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Stand-up Desk made in the Bauhaus Style 1

Stand-up Computer Desks in the Bauhaus Style

I am currently doing a major redesign of this desk. Contact me for more information. Tom Riley

This is the construction notes for our Stand-up computer desk made in the Bauhaus Style. This desk has clean lines and a very modern look. It is a real showpiece. Making it is a major woodworking project and the end result is bound to impress. The cost of the Materials is around $500.00.

The Bauhaus movement originated in Germany before WWII. It is known for clean lines and has defined the modern style for decades. Building furniture in such a famous style can be a real challenge for the amateur woodworker. This is not a project for beginners.

This desk is designed for a flat screen monitor, a desk top computer, and an ergonomic keyboard. It can be varied in keyboard height, monitor tilt, and overall width without too much difficulty. Please e-mail me if you need modifications.

The graphic above shows the front and side views. This design features a dark mahogany rail that snakes around thick blond wood shelves for the computer and monitor, and a clear plexiglass shelf for the keyboard.

Stand-up Desk in the Bauhaus Style 2

The second graphic shows an isometric view of the basic desk. The square mahogany rail makes a continuous loop supporting shelves for the computer components along the way. The lower computer shelf is supported at three corners only. The thin, clear keyboard shelf fits into a slot in the mahogany.

We have four versions of the Stand-up desk for you to choose from:

  1. This Bauhaus Version -- Very stylish, but a challenge to make.
  2. MDF Version -- Cheap and easy to build from one sheet of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), this version is used to check to see if a Stand-up desk is really for you.
  3. Flat Screen Version -- This desk is small and compact with clean lines. It has a simple adjustable monitor well.
  4. CRT Monitor Version -- This design is a rather deep desk and more massive. It features a adjustable monitor well and trim.

Stand-up computer desks have are several good uses:

We have an exercise, Air Typing on our Web Site to help you determine the height you need for the keyboard shelf, the monitor, and the angle for the monitor.

Rockler order link to first page
  1. Desk Construction

    You can make this desk by:

    1. Ordering the drawings
    2. Printing out this text.
    3. Studying this information and locating the Materials.
    4. Determining the correct keyboard height you need.
    5. Purchasing most the Materials locally.
    6. Ordering some hardware over the Internet,
    7. Cutting and dadoing the boards.
    8. Building the mahogany frame pieces.
    9. Building the shelves.
    10. Test assembling the desk.
    11. Finishing all sub assemblies separately.
    12. Reassembling the desk
    13. Installing the computer.

  2. Download the Detailed Drawings

    This design includes eight detailed sketches. You can get them with this major desk form . Look for "Stand-up Bauhaus Desk" in the list.

    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.

  3. Discussion of Sketches

    After you download the sketches, these notes will help you understand them more completely.

    1. Stand-up Computer Desk, Bauhaus Style

      The front and side views show the main features of the desk. It is tall enough to use either standing or sited on a tall stool, it has a flat screen monitor in a shallow look-down well, the keyboard and mouse are on a fixed shelf at the front, and there is a low shelf for the computer.

      The leg structure is of dark hardwood and is 2.25" inches square in cross-session. It is made by laminating three pieces of 3/4" stock.

    2. Stand-up Computer Desk, Top View, Sketch #2

      The top view of the desk and the keyboard shelf are shown. This desk has a small footprint of only 24" by 36". This makes it easy to use as a small side computer desk thus freeing up your normal desk for work with real people.

      The keyboard shelf is also shown and can be of either 1/4" plexiglass or float glass.

    3. Stand-up Computer Desk, Isometric View, Sketch #3

      This isometric view helps you get a better idea of what the finished desk will look like. The computer equipment is not shown. The computer shelf is supported at only three corners. The monitor shelf is the only thing that ties the front mahogany section to the rear section.

    4. Stand-up Computer Desk, Mahogany Rail, Front, Sketch #4

      This sketch shows the front section of the mahogany rail. This section includes the front legs and the support for the keyboard shelf. The legs are notched on the inside to accept the computer shelf.

      Most of the key joints are made by overlapping the three laminate boards that make up the rail. The joints at the back of the keyboard shelf require special considerations.

      The two joints between the front and rear rail sections are not glued so the desk can be disassembled if needed.

    5. Stand-up Computer Desk, Mahogany Rail, Rear, Sketch #5

      This sketch shows the rear section of the mahogany rail. This section includes the rear legs and the support for the monitor shelf. The legs are notched to accept the computer shelf.

    6. Stand-up Computer Desk, Mahogany Rail Pieces, Sketch #6

      Shows the individual boards that make up the rails. It is best to cut these pieces a little long and a little wide and achieve the final dimensions after they are glued together.

