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7 Acre desk 1
copyright 2005

The Seven Acre Computer Desk

Some people want a really big desk. Some people have dreamed all their lives of a really big desk. They got to have a really big desk! -- Well here it is --

The 7 Acre Computer Desk is really a three pieces of office furniture. Included are a very large desk with a low extension shelf keyboard and two wing tables for printers and such. They offer more than 39 square feet of desk surface; who could want more than that.

Sketch #1 and Sketch #2 show the front and side views of this desk. Note the large Main Table and the two Wing Tables. The Wing Tables are shown with optional drawers.

7 Acre desk 2

Sketch #3 and Sketch #4 show two possible floor plans for using this desk. You need a fairly big office for this very big desk. You might even have enough room to spread out your work or even have a conference with a client.

7 Acre desk 3
Rockler order link to first page
7 Acre desk 4

All the pieces are made from hardwood plywood trimmed with hardwood mouldings. You will need a table saw or radial arm saw with dado or a router to make these mouldings or you can buy them from speciality yards. The construction is straight forward but the cost of the large amount of materials is significant.

The design idea comes from Frank Lloyd Wright's house, Fallingwater, in western Pennsylvania. Like the house, this desk features a number of planes that meet at slightly different levels, each overhanging another.

A number of custom modifications and additions are possible. Custom features include table height and cable holes. Additions include a pencil drawer, file drawer, and look-down monitor well.

Rockler order link to first page
  1. Ordering the Sketches

    This design includes twenty-one detailed sketches that are critical to you successfully building this desk. Here is where to get all the ordering information.

    The plans for our major projects are brought to you on the Honor Plan. You may look at as many plans as you like, but when you start to build please pay for the plans you use. These small payments are critical to keeping this Web Site open.

  2. Desk Construction

    You can make this desk by:

    1. Downloading this text.
    2. Ordering the Sketches.
    3. Study this information and locate the materials.
    4. Decide on size and number of wing tables.
    5. Decide on cable through holes.
    6. Select edge molding construction technique.
    7. Purchase local materials.
    8. Have the plywood cut.
    9. Build the legs.
    10. Cut and add edge molding to tops.
    11. Assemble the three tables.
    12. Disassemble
    13. Finish all pieces
    14. Reassemble
    15. Install the computer.
  3. Discussion of Sketches

    After you download the sketches, these notes will help you understand them more completely. The Seven Acre Desk is made of three pieces, the main computer table and two wing tables.

    1. Seven Acre Desk, Front View, Sketch #1 (Above)

      One wing table is shown face on and the other edge on. The main table is seen from face on. The various top levels are clearly shown.

    2. Seven Acre Desk, Side View, Sketch #2 (Above)

      This sketch is very like Sketch #1 except that here the tower position of the computer is shown.

    3. Seven Acre Desk, Floor Plan, Sketch #3 (Above)

      The floor plan details a typical 'L' layout. Note the large amount of floor space required for this desk. A floor space of 10 by 7 feet is needed.

    4. Seven Acre Desk, Floor Plan, Sketch #4 (Above)>

      The floor plan details a typical 'U' layout. A floor space of 8 by 7 feet is needed.

    5. Seven Acre Table, Front View, Sketch #5

      The main table is shown with its rather odd shaped leg.

    6. Seven Acre Table, Top View, Sketch #6

      The top is at two levels. The keyboard shelf is lower and fits under the top slightly. The dimensions shown are for cutting the plywood. The trim adds about one inches to all dimensions.

    7. Seven Acre Table, Top View without Desk Top, Sketch #7

      The top view of the legs and stringers is shown without the plywood tops installed. The stringers fit into notches made in the legs. They are held with screws and glue.

      The tops are held on with screws through sloppy holes in the stringer and four pieces of special hardware. This allows the top and frame to move separately in response to temperature and humidity.

    8. Seven Acre Table, Side Leg (2), Sketch #8

      These two legs have a step to hold the keyboard shelf. The two legs are mirror images of each other.

