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Corner Floor
copyright 2005

The Regular Corner Desk

Sometimes you must match the desk to the room. Sometimes the only reasonable location for the computer is the corner of the room.

The Regular Corner Desk of moderate size, modern and modular. This model features a low keyboard shelf and two independent wing tables (see Sketches #1 below). It is a large desk but not so large that it will not fit in an bedroom office. It has three desk top levels that over lap each other where they meet.

The desk tops include cable through holes with open cable ways below. The desk top is constructed from hardwood plywood edged with hardwood strips. The top grain on the corner piece runs diagonally.

We also have slightly larger and more complex Big Corner Desk and a similar large desk that is not designed specifically for the corner of the room, The Seven Acre Desk. Our third corner disk is a simple and inexpensive desk that any student can build.

Corner Front

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.

The monitor sits on the main computer table; the keyboard on a low shelf just above lap level. The computer is placed on the floor to the user's right in the tower configuration. The wing tables provide ample room for printers and desk accessories.

Rockler order link to first page

This design includes eighteen 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.

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. Select edge technique.
  6. Purchase local materials.
  7. Have the plywood cut.
  8. Build the legs.
  9. Cut and add edge molding to tops.
  10. Assemble the three tables.
  11. Disassemble
  12. Finish all pieces
  13. Reassemble
  14. Install the computer.
  1. Discussion of Sketches

    After you download the sketches, these notes will help you understand them more completely. The Regular Corner Desk is made of three pieces, the main computer table and two wing tables. Sketches #1, #2, and #3 show the complete layout.

    1. Regular Corner Desk, Front View, (.GIF drawing)

      One wing table is shown face on and the other edge on. The corner table is seen from the side with the user area at 45 degrees to the view. The various offset top levels are clearly shown.

    2. Regular Corner Desk, Floor Plan, Sketch #2 (gif drawing)

      The floor plan details a typical layout. Note the amount of floor space required for this desk.

    3. Corner Table, Front View, Sketch #3

      The corner table is shown with its odd shaped leg. Two of the three legs are this shape and the other is simpler but taller. The user area is at 45 degrees to the view.

    4. Corner Table, Top View, Sketch #4

      The top is at two levels. The keyboard shelf is lower and fits under the top slightly. This makes a small step along the edge.

      The grain of the panel runs across the diagonal, making a critical style feature. This feature does require a little more plywood, but please do not try to economize on the materials.

    5. Corner Table, Top Plywood Layout, Sketch #5

      The layout of the top is shown on a 48 x 96 inch piece of .75 inch thick hardwood 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 are used to make the front piece.

    6. Top Edge Molding, Sketch #6

      Simple hardwood strips are shown for the plywood edges. You can seal and paint the plywood edge instead. You can make the table top look thicker by adding a hardwood strip along the bottom. The strips are held on with glue and brads. The brads are predrilled.

    7. Corner Table, Legs and Cross Pieces, Sketch #7

      This sketch illustrates the legs and cross pieces with the top and shelf removed. Note that the front piece is vertical and the stringers are flat. The stringers fit into notches made in the legs. They are held with screws and glue.

      The front piece is made form two pieces of plywood cut from the top scrap. This lets the grain run at an interesting 45 degrees mirrored at the center.

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

    8. Corner Table, Side Leg (2), Sketch #8

      These two legs have a step to hold the keyboard shelf and a 45 degree surface for the front board. The two legs are mirror images of each other.

      All the legs are made of two layers of 3/4-inch wood. The upright boards are half lapped into the top and bottom boards. The stringers fit in notches.

      The assembly is held together with screws and glue. All the screws run from the inside of the desk to the outside and are covered with hardwood plugs.

    9. Corner Table, Center Leg, Sketch #9

      For this leg, the stringers enter at 45 degree angles. Only one leg of this type is needed. Cut the notches to fit your stringers.

    10. Corner Table, Horizontal Pieces, Sketch #10

      The front board is quite visible in the finished piece. and is made from two pieces cut from scrap of the top. It has a hole for the keyboard cable and a hole for the mouse cable. The stringers have sloppy holes for the top screws and have their edges rounded off.

    11. Wing Table, Front & Side View, Sketch #11

      The wing tables have simple lines. There are two top cross pieces but only one bottom cross piece. The 34 inch length is the longest that can be cut from the same pieces of plywood as the top.

    12. Wing Table, Top, Sketch #12

      The wing table top is a simple piece of .75 inch plywood. Handle the edge the same way you handle it on the center table.

    13. Wing Table, Top Removed, Sketch #13

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

    14. Wing Table, Legs (2), Sketch #14

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

    15. Wing Table, Stringers, Sketch #15

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

    16. The Corner Desk, Look-Down Well, Top View Sketch #16

      The sketch shows the optional well to hold the monitor in the Look-Down position below the desk surface. The well structure is supported by the two stringers and the front board.

    17. The Corner Desk, Look-Down Well Front Board, Sketch #17

      The front board needs a slight modification to accept the look-down well.

    18. The Corner Desk, Look-Down Well Parts, Sketch #18

      Here are the parts of the optional look-down monitor well. As this feature is and optional add-on it is not covered in the materials list below.

    Rockler order link to first page
  2. Materials

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

    Hardwood Plywood

    1/2-Inch Hardwood Plywood

    ______________Subtotal: _________ $55.00

    You make the entire desk top from one piece of hardwood plywood if the wings are no longer than 34 inches. The thickness should be between 1/2 and 3/4 inches (13 to 19 mm). You may be able to get a good price on a sheet that has some damage on one corner but are perfect in the area shown on the plywood layout sketches.

