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Simple Corner Desk, 0.75
copyright 2006

Simple Corner Computer Desk, 0.75" MDF -- Freebie

This desk is easy and inexpensive to build. It was especially designed with two keyboards stacked one on top of the other. The design includes two small book shelves below the desk top.

This desk is heavy, but is easy to move as it comes apart into four pieces. It can be built in one weekend and finished in an evening or two. It is easy to modify for new equipment. It can be painted in bright, attractive colors.

It is build from 0.75 inch Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF). All the materials can be bought at most home improvement stores and cost about $200.00. The tools and construction skills needed are those commonly used for household projects.

A second Simple Corner Desk in 0.5" MDF is available. This version is smaller and lighter, it has a upper bookcase, and was designed for use with a wheel chair.

The main weakness of this design is that the MDF is not very strong material and this desk will probably only last about 5 years in normal service. This is also about how long our computer equipment takes to become obsolete.

Simple Corner Computer Desk 0.75
Rockler order link to first page

  1. Ordering the sketches

    This design includes nine detailed sketches that are critical to your successfully building this desk. The plans are free and can be obtained with this Freebie ordering form.


  2. Desk Construction

    You can make this desk by:

  3. Downloading this text.
  4. Ordering the sketches.
  5. Studying this information and locating materials.
  6. Determining if this desk suits your equipment.
  7. Purchasing materials.
  8. Cutting MDF and wooden pieces.
  9. Building the two desk tops.
  10. Building the two part support structure.
  11. Fitting the base to the desk tops.
  12. Finishing all pieces.
  13. Assembling the entire desk.
  14. Installing the computer.

Discussion of Sketches

After you order the sketches, these notes will help you understand them.

  1. Simple Corner Computer Desk, .75" MDF

    The desk is shown looking at the longer wing face on. The desk top sits on a support structure featuring two small shelving units. The two keyboards are in stacked trays below the desk top. The monitor sits at the corner where the two sections of the desk top meet.

  2. Simple Corner Desk, .75" MDF, Floor Plan and Top View, Sketch #2,

    This sketch shows the top view of all the components. The space required along the wall is about 73 by 62 inches. The two wing areas are only 20 inches deep. The corners of the wings are cut off at 45 degrees to aid in letting a wheel chair pass.

  3. Simple Corner Desk, .75" MDF, Top Assembly, Bottom View, Sketch #3

    The sketch shows the two top assemblies up side down. Each is a piece of 0.75" MDF. The edge where the two pieces join has a plywood screw plate and a bolt block assembly. The top attachment screw blocks and cable holes shown will be located when the base is complete and sitting upside down on the desk tops.

  4. Simple Corner Desk, .75" MDF, Long Bottom Assembly, Sketch #4

    This sketch shows the Long Bottom Assembly that is one of two assemblies that support the desk top. It is made from 0.75" MDF panels with 1.5"x.75" strips of wood in the joints. If you know where the electrical outlet will be on the wall, you can cut a large hole for the AC plugs.

  5. Simple Corner Desk, .75" MDF, Bottom & Diagonal, Sketch #5

    This sketch shows the two large pieces of MDF with the extra pieces of MDF attached to extend their lengths. These splices also surve as a leg structure. The Short Bottom Assembly is the mirror image of the long one shown in the previous sketch.

  6. Simple Corner Desk, .75" MDF, Wooden Pieces, Sketch #6

    This sketch shows the wooden pieces used in this desk. The Bolt Block Assembly ties the two desk top pieces together. It is made from 4 pieces of 0.75"x1.5" stock that are glued and screwed together. All the other pieces are soft wood that can anchor a screw much better than MDF.

    The Screw Blocks are pieces of 0.75"x0.75" stock cut from scrap. They are used to tie the top to the base assemblies.

  7. Simple Corner, .3/4" MDF Layout 1, Sketch #7

    This sketch shows you how to cut the first sheet of 0.75" MDF to make the two desk tops and parts of the base. Note the First Cut which can be done at the wood store. Second and third cuts are also shown.

  8. Simple Corner, 3/4" MDF Layout 2, Sketch #8

    This sketch shows how to cut the second piece of 0.75" MDF to make parts of the base. Note the First Cut again.

  9. Simple Corner, .75" MDF, Keyboard Trays, Sketch #9

    This sketch shows the pieces for the double stacked keyboard trays and their assembly. The layout for a 24"x48" piece of 0.5" plywood is also shown.

Rockler order link to first page

Materials

Simple Corner Desk is shown made with 0.75" MDF, a few pieces of wood, and a few bolts.

  1. MDF
  2. Wood

    ------- Wood Subtotal: $74.00

  3. Hardware:

    ------- Hardware Subtotal: $53.00

  4. Finish:

    ----- Finish Subtotal: $45.00

  5. Omissions and Contingencies (~9%) ( Tax, sand paper, etc.) $20.00
  6. Estimate Total Cost $200.00

This is only an estimate (made in the winter of 2006). The price may vary in your area. Getting a good price on the MDF is critical to keeping the price down. You can also save if you make all the wood pieces from scrap wood.


This desk was designed so that it could be built by an amateur woodworker using tools commonly used for home fix up. However, the job will be easier if you can get access to a table or radial arm saw. A Drill Mate bit for a 1-1/4 #8 flat head screw is most helpful.

Rockler order link to first page

Fabrication Notes

These notes are 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 needs and likes.

  1. Options

    Look over the desk drawing and decide what you are going to do before you buy the materials:

    1. Equipment Supported

      Go over all the computer and audio equipment you wish to support with this desk and determine the size for each piece. You may wish to adjust the length of the wing areas to suit your equipment and wall space.

      The two stacked keyboards are for a special application. You may wish to have only one keyboard tray and reduce the height of the desk by about 2 inches.