      All the legs are made of three layers: 3/4-inch hardwood, 1/4-inch plywood, 3/4-inch hardwood. The upright boards half-lap into the top and bottom boards. Also note: cut the notches for the stringers before assembly.

      The assembly is held together with screws and glue. All the screws run from the inside out and are covered with hardwood plugs.

    9. Top Edge Molding, Sketch #9

      This molding design is suitable for custom manufacture on a table or radial arm saw. A dado set is needed. The same molding is used for the main table and wing tables.

      You will have to buy or make jigs to fashion the finger joints shown. Simple mitering is faster, but I guarantee that simple miter joints will open up a little over time. The finger joint shown will also open up but it will retain most of its strength and will not look as bad.

    10. Seven Acre Table, Horizontal Pieces, Sketch #10

      The top stringers have sloppy holes for the top screws. The bottom stringer has its edges rounded off.

    11. Seven Acre Table, Top Plywood Layout, Sketch #7

      The layout of the top is shown on a 4 x 8 foot piece of plywood. This drawing includes allowances for saw cuts.

      The tops are not precise fits on the legs. The exact top size can vary by about +-0.25 inch and still fit well. The scrap from this top can be used to make the drawer fronts, sides and backs.

    12. Wing Table, Front & Side View, Sketch #1

      The wing tables have simple lines. The top cross pieces are hidden by the molding. There is only one bottom cross piece. The large drawer cabinet is shown

    13. Wing Table, Top, Sketch #2

      The wing table top is a simple piece of 1/2-inch plywood with hardwood molding.

    14. Wing Table, Top Removed, Sketch #3

      This sketch shows the top of the legs and the stringers. Two positions of one leg are included so that you have ample height for a computer in the tower configuration if desired.

    15. Wing Table, Legs, Sketch #4

      The two wing table legs are the simplest to build. They are a good place to start with the leg construction.

    16. Wing Table, Stringers, Sketch #5

      The stringers for the wing table are simple pieces of hardwood.

    17. Wing Table, Drawer Cabinet, #6

      The two-drawer cabinet has one drawer for 8.5 x 11 paper and one for 3.5-inch disks. This cabinet hangs from the table stringers.

    18. Wing Table, Pencil Drawer, #7

      The pencil drawer is wide and shallow. It is easy to build and fits in a simple wooden frame that hangs below the wing table.

    19. Wing Table, Drawer Details, #8

      The large drawer is designed to take a metal support for hanging files. Buy one of these before you start making the drawer. The small drawer is sized for 3.5-inch disks.

    Rockler order link to first page
  4. Materials

    The desk tops are hardwood plywood trimmed with solid hardwood molding. The legs are built up of hardwood and thin hardwood plywood. The parts are assembled with glue, wood screws, and finishing nails.

    Hardwood Plywood

    .5 in. Hardwood Plywood

    ______________Subtotal: _________ $240.00

    You will probably have to purchase two 48 x 96 inch sheets with a thickness between .5 and .75 inches (12 to 19 mm). You may be able to get a good price on sheets that have some damage but are perfect in the area shown on the plywood layout sketches. You may have to adjust your molding to your plywood thickness.

    1/4 inch Hardwood Plywood

    ______________Subtotal: _________ $32.00

    Hardwood Molding

    You can purchase hardwood molding or make your own. Making your own requires a table saw, radial-arm saw, or router table with attachments.

    ______________Subtotal: _________ $56.00

    Hardwood

    ______________Subtotal: _________ $290.00

    Hardware:

    ______________Subtotal: _________ $104.00

    Finish:

    ______________Subtotal: _________ $43.00

    Omissions and Contingencies (~10%) _________ $85.00
    (Tax, sand paper, etc.)

    ______________Estimated Total Cost _________ $850.00

    This is only an estimate (made in the winter of 1998). The price may vary in your area. Getting a good price on the hardwood and top plywood is critical to keeping the price down.

    Rockler order link to first page
  5. Fabrication Notes

    This is not intended to be a detailed step-by-step construction guide but rather a number of points to consider. It is your desk and you can build it to suit your likes and needs.

