How to Build a Computer Desk From Scratch

Written by michael straessle
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How to Build a Computer Desk From Scratch
Multiple simple computer desks. (computers image by Olga Chernetskaya from

Building a computer desk from scratch means you get exactly what you want. Build the desk with 3/4-inch plywood for a lightweight and easy to move piece of furniture. Measure the computer components for the desk before you begin the project including a printer, if applicable. This ensures it meets your exact needs. Since this project is from scratch, you can build it to fit a room or even put casters on the bottom of it to make it mobile.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Table saw
  • 2 sheets of 48-by-96-by-3/4-inch plywood
  • Wood glue
  • Hammer
  • 4-penny finish nails
  • Variable speed drill
  • Phillips head screw tip
  • 1 1/4-inch wood screws
  • 2-inch casters
  • 3/4-inch wood screws
  • 1 1/2-inch paddle bit
  • Bottom mount drawer slides

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  1. 1

    Set the fence of the table saw on 28 1/4 inches. Cut one block, across the grain, from the 48-by-96-by-3/4-inch plywood at this measurement and set it aside for now. Set the fence on 24 inches and cut two blocks at this measurement from the remaining plywood.

  2. 2

    Move the fence to 18 inches. Rip--cut with the grain--two pieces from the 24-inch block and two pieces from the 28 1/4-inch block. The two 18-by-28 1/4-inch pieces are the sides of the computer desk, while the 18-by-24-inch pieces are the top and bottom shelves.

  3. 3

    Rip two 10-inch pieces from the second 24-inch block. These are stabilisers for the desk. Next, set the fence at 23 inches and cut the remaining portion of the 24-inch block across the grain, down to 23 inches. This results in a block measuring approximately 28 inches wide and 23 inches long. Set the fence on 14 inches and rip one piece from this block for the keyboard tray.

  4. 4

    Apply wood glue to the 18-inch ends of the top and bottom shelves. Place them between the sides and secure them with the finish nails. Put some glue on the 10-inch edges and one long edge of the stabilisers and secure them between the sides and to the top and bottom shelves with the finish nails. This becomes the back of the computer desk.

  5. 5

    Set the table saw fence at 27 1/2 inches. Cut one block at this measurement from the remaining 48-by-96-by-3/4-inch plywood. Move the fence to 19 inches and rip one piece from the block for the desktop. Turn it upside down on a worktable. Spread some wood glue on it, keeping the glue at least 1 inch away from the edges. Center the box assembly on the top and push the back of it to one edge of the top.

  6. 6

    Secure the box to the top with the 1 1/4-inch wood screws. Mount the casters to the bottom of the bottom shelf with 3/4-inch wood screws. Install the drawer slides to the keyboard tray and the desk according to the manufacturer's instruction. Next, drill a 1 1/2-inch hole in the corner of the top.

Tips and warnings

  • Clean up all excess glue immediately with a damp cloth.
  • Feed the computer wires through the hole in the top to connect the monitor and speakers.
  • Do not leave power tools unattended in the presence of children.
  • Do not apply a finish to the desk without proper ventilation.

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