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Audio Studio desk front view Audio Studio desk top view
Copyright 2005

Audio Studio Desk with Racks

This large desk is custom designed for an audio studio. It features locations for an a music keyboard, computer keyboard, monitor, computer, large speaker enclosers, and 19 inch relay rack mounted equipment. It has casters and comes apart into three sections so that it can be moved easily and transported in a van or pickup truck. This desk is a step up from a garage band but a step down from $1600 professional furniture.

I have drawn a number of variations on this desk. The main differences are weather the computer keyboard is above or below the music keyboard, and the length of the music keyboard. The longer versions will take an additional piece of plywood for their construction. The materials cost about $340.00 when using fir plywood for the basic desk.

E-mail if you need a different variation of this desk.

Woodware Designs, Woodware@woodwaredesigns.com
Audio Desk 3

This desk can be build by anyone with moderate woodworking skills and tools. It is constructed primarily from plywood of moderate cost. Three rack openings spaces may be fitted with either commercial 19" relay rack mounting strips or similar strips made from wood. All materials can easily obtained locally with the exception of the relay rack mounting strips which may be mail ordered over the internet.

Studio desks are usually finished with dark enamel with an accent of color. The large inside flat surfaces maybe treated to reduce vibration and resonations.

Audio Studio desk top view

Two version of this desk has been built. Other adjustments are available on request.

Rockler order link to first page

Pictures of this and most of our other projects can be seen in our Picture Gallery.

The basic version of this design has nine detailed sketches. If you wish to make your own relay rack mounting strips, also request its pattern in the text box. Here is where to get all the ordering information.

Rockler order link to first page

You can make this desk by:

  1. Downloading this text.
  2. Ordering the Sketches.
  3. Studying the information and locating materials.
  4. Determining if the desk spaces suit your equipment and room.
  5. Purchasing materials; most local, some mail order.
  6. Cutting plywood and wooden pieces.
  7. Building the four sections.
  8. Fitting the sections together.
  9. Finishing all pieces.
  10. Assembling the entire desk.
  11. Installing the computer and audio equipment.

After you order the sketches, these notes will help you understand them. This set of sketches are for the basic desk with the music keyboard above the computer keyboard. Other variations of the design may be slightly different.

  1. Audio Studio Desk

    This front view shows the major components of this desk. They are two 19" relay racks, a large desk top, a computer keyboard tray, and a bridge to support the monitors. This version has the music keyboard above the computer keyboard and supports music keyboards up to 41 inches long. This version has 25 inches of leg clearance and the desk top is set at 29.5 inches.

  2. Audio Studio Desk, Top View, Sketch #2

    This sketch shows the top view of all the components. The space required is about 98 by 45 inches. This is a lot of floor space. The rack are angled in by 20 degrees. There is room for two monitors.

  3. Audio Studio Desk, Rack, Sketch #3

    The sketch shows three view of the 19" relay rack alone. A pair of these units is required for this desk. The rack has a support beam for the desk top on one side and one hole in the side for cables.

  4. Audio Studio Desk, Tray and Bridge, Sketch #4

    This sketch shows the details of the bridge that holds the monitors and the computer keyboard tray. The large areas of both these parts are made from plywood. The smaller pieces are cut from wood. The Computer Keyboard Tray runs on two 16 inch heavy duty drawer guides. The monitor bridge has a stiffening strip under the top at the back.

  5. Audio Studio Desk, Specific Equipment, Sketch #5

    This sketch shows the specific music equipment that was used to size this design. If your equipment is significantly different in size, e-mail me to see if a different version of the desk would suit your needs better.

    This sketch also shows the lengths of 19" relay rack mounting strips required. They have a very unusual pattern of tapped screw holes. You can either mail order these or build them from hardwood strips. A separate drawing is available for home build version, but there construction requires a drill press and is time consuming.

  6. Audio Studio Desk, Desk Top, Sketch #6

    This sketch shows the details of the desk top. The two ends are symmetric. The back corners are cut off at 45 degrees. The front corners are rounded. The slots for the relay rack are defined by the end points of lines. These can be carefully located by measurement and the slots cut with a jig saw. The holes are for cables and may be any diameter from 1.25" to 2.0" and are cut with a hole saw in a drill.

    The side view and the hidden lines on the top show a cable tray. It is made from the same plywood and plays an important part in stiffening the desk top. It also helps to keep many of the cables out of the way.

  7. Audio Studio Desk, Plywood Sheet 1, Sketch #7

    This sketch shows how to cut the first piece of plywood. Note that you can have one or two cuts done at the store so that you can get the plywood sheet home easily. The four identical sides of the racks are shown with enough dimensions to lay them out on the plywood. Two of the sides will later need cable holes.

  8. Audio Studio Desk, Plywood Sheet 2, Sketch #8

    This sketch shows the layout of the second piece of plywood. It covers rack parts, the cable tray, and support for the computer tray. A first cut for use at the store is shown.

  9. Audio Studio Desk, Plywood Sheet 3, Sketch #9

    This sketch shows the layout of the third piece of plywood. It has the desk top, bridge, and computer keyboard tray. Again note the first cut.