    7. Stand-up Computer Desk, Monitor Box, Sketch #7

      Shows the monitor box, or upper shelf, independent of the rails and it shows the boards it is made from. Also shown is a typical flat screen monitor. If your monitor is much bigger than this, you may need to look at adjusting the size of the desk.

      The monitor shelf is half covered with a small top which is hinged. This helps hide cables and provides a flat area for a lamp or phone. The width of the small top may need to be adjusted to suit your monitor.

    8. Stand-up Computer Desk, Computer Shelf, Sketch #8

      Shows the computer, or lower, shelf without the rails and it also shows the boards it is made from. The inside of this shelf is designed to be an area for managing the computer cables to keep them as out of the way as possible.

  4. Materials

    This desk is made from one dark hardwood, like mahogany, and one light hardwood, like ash. The parts are assembled with glue, screws, and lag bolts.

    1. Wood Hardwood
      • 24 bft -- Mahogany, 0.75" thick -- $170.00
      • 24 bft -- Ash, 0.75" thick ------- $140.00
      Wood Subtotal: $310.00
    2. Hardware
      • 1 -- Plexiglass, 36"x12"x1/4" ------------ $25.00
      • 30 -- #8 flat head screw, 1.25" --------- $ 4.00
      • 8 -- #10 flat head screw, 1.50" --------- $ 1.00
      • 3 -- Lag Bolts, 5/16" inch, 2.5" --------- $ 2.00
      • 3 -- Flat Washers, 5/16" ----------------- $ .50
      • 1 -- Piano hinge, 12"x3/4" --------------- $ 4.50
      • 3 -- Cable Grommets, rectangular, metal -- $42.00
      • 4 -- Connector Bolts 2" ------------------ $ 3.60
      • 4 -- Connector Bolt nuts ----------------- $ 3.50
      • 4 -- Feet -------------------------------- $ 2.00
      • 8 oz. -- Woodworker's Glue --------------- $ 4.00
      Hardware Subtotal: $92.10
    3. Finish:
      • 1 qt. -- Shellac -------------------- $ 8.00
      • 1 qt. -- Dark stain ------------------- $ 8.00
      • 1 qt. -- Light stain ------------------ $ 8.00
      • 1 qt. -- Polyurethane, satin finish --- $10.00
      Finish Subtotal: $ 34.00
    4. Omissions and Contingencies (~14%)( Tax, sand paper, etc.) $63.00.
    5. Estimate Total Cost $500.00
    Rockler order link to first page

    This is only an estimate (made in the May 2006). The price may vary in your area.

  5. Tools

    This desk was designed to be build using the woodworking Tools found in a small shop.

    1. Electric saw, table or radial arm
    2. Dado set, or router table suitable for making dadoes
    3. Electric drill
    4. Screwmate drill bit for your screws

    All fasteners must be predrilled into hardwood. Wood screws should be predrilled with a matching Screwmate bit.

    Rockler order link to first page
  6. Building Your Desk

    This is your desk and you can build it to suit your likes and needs.

    1. Customize Your Desk Design

      • Decide which version of the desk you want to build. This Bauhaus Style version is intended to be a real show piece.
      • Work out the best height for the keyboard for suit your personal needs. The exercise Air Typing on our Web Site shows how to do this in detail. The basic idea is to find the arrangement that is least stressful for you. Try this exercise both standing and sitting on a tall stool.
      • Consider building a MDF Stand-up desk -- You can build this cheap version of our Stand-up desk in one weekend for less that $50.00. It can be used to determine if the use of a Stand-up desk will make you feel better physically. You really need to use a Stand-up desk for a couple weeks to be sure. You can also use this cheep desk to experiment with the keyboard height and the height of the lower shelf. These are easy to adjust with the cheap material, but very hard to adjust in expensive hardwood.
      • Decide on the height of the computer shelf -- Some people use this for a foot rest when sitting on the stool.
      • Decide if you want the keyboard shelf to be glass or plastic -- Classic Bauhaus designs would use glass, but the plastic is a little cheaper and easier to work. You would have to have the glass cut from 1/4" float glass at a glass shop and the edges beveled.
      • Decide if you want the mouse on the left or right side. You may also want to cut squares of scrap wood a little bigger than you mouse pad to raise the mouse up by about one inch.
      • Hollow legs? -- The back two legs can be hollowed out so that cables can be run down inside them. This takes more work, but it is worth the extra effort.
    2. Cutting the pieces for the Mahogany Rai


      Cut the pieces of wood as shown in Sketch #6. It is best to make them 1/8" wide and 1" long and later trim them to size.

      All the center pieces can be made from narrow scraps left over from cutting the outside boards. Rip most of your mahogany to width. Edge glue the wider pieces of scrap and cut the inner boards from them.

      Cut the boards to length (plus 1 inch) starting with the longest boards.

    3. