be 100% correct.