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Hello all. I've been a lurker to this forum for a little while now, but I finally had a reason to sign up. Currently I am designing an L shaped desk. I have unique needs, so it's quite large (90"x30", with 60"x30" leg), which has lead to a pretty simple system (thanks to a YouTube video) to break it down into two movable chunks. But this system has created an issue.

When you look at my top view 2d drawing, you will see 3 smaller rectangles, and these are three bolts that will be pulling the two halfs together. Combine this with dowels that will be inserted into the boards where the two pieces meet will create a very strong bond that can be taken apart with removing 3 bolts, and a mallet. (look at it as a table with a half of another table being bolted to it).

I'm using 4x4 legs, and 2x4 cross supports. When you look at the attached drawing you will notice that the drawing shows a 2x4 crossing the inside edge on both parts of the desk. I would like to avoid this, but I am not sure how. Would shaving down the 2x4 in the areas where my legs would go cause weakness in the structure?

Also one thing to note is I will be doing this with the more basic of tools (a drill, and a circular saw, maybe some other hand held only tools as I will be doing any cutting/drilling on the patio) which is why I've stuck with a rather simple but strong design.

I'm attaching an above 2d, and a 3d to help give you a picture. the 3d currently does not have the bolts added to it.
 

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On the 2x4 pieces it's the 4" dimension and the type of wood that determines the strength of the desk. If you were to use a wood like oak or maple then 3/4"x4" would work. If you used pine then 2x4 would probably be a good idea. Then on the corners I would put corner blocks to beaf up the joints. Where the L meets together I would eliminate the air between the two sections. I would make that end much like the other end only putting the end cross piece flush with the end and put tee nuts in the end piece. That way just a couple of bolts through the other piece could fasten it together.
 

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I'm using 4x4 legs, and 2x4 cross supports. When you look at the attached drawing you will notice that the drawing shows a 2x4 crossing the inside edge on both parts of the desk. I would like to avoid this, but I am not sure how. Would shaving down the 2x4 in the areas where my legs would go cause weakness in the structure?

That is the weakest lateral support (because that's where you will be sitting) that can be stiffened. You could cut down the thickness, and just double up a second piece. It would also help that where the short top meets the long top, that there is a brace connecting the front rail to the back rail on the long top. Just my opinion.






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good suggestions above

Double then front pieces, eliminate spaces between the joining sections, double the cross brace on the short 30" joint.... and don't locate the seam for the top over the joint. By running the joint into the short section you can take advantage of the strength of the top.

This may not work depending on what your planning for the top covering as a cross seam may not work....I donno? Your assembly process may determine the size of the top pieces and if you plan on disassembly for moving ?


Another idea is to run the top on the short piece across the joint and onto the long piece making the seam there instead. Double the joint pieces under the seam. :yes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That is the weakest lateral support (because that's where you will be sitting) that can be stiffened. You could cut down the thickness, and just double up a second piece. It would also help that where the short top meets the long top, that there is a brace connecting the front rail to the back rail on the long top. Just my opinion.


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Really glad you pointed that out. I had it in there originally, but I moved the center length beam back, and never added them back.

Here it is with them supports back in. Also showing how the top will be with the thicker line in the drawing. (the bolts aren't there because I hid them for the moment)

In terms of closing the gap, I guess I could push the 2x4 that is closest to the sitting area all the way up, no real reason for it to be back that far. But the one by the 4x4 can't move much more becasue the 4x4 is in the way, and I wont be attaching that board to it directly, but still need room for dowels.
 

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I do not understand your little rectangles.

As I am typing this I am sitting at a computer desk that I built that is very similar. It is made out of oak and is somewhat smaller. Therefore I did not use 2x4's. The piece without any legs bolts directly to the other piece. The bolts are only 3" long into captive nuts.

I would do away with the little rectangles and just use normal supports under the top. You are going to have a visible joint somewhere. Why not just have it at the juncture of the two parts? I see nothing that gains strength or anything else if that top joint is moved.

The basic idea is to keep it simple. You are just building two desks ( one that has one end without legs) and bolting them together. Nothing special required.

George
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I do not understand your little rectangles.

As I am typing this I am sitting at a computer desk that I built that is very similar. It is made out of oak and is somewhat smaller. Therefore I did not use 2x4's. The piece without any legs bolts directly to the other piece. The bolts are only 3" long into captive nuts.

I would do away with the little rectangles and just use normal supports under the top. You are going to have a visible joint somewhere. Why not just have it at the juncture of the two parts? I see nothing that gains strength or anything else if that top joint is moved.

The basic idea is to keep it simple. You are just building two desks ( one that has one end without legs) and bolting them together. Nothing special required.

George
Well here is kind of how I intend to use it. I build high end computers. The computer that will be used on this desk has a 45lb case before components. I also use water as a cooling method, so we're talking about a 60lb+ weight sitting on the top on the long section right over the legs (as I have viewing window on the side panel to show it off). On top of that, add in 3 computer monitors, keyboard, mouse, and my arms to just the one wing of the desk. The other wing will likely be holding a 32in TV (led so it's light), and a PS3. I may use this side for casual writing, but who knows. While I know this wont cause any major issues with the desk as it's currently drawn, I will for sure sleep better at night knowing my thousands of dollars of equipment is sitting sturdy. I also do like the idea that because I went excessive now, I can put a corner shelf on the top left corner, because the reach to that area is 42 inches and would just become a clutter corner. I actually had a simpler design, but I scrapped it for this one as it will hold more weight. I know it doesn't take much to support a good amount of weight, as I do have a cheap Walmart table (them $15 black square ones they sell) that is holding my PC tower as we speak, but I do worry that if it gets bumped into the wrong way, down she goes.


Here is how it is currently though. I guess though that if I can't really do much about the 2x4s, I could use the space and add drawers on one or both wings.
 

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