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Studio mixing desk

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Joe Shmoe

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Hi folks.

I'm looking to make a studio desk, much like the one attached (although not as flashy).

I figured making it would be simple enough as it's just 38mm and 25mm MDF, according to website specs.

I'm not certain that finishing it once built will be simple though? I'm guessing lots of sanding and painting, which will probably end up looking rubbish..... Which got me thinking about making it from softwood and giving it a flame-burn before maybe staining and some kind of lacquer? But the gaps between the boards might be an issue and probably look at bit 'homemade'.

I'm guess I'm looking for some ideas of the best materials to use and the best way to end up with something looking half decent.

I have routers, plunge saws etc, but don't have a planner/thicknesser or anything advanced.

Any guidance to put me on the right track please?

Thanks.

Screenshot_20191230-113613.png
 

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sammy.se

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I think you can try MDF with spraying, still lots of sanding, but you can get a professional finish with some practice and experimentation.

Alternatively, if you want to avoid that, try good quality birch plywood, you can leave that with exposed edges and just a clear lacquer all over, and have that modern Scandinavian look. Might contrast nicely with the equipment.

Softwood sounds like a bad idea to me, personally. Harder to work with and make look good.

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sunnybob

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Melamine faced chipboard.
Cover the entire surface with masking tape, mark out and drill. The masking tape will stop the hole edges from cracking out.
Perfect finish forever.
(of course, that would be too easy for a dedicated woodworker ) :roll: :lol: :lol: =D>
 

thetyreman

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techincally that's not a mixing desk, it's studio desk furniture, I think of SSL 4000E, API or Neve consoles when somebody says mixing desk, be careful with your terminology.

I would not use solid wood for this, you'll run into problems with movement with that design.

I would use MDF with a hardwood veneer on it then have real hardwood lipping around the edges that are seen, keep it similar but ditch the silly glass top, you shouldn't need to see into the desk, just use a sliding shelf or two for the keyboard mouse and midi keys or devices on the other shelf, keep it simple, you could put some of it on the actual desk and seriously think about cable routing and where you could hide them using holes, this is a chance to make something custom made for your own gear and setup so would be worth spending a long time designing something bespoke.
 

Joe Shmoe

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Cheers for the replies everyone!

I think I'll proceed with MDF.

Are there any Pros/cons with using two sheets of 18mm glued together instead of a single 36/38mm sheet?

Will the glue join be noticeable around the edges of the work surface? Ie: a small join line once its been primed/painted?

Here's a nice design I found that's been made in 36mm MDF.

Screenshot_20191230-184904.png
 

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Eric The Viking

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How much wear are you expecting?

For professional kit, it was usual for the surfaces to be thick melamine and any decorative wood strip that might fall under a hand to be finished in polyurethane, at a guess two-pack. Using finishes such as lacquer means they go sticky after a while, as the surface reacts with oils from the skin. They also become hard to clean as a consequence.

Surfaces that aren't subject to frequent resting hands - the shelves in your picture, for example - aren't as bad and you have more choices.

The other advantage of a melamine finish, especially white or dark is that you can write on it with a Chinagraph pencil, which is very useful now that displays no longer have glass screens. Editors spend a lot of time writing down and using timecode, for example, and you can clean Chinagraph off quickly with alcohol (meths or isopropyl), or detergent, although that takes a bit more elbow grease. You can also re-polish it if scratches aren't too deep.

In the photo below, which is a vintage BBC radio desk, the grey surfaces are melamine, as are the white "scribble-strips" over the faders. The mahogany-ish rounded front is two-part poly, I think. The desk is tidy because it's new -- scribbling wasn't confined to the strips!


(from http://www.orbem.co.uk/gp/gp0.htm)
 

sammy.se

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Eric The Viking":1pvwqrlj said:
How much wear are you expecting?

For professional kit, it was usual for the surfaces to be thick melamine and any decorative wood strip that might fall under a hand to be finished in polyurethane, at a guess two-pack. Using finishes such as lacquer means they go sticky after a while, as the surface reacts with oils from the skin. They also become hard to clean as a consequence.

Surfaces that aren't subject to frequent resting hands - the shelves in your picture, for example - aren't as bad and you have more choices.

The other advantage of a melamine finish, especially white or dark is that you can write on it with a Chinagraph pencil, which is very useful now that displays no longer have glass screens. Editors spend a lot of time writing down and using timecode, for example, and you can clean Chinagraph off quickly with alcohol (meths or isopropyl), or detergent, although that takes a bit more elbow grease. You can also re-polish it if scratches aren't too deep.

In the photo below, which is a vintage BBC radio desk, the grey surfaces are melamine, as are the white "scribble-strips" over the faders. The mahogany-ish rounded front is two-part poly, I think. The desk is tidy because it's new -- scribbling wasn't confined to the strips!


(from http://www.orbem.co.uk/gp/gp0.htm)
What kind of lacquer reacts with hand oils to become sticky? Asking so that I can avoid that for furniture projects.

I've used Morels water based lacquer, no issues so far, but it does not get touched constantly.

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Eric The Viking

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sammy.se":2jspi7wf said:
What kind of lacquer reacts with hand oils to become sticky? Asking so that I can avoid that for furniture projects.

I've used Morels water based lacquer, no issues so far, but it does not get touched constantly.

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
I don't know for certain. Something shellac at a guess. It might be fine. But in my day people used to smoke in studios, so there was a lot of tarry smoke about too. That might have caused it, but the older desks did get a bit greasy and sticky, as did things like grams desks (there was a wooden pad on which you rested your right hand to play-in a disc). The type in the pic didn't do as badly, as I said.
 