  10. Rack Mounting Strips Pattern

    This sketch is in a separate file and is a pattern to lay out the distinctive pattern of a 19" relay rack. Request this drawing separately if you plan to make your own rack strips. Print out the drawing so that the box at the top is exactly 10 inches wide. The strips may be made from strips of fine grained hardwood, like maple, 0.5" by 0.75" in cross section. The required lengths are shown on the desk drawings. The drilling is done on a drill press with a hold down. If you have the scrap hardwood and a drill press, the hand made moulding strips will save you about $50.00.

Rockler order link to first page

The basic Audio Studio Desk is shown made from fir plywood.

  1. Wood

    ------- Wood Subtotal: $143.00


    ------- Basic Hardware Subtotal: $88.00

    Special Hardware:

    Materials with *** can be obtained from:

    Rockler order link to first page
  2. Finish:

    ----- Finish Subtotal: $22.00

  3. Omissions and Contingencies (~15%)

    ( Tax, sand paper, etc.) $39.00

  4. Estimate Total Cost $340.00

This is only an estimate (made in the winter of 2004). The price may vary in your area. The cost may be kept down by using Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) instead of plywood. Using MDF would save about $50.00 and it is acoustically dead, but this material is much weaker than the plywood. Use of scrap wood for the trim and screw blocks will also save money.

A more expensive version of this desk can be built using hardwood plywood. The end product will look much better and will have much higher resale value. The additional cost will be about $150.00.

This desk was designed so that it could be built by an amateur woodworker with a modest home shop. It is most easily build using of a radial-arm or table saw, and common hand tools. If you have a biscuit joiner, it may be used to make much stronger joints for the racks. A Drill Mate bit for a 1-1/4 #8 flat head screw is most helpful. A hole saw to be used in a hand drill is necessary. The diameter may be anything from 1.25" to 2.00".

Rockler order link to first page

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:

    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. If your equipment does not fit, e-mail me to see if a different version of the desk is available.

    2. Desk Height

      Air Typing is an exercise given on our Web Site to help you determine the height you need for the keyboard shelf, the monitor, and the angle for the monitor. Having two keyboard means that one of them has to be well away from its ideal height. Decide which keyboard you will use the most and build a design with that one in the best position. Also look to see if this design gives you enough leg clearance.

  2. Cutting the Plywood

    The plywood layout drawings all show a first cut. This can be made at the store so that the plywood will be much easier to get home and to work with in the shop.

    Always cut plywood with a very fine toothed saw blade. This will greatly reduce the amount of splintering of the surface ply.

  3. Building the Racks

    Carefully measuring off lines for the rack sides on the plywood using a straight edge and a square first. Cut the lines with a fine bladed saw. Sand the edges.

    The joints are first nailed and glued. It is best to cut the head off a finishing nail and use it for a drill to predrill holes for all nails.

    Then glue blocks with three predrilled screw holes are used to reinforce the joints. They are installed in out of the way places with glue and screws. These greatly increase the strength of the joints, just in case a bar fight breaks out where you are recording.

  4. Building the Desk Top

    The Desk top is cut from one piece of plywood. Mark the slots for the relay rack very carefully. It is best to build the relay rack first so that you can check the top before cutting the slots. Cut off the back corners and round the front corners after you are happy with the rack slots.

    The cable tray fits on the bottom of the desk top and provides most of its stiffness. The rack is symmetrical and should miss both racks by at least 0.5".

    The computer keyboard tray is best installed to the bottom of the desk top after it is completely assembled. It to is symmetrical.

  5. Building the Monitor Bridge

    The monitor bridge is three pieces of plywood with a wood piece as a stiffener across the back. Be sure it is wide enough to span your music keyboard.

  6. Building the Computer Keyboard Tray

    The computer keyboard tray is made from plywood with wood trim. It hangs from below the desk top by two strips of plywood and screw blocks. The tray runs out on two 16 inch heavy duty drawer guides.

  7. Assembling the Desk

    Assemble the two racks including the rack mounting strips.

    Check fit the desk top and adjust the slots. Add the desk top support strips to the racks. Drill holes for the two carriage bolts to lock the desk top to the racks.

    Install the cable tray and the computer keyboard tray under the desk top. Drill cable holes in the side of the racks.

    Place the monitor bridge on top of the desk top. Check the size and fit of all the major pieces of equipment.

Rockler order link to first page

I see this desk as painted a dark color with bright color accents. You finish any way you want.

  1. Edge Sealing

    The plywood edges require special attention. Fill and seal all the exposed plywood edges with the following steps:

    1. Insert splinters of wood and glue into all open spaces. These should be loose fits and not forced in. Do not cut them off until after the glue is dry and then use a sharp knife.
    2. Rough sand all edges. Round off the outside plies very slightly.
    3. Fill visible edges with wood putty. Force the material hard into the exposed edge with a putty knife.
    4. Fine sand all edges.
    5. Seal the edges with sealer, thinned shellac, or thinned paint.
    6. Let dry completely
    7. Sand again with fine paper.
  2. Painting

    I find oil based enamel by far the most durable. All surfaces will need at least two coats of paint. Hard ware surfaces, like the front of the desk top, will need at least one extra coat of paint.

    Color accidents can make the desk look way cool.

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

  1. Reassembly

    Install felt feet under the monitor bridge. Reinstall all the hardware.

  2. Cabling

    Use the cable tray and routing holes as much as you can.

    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. The remote power switch is optional but is really helps the desk user.

    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

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.

Rockler order link to first page
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Woodware Designs, Woodware@woodwaredesigns.com
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