Building my Desk

07 Sep 2009

So instead of forking out like $120+ for a new desk I decided to build my next desk. I spent a few hours with some paper and a pencil deciding how I wanted it to look, but most of the time was spent figuring out the dimensions.


  • Had to be tall enough for my chair to scoot under
  • Had to be short enough so it wasn’t uncomfortable to type on a keyboard
  • Had to be deep enough for me to be able to stick my legs out under it

So here is how it went

Here are the schematics that I drew up for the desk

Desk Schematics

Desk Schematics

I then took a trip to Home Depot to see what types of wood were available. I originally figured I would use 2×4’s but then found that they had 2×3’s and decided that would be better. I looked at all the sheet wood that they had and taking into account the cost and what it would feel like to rest my arms on, I picked particle board. I kind of guessed on the thickness and decided on 1/2″ thick.

Here are the prices I gathered

  • 8′ 2×3’s were $1.97 ea
  • 4’x8′ 1/2″ particle board was $15.77

I came back home and had lunch and figured out how many boards I would need to buy. Obviously the particle board was way bigger than I needed, but the 2×3’s I wasn’t sure about.

The final numbers came to be 5 2×3’s and 1 particle board. Now, I just needed to figure out where to have them cut the boards so that they would fit into my car.

So using the schematics and the board cuting guide you can pretty much build the desk. I’ll go over what I did wrong so if you decide to do this you can avoid some of the dumb things that I did.

  • If you have them cut the boards at the lumber yard make sure you know exactly where you want them to cut otherwise it makes you look really dumb when they cut the board and you realize you gave them the wrong dimensions :)
  • Don’t forget that when you cut a board, the saw blade is about 1/16″ thick and will change the dimensions of the board. It seemed to work out fine though with the dimensions I used above from the cutting guide.
  • Always drill holes where you are going to put screws through, otherwise you risk splitting the board. Especially if you are putting the screw through the long way of the 2×3’s as that tends to be with the grain of the wood and will split easily.
  • Measure twice, cut once. I always get burned by this. ALWAYS!
  • Have a friend help you. Cutting isn’t too hard, but screwing the boards together was a huge pain in the butt

Ok so her is a quick walk through of how to put it together and the things you will need

Things you need

  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil/Pen
  • Screwdriver(electric)
  • 5  8′ 2×3’s
  • 1  4’x8’x1/2″ Particle board(if you want to spend a bit more you can get better wood)
  • 1lb package of 3″ Wood screws
  • 1/2 lb package 1 1/2″ Wood screws







So from the pictures hopefully you can figure out how to put it together. The desk is not finished yet in the pictures. It is missing the 2 middle 29″ 2×3’s and the 12″ triangle pieces which I am going to put on today. You might also notice that I had the wrong sizes for the back boards and I cut them 43″ instead of 45″ so I had to put them in line with the back legs instead of inside. It would be easier if they were inside because screwing a nail all the way through the long edge of a 2×3 is a pain(and 3″ screws aren’t long enough to securely hold them in place :( )

Total Cost = $75 (way less if your existing drill set doesn’t die on you)

  • Wood – $26
  • Corded Drill – $30
  • Hand Saw – $19

If you have any questions let me know.

«« Previous Post Next Post »»