Sideways

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If you can afford it, consider a sheet of valchromat. It's an extra hard, heavy and durable MDF that comes in a range of colours and is dyed right through. Cut, rout and leave alone. No further finishing required.
 

flying haggis

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Eric The Viking":2psan3le said:
How much wear are you expecting?

For professional kit, it was usual for the surfaces to be thick melamine and any decorative wood strip that might fall under a hand to be finished in polyurethane, at a guess two-pack. Using finishes such as lacquer means they go sticky after a while, as the surface reacts with oils from the skin. They also become hard to clean as a consequence.

Surfaces that aren't subject to frequent resting hands - the shelves in your picture, for example - aren't as bad and you have more choices.

The other advantage of a melamine finish, especially white or dark is that you can write on it with a Chinagraph pencil, which is very useful now that displays no longer have glass screens. Editors spend a lot of time writing down and using timecode, for example, and you can clean Chinagraph off quickly with alcohol (meths or isopropyl), or detergent, although that takes a bit more elbow grease. You can also re-polish it if scratches aren't too deep.

In the photo below, which is a vintage BBC radio desk, the grey surfaces are melamine, as are the white "scribble-strips" over the faders. The mahogany-ish rounded front is two-part poly, I think. The desk is tidy because it's new -- scribbling wasn't confined to the strips!


(from http://www.orbem.co.uk/gp/gp0.htm)
ah memories, good old built in house desks. built to last and last. Evening Eric.
 

marcros

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Eric The Viking":29j0feqd said:
sammy.se":29j0feqd said:
What kind of lacquer reacts with hand oils to become sticky? Asking so that I can avoid that for furniture projects.

I've used Morels water based lacquer, no issues so far, but it does not get touched constantly.

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
I don't know for certain. Something shellac at a guess. It might be fine. But in my day people used to smoke in studios, so there was a lot of tarry smoke about too. That might have caused it, but the older desks did get a bit greasy and sticky, as did things like grams desks (there was a wooden pad on which you rested your right hand to play-in a disc). The type in the pic didn't do as badly, as I said.
Could it have been nitrocellulose? I have read reports of it breaking down over time o. Guitars.
 

Eric The Viking

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Quite possibly.
The grams desks were made in house, I think, and a cellulose spray system would have been the default in the 1960s and 1970s. The mixing desk pic is a GP Mk 1 or Mk 2, made by Calrec (Hebden Bridge, IIRC) to a tight BBC specification (I think four manufacturers were contracted by the time the Mk4s came out). Production started in the late 1970s and finished mid 1980s. We had two slightly later & bigger ones in Bristol, and I think the top woodwork and the front edge had different finishes. The front was hi-gloss (poly?) and pretty resilient, even to BBC tea...
 

flying haggis

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Eric The Viking":13hgfaca said:
Quite possibly.
The grams desks were made in house, I think, and a cellulose spray system would have been the default in the 1960s and 1970s. The mixing desk pic is a GP Mk 1 or Mk 2, made by Calrec (Hebden Bridge, IIRC) to a tight BBC specification (I think four manufacturers were contracted by the time the Mk4s came out). Production started in the late 1970s and finished mid 1980s. We had two slightly later & bigger ones in Bristol, and I think the top woodwork and the front edge had different finishes. The front was hi-gloss (poly?) and pretty resilient, even to BBC tea...
as you say if it was resilient to BBC tea it would resist anything. As an aside I remember when tea was 4p per cup, yes 4p!! and because the BBC had done a deal and bought a years worth at one go the price went DOWN to 3p.
 

Horsee1

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Sideways":1id583dy said:
If you can afford it, consider a sheet of valchromat. It's an extra hard, heavy and durable MDF that comes in a range of colours and is dyed right through. Cut, rout and leave alone. No further finishing required.
+1 on valchromat. Time saved in not painting it makes up for the extra cost.
In my opinion It will age more gracefully than anything with Formica or painted finish.

Cutlist.co.uk supply an unbranded comparable board which is quite well priced.
 

Joe Shmoe

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Hi folks.

Update.

I am using Birch 18mm Plywood, which I am doubling up in thickness on the main parts, and am currently working on cutting all the parts. All going well so far.

I'm looking to stain quite dark in walnut, and then finish with Shellac.

I see lots of information, mainly on US websites about pre-stain conditioner to help prevent blotchiness of the Birch, but UK websites seem to dismiss this, and say use diluted Shellac, if anything at all. It's all a bit confusing.

Firstly, should I use a water or spirit based stain? I was intending to use a simple Liberon brand stain, unless anyone recommends something else.

Secondly, is a pre-stain needed and if so, do I buy something specific or dilute Shellac myself.

Any tips in this regard would be awesome.

Thanks gents..
 

Doug71

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Joe Shmoe":3bldcuo5 said:
Hi folks.

Update.

I am using Birch 18mm Plywood, which I am doubling up in thickness on the main parts, and am currently working on cutting all the parts. All going well so far.

I'm looking to stain quite dark in walnut, and then finish with Shellac.

I see lots of information, mainly on US websites about pre-stain conditioner to help prevent blotchiness of the Birch, but UK websites seem to dismiss this, and say use diluted Shellac, if anything at all. It's all a bit confusing.

Firstly, should I use a water or spirit based stain? I was intending to use a simple Liberon brand stain, unless anyone recommends something else.

Secondly, is a pre-stain needed and if so, do I buy something specific or dilute Shellac myself.

Any tips in this regard would be awesome.

Thanks gents..
There was a thread a few days ago on the general woodworking board called Staining Softwood which answers the questions you are asking, not sure how to link to it but go back a couple of pages and you should find it.
 

thetyreman

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you can use de-waxed shellac as the sanding sealer before staining as well as the final finish once stained, de-waxed shellac makes an ideal sanding sealer, 'pre staining' solution is very likely to be thinned out shellac anyway.
 
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