      Air Typing is an exercise given on our Web Site to help you determine the height you need for the keyboard, the monitor, and the angle for the monitor. If you wish a higher monitor, you may need to make a simple wooden bridge to support it.

    2. Cable Holes

      Decide what size cable holes you need for your equipment and if you wish to buy grommets. A hole saw for your drill is the best tool for this job. Place the bottom assemblies on the upside down desk on the tops to locate the cable holes. If you know the location of the wall AC outlet you will be using you can cut a larger access hole for the plugs.

    3. Color Scheme

      This desk can be quite colorful. The bottom assemblies are usually painted a dark color, often black but you may choose dark blue, dark green, or brick red. The desk tops can be a bright, fun color like Chinese red. The top bookshelf can match either the base or the top. This is an inexpensive desk so have fun with the color scheme.

    4. Bookshelf

      The Simple Corner Desk in 0.5" MDF has an upper bookshelf that you can add to this one if you like. It can be made as wide and as long as you like. The size you need depends on how much other equipment you have on the desk top and what size books you expect to shelve:

      • Binders need 11 inches wide by 12.25 inches tall (as shown on sketches #9).
      • Technical paperbacks need 9 inches wide by 10 inches tall.
      • Hardback books need 8 inches wide by 10 inches tall.

  2. Cutting the Big Pieces of MDF

    Sketch #7 shows the layout of the desk tops on one 4 by 8 sheet of MDF. You could start with the First Cut at the wood store to make it easier to get the pieces home. The remaining cuts can be made with a table saw, radial arm saw, or a skill saw with a clamped straight edge. You will need a small hand saw to finish off the inside cuts.

    Sketch #8 shows the layout of the bottom pieces on the second 4 by 8 sheet of MDF. Again you could start with the First Cut at the wood store to make it easier to get the pieces home. Cut the remaining large pieces and label them in pencil.

  3. Making the Tops

    Build the bolt block assembly in two pieces and cut out the splice piece. The two dowel pins help to keep the top pieces aligned.

    Glue and screw 1/2 the bolt block assembly to each top pieces. Glue and screw the spice plate to the short top piece only.

  4. Bottom Assemblies

    Sketch #4 shows the bottom assembly. Glue 1.5" wood strips to the sides of the shelves and the back piece. Be sure the form pairs of shelf sides. Note that the short side overlaps the end of the back sheet but the long section only butts against it. Also the Short Bottom Assembly is the mirror image of the long one.

    Assemble the shelf sides and shelf on the back piece. Install eight screw blocks inside the lower shelves.

  5. Add Splices

    Sketch #5 shows the addition of the the splice sections to the long back pieces. The width of the overlap can be adjusted to suit your exact table top lengths.

    The spices have pieces of 1x2 wood to accept feet and holes for cables. The short pieces has a piece of 2"x2" screwed and glued to it. This piece lets the two assemnblies bolt together.

  6. Keyboard Trays

    Sketch #9 shows the keyboard trays. They are 0.5" plywood with 1.5"x75" sides and .5"x.75" trim on the front and back. The sides are 0.5" plywood and the heavyduty drawer slides attach the trays to the sides.

  7. Fitting the Bottoms to the top

    Place the two desk top pieces upside down. Bolt the two pieces together and screw the splice plate. Do not glue this joint!

    Place each of the bottom pieces on them and bolt these two assemblies together. Position them 1.5 inches in from the back edges.

    Decide on locations screw blocks that hold the top to the base. Screw and glue these to the top, but do not glue them to the base.

    Locate the keyboard tray assembly and screw it to the top sections. Do not glue this joint!

    Decide on locations for cable holes. Avoid places where the legs of equipment or the top shelf may fall. If you know the location of the AC wall outlet that will be used with this desk you can cut a large access hole for it. Make lots of cable holes in the bottom assemblies.

    When all the glue is set. Remove the bolts and screws and take the desk back apart.

  8. Sanding

    Sand all exposed MDF edges well. Rasp off the desk top corners so that they do not hurt you if you run into them. Round off the desk top edges with sand paper until they feel comfortable on your hands. Sand the edges of all cable holes to be round enough not to damage the cables.

Rockler order link to first page

Finish

I see this desk done in bright, fun colors.

You may finish your desk any way you like. I recommend: thinned shellack on everything, a dull color of paint for the bottom, bright paint for the top, and two coats of satin finish polyurethane on everything.

  1. Spit Coat

    Seal the MDF with a thinned coat of shellack. Paint all surfaces including the bottom of the desk tops with the shellack. Go back and put a second coat on all cut edges of the MDF.

    Lightly sand the shellack with fine sand paper.

  2. Color Coat

    I like oil based enamel in one bright color and one duller color. You think about brick red for the base and top book shelf, and Chinese Red for the desk tops. You do not need to paint the underside of the desk tops.

  3. Top Coat

    Sand lightly. Apply two coats of satin finish polyurethane to all surfaces except the bottom of the desk tops. The MDF is not very strong and needs all the help it can get from the finish. Sand lightly between coats.

Completion

All that is left is to reassemble the desk, and install the computer.

  1. Reassembly

    Install metal feet under the lower book case assemblies and on the splices. Move the desk into its final location and bolt together the four parts. Screw the top to the base but do not use glue.


  2. Cabling

    Detailed cabling instructions and plans for a remote power switch are given in our Web page under Freebies. Make up several cable tie mounts and be ready with mounting screws and tie wraps.

    Determine which bottom side will be closest to the wall outlet. Screw a outlet strip with surge suppressor to to the back wall.

    Dress the cables neatly and tie then in place 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. Black tie wraps look best and last longest.


Rockler order link to first page

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 page. We need pictures of desk with real people standing beside them.

Don't forget to order the sketches.

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