Desk Design Advice - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-26-2019, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Desk Design Advice

Hello. I recently saw a dining room table design (below) that I think would make a fantastic desk. Only problem is, it doesn't come in a desk size and I have no idea how to build the base. Anybody have any ideas or know of similar desk design plans they can share that I might be able to use? Not afraid to experiment!
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-26-2019, 05:12 PM
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OK, we have an upper and lower section. There is no practical joint that they could have used to join the angles. My best guess is that they have a steel sheet bent to the that angle and then cut slots in the individual wooden components. Inserted the long bent steel plate in the slots with epoxy and possibly some thru screws with nuts and plugged the holes.
When the upper part is affixed to the underside of the table, that will take away some of the stress on the joints. The lower section of the legs has a wood brace/stretcher on the underside to help relieve the stress on the lowere leg configuration.

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post #3 of 11 Old 11-26-2019, 05:31 PM
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mantaroth - welcome to the forum.

not knowing anything about you, your shop, tools or skill level,
it is hard to recommend a building process to achieve your goal.
looking at the cross brace section, one can only guess as to how it was made.
I would go with Tony as a metal frame and maybe wood veneer or vinyl covering.
Desk Design Advice-desk.png

an "experienced wood craftsman" could probably pull it off with solid wood
and special joinery methods.
I'm afraid that this may not be a "DIY" project.
you hardly ever find plans for a "one off" display model such as what you have.
wishing you all the best.


-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

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post #4 of 11 Old 11-26-2019, 07:02 PM
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If you were to build that for a desk, think about where you would put your legs and feet while working there. Some what the same problem for a dinning room table. Except the people would not be sitting there for as long.

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post #5 of 11 Old 11-29-2019, 07:22 PM
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Agreed with @GeorgeC the way thats set up, it would be a very annoying "desk" lol.

That said, you could make the base part wider, and push it to the back more, this allows space for feet and some cool wire management possibilities as well.

edit : to directly answer the question, theres no way thats solid wood on the bottom. End grain glue ups like that would NEVER hold up, no matter how much glue or dowel trickery you use.

if I was to make that, I'd specifically use some sashimono joinery with wedged tenons and bracing. The overall aesthetic would change minimally, but it would change none the less.
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-04-2019, 10:58 PM
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It looks to me like there is a stringer on the bottom. I am not sure if it is enough to keep the legs from spreading, but I think it helps. You could always make the stronger deeper and probably avoid using metal supports.

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post #7 of 11 Old 12-05-2019, 03:26 AM
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Because it is laminated, there are a lot of ways you could safely accomplish the joinery. Just because you see a 3-piece mitered "U" from the front, doesn't mean the whole joint has to be mitered. For the internal plies, I'd make them alternating "hockey stick" shapes. That's not a very efficient use of wood, but it appears to be just construction-grade lumber. Only the outer laminations need to be 3-piece miters for aesthetics.

Another alternative is to hide anchor bolts in the joints. Because the horizontal section isn't visible (covered by the upper support leg), you would insert the wood thread into the down-leg, and secure the machine thread side with a nut in a pocket hole. As a matter of fact, it would be very similar to a pocket screw, except a lot larger, and tightened by a machine nut.

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post #8 of 11 Old 12-05-2019, 11:21 AM
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The base is basically 2 identical units flipped on top. No joinery needed simply screwed from the bottom.

What's going to keep the whole thing from going doing the spits and going "plop" one day? It needs some kind of stretcher then the whole things starts looking wonky.

I'd pass. Bad design for a desk or a table IMO.
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-05-2019, 06:11 PM
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I have been watching this thread for a while. I think this design could work as a desk, with some comments:

* There is an overhang in the front, where you can scoot a desk chair underneath and put your feet under the large arch of the legs. The question is whether the overhang is long enough so that you don't bump your knees into the supports, while the overhang must be short enough that the desk won't tip onto the user.

* I don't know how to say this exactly, but the major forces on this design are compression forces at the 45 degree angles of the legs and supports. In other words, all the weight tries to "squish" the large 45 degree boards. To me, those forces are mostly translated into compression forces against the angles on the two horizontal center boards.

-> My point is that there does not seem to be a lot of sheer force trying to slide the joints apart in the middle. If you anchor those "miter joints" in the middle with strong dowels, metal pins, or a hidden spline/floating tenon, I think they will hold and prevent the joints from sheering apart.

* We cannot see how the supports are joined to the top. If they supports are flat on top and the top rests on them, then there is very little to counter the supports from "doing the splits" and breaking outward as you apply downward force on the top. If you notch the underside of the table top, then you can convert the forces into compression forces on the supports and somewhat inside the top. The notches could prevent the supports from splaying apart. If you don't use notches, then you need some kind of seats that can withstand strong lateral forces from the supports under the top.

* On the bottom, there is a brace that was added to keep the legs from splaying apart. To me, that seems like the weak part of the design. I wonder whether it is strong enough as is, but you could make it larger and/or thicker to improve on it.

Bottom line: This design is very creative and appealing. I am not 100% convinced it can work, but I think it can. If it were my project, I would take the time to do the research about wood strength and how to compute the forces in those unusual joints that the desk is required to withstand. My gut says that it can work, with the proper homework and joinery.
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-05-2019, 08:25 PM
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The thickness of the legs makes most joints too week. A desk can have at times a lot of vertical downward pressure on it at times. This pressure will make the ends want to splay outward. What might work is if the legs were made of Baltic birch or Apple Ply and each profile 3/4" thick - a standard thickness of most plywood. Make a bunch of the profiles and stack laminate them together. Then when you are done with that, just use sheets of veneer to hide the rough edges.
Maybe to explain this easier, look at the front view of the legs. Make a bunch of pieces to that shape and just glue them together to make the overall thickness (front to rear) the size you want.

The top section would not be a problem because the desk top itself would prevent the sections from splaying outward. The bottom section is where the problem is.

i have looked at the picture several times and am not sure if this is a real piece or just a photo shopped image. If you look closely at the lower section that is visible, it looks like a solid wood version of what i described doing with Baltic Birch But yet it doesn't look quite real when you blow it up.

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post #11 of 11 Old 12-05-2019, 09:37 PM
where's my table saw?
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how to make the base ....

I don't care for the base design, but if it were me, here's how I would make it. I'd use angled finger joints which would be very strong:

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)
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