DIY Desk: Rick's Tutorial (As told by his wife).

 I have good news and bad news. Which would you like first?

Well, since there is no feasible way for you to choose (sorry; hope I didn't crush any hopes and dreams), I will give you the good news first. The good news is that Rick has officially progressed past "First, you" for his desk tutorial. The bad news is, he has elected me to finish writing it. However, he would like you all to know that he is sitting by my side while I write this entire tutorial to ensure that I don't give you directions that, when followed, will result in you building something that looks like this:

(I teased Rick here for only ever having built a birdhouse. This jocularity served merely to deflect your attention from my own meager background in construction, which is limited to a bridge I made in 8th grade technology out of toothpicks.)

So, without further ado:

Rick's Desk-Building Skillzzzzz 
{As told by his loving but admittedly clueless wife.}


Step 1: Figure out that the desk you already own is a pretty simple design that anyone with at least a background in toothpick bridges could make. The problem? It's too small for two people and the room it's to be used in.

Step 2: Gather materials to model after aforementioned inspiring desk. Our grand total for this custom 60"W x 18" D desk was $40. However, we're not actually sure what it would have cost to build this with all store-purchased lumber, because, with the exception of the legs ($32 for 4) and the drawer glides ($8 for 2 sets), Rick made it entirely out of wood we found around the house. This weird shelf in the closet became the top of the desk:

...and these shelves became the back and the sides (there were two in the room):

...pieces of an old particle board TV stand became the drawer bottoms, and wood we found in the basement became the other parts. The moral of this step is that you can basically tweak what you are about to see to fit your size and budget needs. And always look around you for what you can reuse!

Step 3: On the underside of the wood for the top, draw an outline of where the legs and sides will go. Pre-drill the holes for the legs.

The outer lines are there because we wanted a lip around the entire desk perimeter, like our prototype.
Leg with handy dandy screw already embedded. Go Lowes!

Step 4: Screw legs into place by hand until snug. Drill front underside rim into place.

Step 5: Attach sides and back. Rick did this using this Kreg Jig (which, in case you were wondering, as I was, is not a dance done by people named Craig). Kreg makes pre-drilled holes that are at an angle, so that the screws are hidden from the inside as opposed to being visibly screwed in from the outside.He's quite a guy.

This is the hole that Kreg leaves behind when he is done Jigging.

At this point, your basic frame is complete.

It's drawer time!

Disclaimer: Unless you're Bob Villa or have a lot of experience building and installing drawers, this part may take umpteen hours longer than the first part. Do not attempt it during commercial breaks of Modern Family. You WILL NOT make it back in time to see Gloria give Jay the baby "cheeses."

Step 1: Decide what size you want your drawers to be, and how many you want. We elected for two equally sized drawers: one that is a drop-down keyboard tray, and the other that is for storage. We wanted two chairs to fit at the desk, but one chair needed to be for the designated "computer" side of the desk; therefore; three drawers, like the original desk we were modeling this after, wouldn't have worked.

Step 2: Measure from the inside of the front left leg to the inside of the front right leg. Subtract the width of the divider(s) that will be separating the drawers. This remaining number is the number of inches you have to devote strictly to drawer space.

Step 3: Attach drawer divider(s) and drawer rest, again using the Kreg Jig.

 Step 4: Cut out your drawer fronts to fit in the holes created above by the drawer divider(s) and drawer rest. We subtracted 1/4" of space from the overall height and width to allow room for the drawers to move in and out easily.

Step 5: Build the rest of the drawers and install the drawer glides. The drop-down drawer simply requires you to hinge the drawer front about one inch in on the drawer bottom.

As you can see in the next picture, the bottom of the drawer should be a slightly lesser width than the drawer front to accommodate AND conceal the side-mount drawer glides.

The storage drawer is just a simple rectangle (Rick used the clamp to keep the drawer front where he wanted it while screwing it to the rest of the drawer):

 Step 6: Ask yourself if you really just built a desk. Say YES.

Painted and ready to go, but still missing handles. Soon...

This concludes  
Rick's Desk-Building Skillzzzzz 
{As told by his loving but admittedly clueless wife.}

*          *          *

So. Phew. This post definitely takes the prize for the longest post ever on this little blog. Congratulations if you made it to the end! And please, please, please ask questions if you are wondering anything about this process that we failed to mention--I will make sure Rick answers them. ;)

What's your proudest carpentry project to date? Toothpick bridge? Birdhouse? Something way cooler? Let's hear it! :)


  1. Carol@thedesignpages6/01/2011

    Wow, that's an awesome tutorial. For a second I had the crazy idea that I might be able to do that:) The new desk looks great!

  2. Impressed!!! You guys rocked that desk tutorial.

  3. michelle6/01/2011

    Thanks for stopping by our blog!

    I am going to start reading yours...you are witty (I like witty people) and you have a tutorial for a pharmacist pillow (that is extremely nerdy and cute)!!

    Have a great week-end!

  4. Rachel6/01/2011

    Remember creepy Mr. Salazo (or however you spell it). I made a bunny on wheels in his class for Easter. And a wooden snowman for Christmas. So I am with you...didn't get too far past the 8th grade technology phase.

    I was gonna build Adam a work bench to surprise him when he got home from deployment...but when I started asking him different 'random questions' about saws and drills he figured something was up and nixed that idea before I had a chance to cut my foot off. (or thumb...which happened in 8th grade technology...will never forget Kristen screaming "He cut it off He cut it off He cut it off." :::SHUDDERS:::)

  5. Jenn@P&C6/01/2011

    yessssss awesome! I've been waiting for this tutorial! Thanks darlings! =)

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  6. Kelly @ VATW6/01/2011

    Nicely done! I still have umpteen posts to do which include tutorials of things Andy has built but I cannot bring myself to write because UGH: I have no idea what I'm talking about. So, well done! I can't believe you were able to use so much wood that you found around the house! Too bad you couldn't reclaim a birdhouse or two for the top.

  7. You are an excellent writer! Kristy from www.apronsandapples.blogspot.com YOur newest follower from the blog hop!

  8. I love this! What kreg jig do you have??

  9. This ROCKS! Build me one next? :)


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