Quantcast
  • We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Designing a Home Office Desk

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

lostgoat

Established Member
Joined
12 Oct 2016
Messages
23
Reaction score
0
Location
Ireland
Hi all,

Looking for some design advice.
I'd like to build a desk for the home office. Keeping it nice and simple. Just a rectangular table top approximately 5-6' long by 30" wide. I can get my hands on some 1" thick hardwood timber which would take me a about three boards to achieve the width; which I would join together with tongue and groove and my plan was to breadboard the ends also. The boards will be long enough to span the 5-6 foot. The desk will be approximately 30" high.

My questions are two main ones.
Would one inch thick (planed but before sanding etc) so a little under one inch, be enough for the size of the table?

How would you guys suggest I attach legs and what shape/design?
I could also make steel legs and powder coat the etc.

Like a Krenov style floating rail? Or Nakashima table?

All advice is greatly welcomed! Thanks in advance for any and all!

Regards,
lostgoat
 

Attachments

MikeG.

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,177
Reaction score
678
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
An inch is fine. More than fine. Most table tops from the last couple of hundred years, I'd warrant, are ex-inch.

It's not about attaching legs to a top. A table or desk is about attaching a top to a framework (which includes legs). Rails/ aprons m&t'd into the legs is the soundest, simplest way of making that framework, and you then use buttons to secure the top but still allow for wood movement.
 

custard

Established Member
Joined
20 Aug 2008
Messages
7,116
Reaction score
496
Location
Hampshire
Mike's right, until you've got a lot experience under your belt you should stick with the traditional table design of four legs joined together by four apron rails, and with the top resting on top of these and secured to the apron rails by either buttons (which could be the traditional wooden buttons or the more modern metal plate alternative) or by pocket hole screws.

In terms of design you have to navigate a path between two hard constraints.

The first constraint is that you don't want the top surface to be more than 30" high, for a dining table 28 1/2" or 29" is more common, but 30" is okay for a desk.

The second constraint is that the top surface of a chair seat will often be up to 17 1/2" to 18" high. Given that you'll need five or six inches "thigh room" between the top of the seat surface and the bottom of the apron rail, you can see why you really don't want the top to be too thick or else it will start to compromise the maximum width of the apron rail.

If I'm making a country style dining table then I normally make the top from 1 1/4" boards,
Oak-Dining-Table.jpg


There's no problem with these dimensions, 4" or 4 1/2" wide apron rails provide all the strength you need as well as plenty of clearance for the sitters legs.

It becomes a bit trickier though when you have a desk where you may want especially deep drawers underneath, or a waney edged, slab top which can sometimes be as much as 4" thick.
Leadwood-Desk-001.jpg


In these circumstances you start to struggle to have enough clearance for the users thighs to comfortably sit at the desk/table. Sometimes you jack up the table top height to 30 1/2" or even 31", or you reduce the width of the apron rails to a bit under 4".
 

Attachments

lostgoat

Established Member
Joined
12 Oct 2016
Messages
23
Reaction score
0
Location
Ireland
Hi Guys,
Thanks for the replies. Yes, my terminology is probably wrong. I totally get the concept of the top rails, but my worry was, as you pointed out, the rail at the front reducing thigh space? That's why I thought that a design such as the one attached, would ensure clearance for legs, with a top rail at the back to prevent racking.
But would the 1" be too weak without the rail for support at the front. I suppose thats where the weight of yourself leaning down would be also.

So Custard, do you think I should be aiming for 1 1/4"??
So I will need 4 inch rails along the top also. Okay. This is great advice guys, thanks!!

lostgoat
 

memzey

Established Member
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
1,753
Reaction score
11
Location
St. Albans
That waney edged slab is quite stunning Custard. Is it lead wood? It’s beautiful whatever the species.
 

custard

Established Member
Joined
20 Aug 2008
Messages
7,116
Reaction score
496
Location
Hampshire
As a rough rule of thumb, 1" to 1 1/4" thick for tables, 3/4"- 1" thick for desks.

Your apron rails need to be beefier as the desk/table gets bigger, for what you're thinking about a 3" wide apron rail made from 1" thick stock would be perfectly adequate.

Yes, it is Leadwood, very well spotted!
 

woodbloke66

Established Member
Joined
17 Sep 2018
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
9
Location
Salisbury
lostgoat":10417rj5 said:
How would you guys suggest I attach legs and what shape/design?
I could also make steel legs and powder coat the etc.