    Hardwood Molding

    You can purchase hardwood molding or make your own. Making your own requires a table saw or radial-arm saw. You may also seal and paint the plywood edge instead.

    ______________Subtotal: _________ $20.00


    ______________Subtotal: _________ $180.00

    You may choose to make the legs out of a secondary wood like Poplar or clear pine and paint them a dark color.


    ______________Subtotal: _________ $25.00

    Rockler order link to first page


    ______________Subtotal: _________ $35.00

    Omissions and Contingencies (~15%) _________ $50.00 (Tax, sand paper, etc.)

    ______________Estimated Total Cost _________ $365.00

    This is only an estimate (made in the fall 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. Using less expensive wood for the legs and painting them will significantly reduce the cost.

    Rockler order link to first page
  3. Fabrication Notes

    This section 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:

      • Molding or seal and painted edges -- (see finishing below)
      • Length of Wing Tables -- from 30 to 48 inches (760 to 1200mm).
      • Secondary Wood for legs -- you may use less expensive wood and paint it.
      • Cable holes in desk top -- Homemade or commercial grommets
      • Stringer though the legs -- Should the stringers come through the legs or stop inside them.
    2. Making Tops

      The tops are cut from plywood and surrounded by strip molding.

      1. Top Cuts

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

      2. Molding

        Hardwood molding will withstand ware better than simple paint. You can purchase hardwood molding that will work or you can cut simple strips of hardwood with a table or radial-arm saw. You can do without the molding and simply seal and paint the plywood edges.

        You can cut your own molding with a table saw or radial arm saw. The joints in the molding are simple miter joints cut at 45 or 22.5 degrees. They will open up over time but as the molding is thin this should not look too bad.

      3. Attaching the Molding

        Attach the molding to the top with glue and 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. 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 #2. The cutoff back corner of the corner table serves as its main cable drop. If you need cable holes, specific instructions and drawings for them are included with Cable Handling on our Web Site. You can mail order special hardware for these holes.

        Also there 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. The front board must have holes for the keyboard and mouse cables.

    3. Making the Legs

      All the legs are assembled from pieces of wood.

      1. Cut Out Pieces

        Cut out a pattern for the leg bottoms from masonite or plywood. The tops and bottoms have the same curve. The stringers notches are located in the same place but the bottom has a notch only on the back.

        You can decide to stop the stringers inside the legs or bring then through to the outside. This is most important to the look of the bottom stringer. If stopped inside the notch should come 3/4's of the way through the leg.

        You can half lap the cross pieces and the upright with a dado set or router. Take care to get these notches just the right depth. 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. Glue and lay on the inside boards. Screw them down working from the bottom up using #8 1 inch 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. Take some time for this. You want a nice looking sculptured look.

    4. Look-Down Monitor Well

      The look-down monitor well shown in Figures #16 though #18 is optional. It is constructed of two side boards and a shelf. Construct the side boards from either 3/4-inch planks or 3/4-inch hardwood plywood. If plywood is used, the visible edges must be filled and stained fully black.

      The tray is also made from planks or plywood and hardwood strips. To allow for adjustment it is has four captured nuts built into the shelf and rows of holes in the side boards. These special nuts often come in sets with dark, hex hole, flat head bolts and are available by mail order. As an alternative you can use 1/4 inch 'T' nuts, bolts, and washers. The 'T' nuts are fitted inside the hardwood strips.

      The bolt holes in the side boards are on 1-inch centers. The rear holes are slotted to 5/8 inch to allow the shelf to be installed tilted. The side boards have cable holes.

    5. Assembly of Tables

      The stringers simply screw and glue to the legs with four screws at each joint. The front piece is made from two pieces of plywood with 45 degree grain. It has a block of plywood to splice the two together and two glue blocks to attach the top. You can attach the front piece to the legs with screws from the inside at an angle.

      The top pieces simply screw to the stringers. The screw holes are made intentionally sloppy so that the top can move a little if the wood expands at different rates. The keyboard shelf is help on with screws through the front pieces from the inside and two metal table top fasteners. These allow one screw to go up and one down. More details and alternative ways of doing this are given in Desk Tops.

    Rockler order link to first page
  4. 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 a piece of scrap 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.

      The front pieces should have the same finish as the desk top.

    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. Edge Finish

      You may choose to seal and paint the edge of the plywood rather than apply the molding.

      1. Sand the edges -- Use a sanding block and hand sand all the edges. Round off the top and bottom edges very slightly.
      2. Fill large voids -- If there are any voids evident in the edge of the plywood fill them with splinters of matching wood and glue. Toothpicks will work for light wood but shavings off a scrap of wood may match better. Let the glue dry over night and sand again.
      3. Fill the edge -- Use wood putty to fill the edge. Drive it into the edge hard with a putty knife. Test the filler on a scrap of wood to see how it will stain before doing the whole desk. Hand sand with fine sand paper.
      4. Stain or paint edge -- Stain the edges when you stain the rest of the tops but this will probably not make the edges look dark enough. You can apply additional coats of stain or dark paint to the edge with an artist brush.
      5. Finish with Desk top -- Continue the desk top finish over the edge.
    4. Painted Legs

      You can save money by making the legs out of a less expensive wood and painting them very dark. Use oil based enamel. Black is the classic color this but you could use a dark green, blue, or red.

    5. 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 one pint bottle for the tops; two will be better, and more if you use it on the legs also. 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. This material has a poor shelf life once the bottle is open.

  5. Completion

    All that is left is to reassemble the desk and install the cables.

    1. Reassembly

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

    2. Cabling

      Instructions for making a remote switched power outlet, and cable tie mounts are 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 top to 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


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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