How to Make a Computer Table or Desk

Written by jason brick
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It's easy to blow a couple hundred dollars on a fancy computer desk at your local big box office supply store, but all a computer needs is a flat surface and some supports to keep that surface around chest level while you're working. Follow these easy steps to build a computer desk that will do the job for a fraction of the cost.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Sheet of1/2-inch plywood cut to your size needs (see step one below)
  • 4 support posts, 4-by-4 inches, length to be determined (see step one below)
  • 4 plywood squares 6-by-6-by 1/2 inches
  • 8 2-inch wood screws
  • 16 3/4-inch wood screws
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill with regular drill and screwdriver bits
  • Circular saw
  • Pencil
  • Thin 1-inch nail
  • Optional but handy:
  • Work bench or saw horses
  • Power sander
  • Optional:
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush

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Instructions

    Take Measurements

  1. 1

    Consider your computer. How much space do you need to work at your computer? A good method is to lay it out on your kitchen table and use a tape measure to find out how much space it requires.

  2. 2

    Consider your work habits. Will you use your computer desk to do paperwork? How much space will you need for reference materials? Should you leave space for a plate of pizza or a cup of coffee? Again, us the kitchen table method above to establish a baseline.

  3. 3

    Consider your height. Standing next to your desk, it should reach about mid-thigh. This measurement isn't as crucial, as you can always adjust your chair.

    Prepare Your Wood

  1. 1

    Once you know how high you want your desk, use the circular saw to cut your support posts to that height.

  2. 2

    Measure your plywood sheet (you can also use premium wood) to the dimensions you've determined for your work surface.

  3. 3

    Sand at least the top and side edges of the plywood sheet. Most people have better success sanding down all the pieces.

  4. 4

    If you want to paint or finish your desk, do so after you've sanded the wood down.

    Assemble the Legs

  1. 1

    Place the end of one support post at the centre of one of the 6-inch plywood squares. Outline the post with a pencil.

  2. 2

    Using a drill bit one size smaller than your 2-inch wood screws, drill two holes in the square you've drawn. Place them on a diagonal line between opposite corners of the square, approximately 3 inches from the nearest corner and three inches apart. Drill completely through the plywood square.

  3. 3

    Using a drill bit one size smaller than your 3/4-inch wood screws, drill four holes outside the square you've just drawn. Place them in the corners of the plywood square, halfway between the corner of your pencilled square and the corner of the plywood sheet. Drill completely through the plywood square. During Steps 2 and 3, you may also want to create a hole to countersink the screws. To do this, use a drill bit the same diameter as the head of your screws. Drill in the same holes you just made, sinking less than 1/4 inch into the wood.

  4. 4

    Place the drilled square back on the support post. Slide the thin nail through the drilled holes and poke it hard enough into the support post to leave marks.

  5. 5

    Using a drill bit one size smaller than your 2-inch wood screws, drill holes in the end of the support post where you marked it.

  6. 6

    Using four 2-inch wood screws, attach the 6-by-6 inch plywood square to the end of the support post by screwing them into the holes you've just drilled. Repeat for the other three posts.

    Assemble Your Desk

  1. 1

    Place a support post on the underside of your plywood sheet, so that the plywood square lays flat on your desk top. Align it so the it is square in one corner of your plywood sheet. Slide the thin nail through the drilled holes and poke it hard enough into the plywood sheet to leave marks.

  2. 2

    Using a drill bit one size smaller than your 3/4-inch wood screws, drill holes in the plywood sheet where you've just marked it with the nail. Go no more than 1/4 inch into the plywood sheet.

  3. 3

    Using four 3/4-inch wood screws, attach the support post to the underside of the plywood sheet by screwing them into the holes you've just drilled. Repeat for the other three posts.

    You may want to perform this step where you intend to place the desk: the components are much easier to carry than the assembled product.

Tips and warnings

  • Quick and Dirty Method (Three steps)
  • 1. Buy two metal, two-drawer filing cabinets.
  • 2. Buy a hollow core wooden door with hole for the doorknob (which will serve as a hole for your cords).
  • 3. Lay the door flat on top of the two filing cabinets.
  • As with any project that requires power tools, exercise due intelligence and caution. If nobody's ever taught you how to use a drill and circular saw, get somebody to do so.

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