Like a Krenov style floating rail? Or Nakashima table?

All advice is greatly welcomed! Thanks in advance for any and all!

Regards,
lostgoat
If you want to push to boat out a little bit, you could do something like the one I made for myself last year....

DSC_0003.jpg


DSC_0015.jpg


DSC_0018.jpg


My interpretation of Hans J. Wenger's classic 'wishbone' desk from the mid 20thcent. Frame in solid Brown Oak with a bandsawn veneer quarter sawn Brown Oak top. The drawer has a planted front and is mitred along all edges so it sits flush into its enclosure. Turned ebony pull in a circular recess - Rob
 

Attachments

ScaredyCat

Established Member
Joined
17 Mar 2017
Messages
1,069
Reaction score
71
Location
Suffolk
I'm new to this too so take anything I say as "what I did" rather than advice.

When I made the desk for my wife's office I made it really simple for myself. The desk is 72 inches long and 28 inches wide - it was a pig to move around and got quite heavy, quite quickly. I recessed the bottom by about 1/2 and inch which left a lip that I would use to keep the 'legs' in place. The legs turned out as boxes, one with shelves on for her PC and the other for drawers. There went either side (obviously) but I did the tops of them in such a way that they met the lip. This meant that the only direction they could possibly move was towards the middle and given it's all very heavy that it's not going to move at all unless 3 of you try to move.
 

lostgoat

Established Member
Joined
12 Oct 2016
Messages
23
Reaction score
0
Location
Ireland
Thanks everyone for the really useful information and help! It means so much to be able access such advice and experience here. I don't have anyone around me that can help. So it is all really appreciated!

So if rails will be 1 inch by 3 inches... How big should the legs be? Would 2 inch square suffice? With a taper to the bottom?

Also, would it be necessary to run "short" rails to meet the long rails for more support? As in make a ladder structure? If I am explaining myself sufficiently!

Thanks again!
lostgoat
 

lostgoat

Established Member
Joined
12 Oct 2016
Messages
23
Reaction score
0
Location
Ireland
woodbloke66":x0hparjg said:
lostgoat":x0hparjg said:
How would you guys suggest I attach legs and what shape/design?
I could also make steel legs and powder coat the etc.

Like a Krenov style floating rail? Or Nakashima table?

All advice is greatly welcomed! Thanks in advance for any and all!

Regards,
lostgoat
If you want to push to boat out a little bit, you could do something like the one I made for myself last year....







My interpretation of Hans J. Wenger's classic 'wishbone' desk from the mid 20thcent. Frame in solid Brown Oak with a bandsawn veneer quarter sawn Brown Oak top. The drawer has a planted front and is mitred along all edges so it sits flush into its enclosure. Turned ebony pull in a circular recess - Rob

Also, this is a beautiful table! But beyond my skillset! But only for the moment I hope! Thanks!
 

woodbloke66

Established Member
Joined
17 Sep 2018
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
9
Location
Salisbury
lostgoat":3u5p51px said:
Also, this is a beautiful table! But beyond my skillset! But only for the moment I hope! Thanks!
Many thanks, appreciated, but it wasn't too difficult to build. There are two main things I did, firstly to draw out full size plans and rods on a bit of mdf and secondly, to make full size pine mock ups of all the bits (like the wishbone) which were a bit ticklish. Once you've done it in pine and sorted out any issues, the actual build was straight forward.
The third and final thing was to stop fairly frequently and really think through what was going on and the next step in the build process - Rob
 

memzey

Established Member
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
1,753
Reaction score
11
Location
St. Albans
custard":3eb9nkxb said:
As a rough rule of thumb, 1" to 1 1/4" thick for tables, 3/4"- 1" thick for desks.

Your apron rails need to be beefier as the desk/table gets bigger, for what you're thinking about a 3" wide apron rail made from 1" thick stock would be perfectly adequate.

Yes, it is Leadwood, very well spotted!
You did an outstanding job on the end grain. I’m guessing it was sanded to the thousands in terms of grit to have it take the finish so well without losing all definition? Things like that really catch my eye and make all the difference.
 

Roland

Established Member
Joined
14 Jul 2017
Messages
133
Reaction score
45
Location
Loughborough
Personal grouse here. I don’t like desks with drawers which hang under because they always seem to get in the way. I’d much rather make a table and, if I need drawers, then have a pedestal unit.
 
Top