    1. Options

      Before starting work, look over the following options and decide what you want to do for your desk:

      • Pencil Drawer or File Folder Drawers -- These drawers add to the utility of the desk but also add the cost. They can be added later.
      • Type of edge molding and molding joints -- You will want to look at what your local suppliers have and try making several test pieces in shop. Also try making tests of both the 45 degree and the 90 degree joints.
      • Length of Wing Tables -- The length of the all the tables can be adjusted to fit your room.
    2. Making Tops

      The tops are cut from plywood and surrounded by molding.

      1. Top Cuts

        Cut out the tops with as clean and straight saw cuts as you can possibly manage. The plywood can be anywhere from .5 and .75 inches (12 to 19 mm) in thickness. Try to get a good price on a beautiful piece of wood.

      2. Molding

        The molding is not just trim, it is a significant part of the design and must be able to take much wear. You can purchase hardwood molding that will work but these mouldings are often not strong and may be hard to work with.

        You can cut your own molding with a table saw, radial arm saw, or router table. You will need appropriate attachments and jigs. The joints in the molding are one of the most difficult parts of the project. Simple miter joints work but they will open up over time and look bad. People may then catch their clothing in the crack, pulling the molding off and breaking it.

        The finger joint show in Sketch #9 is much stronger. If it opens slightly, it still looks good. You will need to design and make jigs for your saw to make this joint. It is worth the effort.

        You may already own a dovetail jig that is capable of making a very good corner joint.

      3. Attaching the Molding

        Attach the molding to the top with glue and 1 inch brads. Predrill the molding for the brads. Look on our Web page for a good hint on how to do this. You will find it under Construction Hints on our Web Site. The holes should be a tight fit on the brads, but be careful to leave no marks with the drill. Countersink the brads with a nail set.

      4. Cable Holes

        The optional cable holes are shown in Sketch #3. If you need cable holes, specific instructions and drawings Cable Handling on our Web Site. You can mail order custom hardware to dress out these holes.

        Also included are instructions and sketches for cable tie mounts. These let you neatly dress all the cables to the under side of the tops. The drawer cabinets have room for cables inside the cabinet and behind the drawers.

    3. Making the Legs

      All the legs are assembled from pieces of hardwood with a 1/4-inch plywood core.

      1. Cut Out Pieces

        Cut out a pattern for the leg bottoms from masonite or 1/4 inch plywood. The tops and bottoms have the same curve and the stringers are located in the same place. The tops have two stringers that go all the way through, while the bottoms have only one stringer, hidden from the outside.

        You can half lap the cross pieces and the upright with a dado set or router. Cut out as many right angle notches as you can before you cut the curves. If you have a band saw, you may want to cut the curves after assembly. Use the best pieces of wood for the outside of the legs.

      2. Assembly of Legs

        Trial fit all the pieces and lay them out in sets. Make sure you have the right-handed and left-handed leg sets correct. Predrill all screws with the correct size Screw Mate Drill. Lubricate the screws with glue.

        First lay out the outside pieces and glue the half-lap joints. Then glue on the plywood. Screw the plywood down with a small number of #8 3/4-inch screws. Avoid screw locations that will later be sawn or hit by outside screws. Start with the top and bottom pieces. Check that the half-lap joints did not open up. Cut the center plywood piece for an exact fit.

        Glue and lay on the inside boards. Screw them down working from the bottom up using #8 1-1/4 screws. Counter sink and plug the screw holes.

      3. Leg Shaping

        Scrape off all excess glue. Plane the top and bottom of each leg flat. Remove all saw marks from the curved areas with a wood rasp or drum sander. Round off all edges either with a router or a plane and rasps. Sand all surfaces.

    4. Pencil Drawer

      This optional pencil drawer is wide and shallow. It mounts in a simple wooden frame that in turn is screwed to a wing table's stringers. This is the easiest drawer to make. You can mail order standard drawer parts.

      The wood frame does not have to be made of quality wood. The drawer front should be made from scrap plywood from the top. If you have a dovetail jig, you will want to use it for the joints between the front and sides. This may require some adjustment of dimensions.

      You may want to paint or stain the frame and drawer parts dark.

    5. Drawer Cabinet

      The optional Drawer Cabinet is an independent add-on component. It may be built later and is, in fact, more difficult to build than the wing table itself. The cabinet is made up of a hardwood frame and 1/4-inch side and back panels. Screw and glue the frame, then pug the countersunk screw holes. The eight Seven Acre blocks stiffen the frame.

      Dado the side and back frame members for the plywood. The side and back panels are held in place with glue and brads. For hardwood like oak, you will want to drill guide holes for the brads. A headless brad can serve as a drill bit, but protect the wood surface from the chuck with thin cardboard or sturdy plastic, like a coffee can lid.

      The drawers mount with better quality, metal ball bearing drawer guides. The frame includes side pieces for these guides.

      Each drawer is a five-sided box. The materials do not have to match the rest of the desk, but can be made from scrap from the tops. Each drawer has a separate hardwood drawer front that must match the desk top and is cut a little smaller than its hole.

      Again, if you have a dovetail jig you will want use it for the joints between the front and sides. This may require some adjustment of dimensions. Be sure that the hanging file support will fit in the adjusted size.

      Build the cabinet frame and drawer boxes without the front pieces. Install the slides on the drawers and frame pieces. Check for proper action and length of run. Then install the finished front pieces by shimming them in the center of the opening and screwing through the box front from the inside.

    6. Final Assembly

      Screw and glue the legs and stringers together to make the frame. Predrill all screws. If you want additional diagonal strength for the frame, you can add a 1 inch Chair Brace (shown on main table) between each leg and stringers.

      Trial fit the drawer cabinets with the tops off the leg assemblies. Turn the leg assembly upside down and place the cabinet. Drill and counter sink holes in the stringers for the four bolts that hang the cabinet. Trial fit the tops using screws through lose holes in the stringers. Remove the cabinets and tops for finishing.

    Rockler order link to first page
  6. Finishing

    You may finish your desk any way you like. I recommend: oil stain, spit coat of shellac, and many coats of tung oil finish.

    1. Staining

      Work with the stain color that you have chosen. Practice on scraps wood (solid and plywood). Do not start on the main desk until you are satisfied. Do not hesitate to write off an $8 can of stain and go purchase another of a different color.

    2. Spit Coat

      Apply a spit coat of one part 3-pound shellac to five parts shellac thinner. This will help seal the wood. If the plywood and the hardwood take the stain differently, you can apply a spit coat to only the one that stains darkest (usually the plywood).

    3. Top Finish

      I like a modern tung oil finish such as:

      __________ Formby's Tung Oil Finish

      These are applied with a cloth pad rather than a brush. This desk will take at least three pint bottles; four will be better. Follow the instructions on the bottle carefully and apply a liberal number of applications on all work areas. The toughest finish is needed directly in front of the user.

  7. Completion

    Do not glue the tops to the frames. Hole the tops on with a few screws. Suggestions for doing this are given under Attach a Desk Top on our Web Page.

    1. Reassembly

      Reassemble the finished desk and install the computer.

    2. Cabling

      Instructions for making a remote switched power outlet power switch, and cable tie mountsare given in a separate pages on our Web Site. Make up a good number of cable tie mounts and be ready with mounting screws and tie wraps. The remote power switch is optional but is really needed with this large desk.

      Determine which leg will be closest to the wall outlet. Screw the remote switch box and surge suppressor to the underside of the stringer near that leg. Route the switch cable up to the desk top.

      Install a generous number of cable tie mounts to the bottom of the tops where cables will run.

      Place each piece of the computer in the desk one at a time. Route and connect the cables. Dress the cables neatly up to the back using tie wraps. Do not pull the tie wraps too tightly. The cable should be able to slide back-and-forth a little. Trim off all the tie wrap ends.

    Rockler order link to first page
  8. Conclusion

    Thanks again for using a Woodware Designs Computer Furniture Plans. We very much want to know how you are getting along with your project and would be happy to answer any questions by email.

    If you send us a picture of your finished desk, we would be happy to put it on our Web Site. We need pictures of desk with real people standing beside them.

Don't forget to order the sketches.

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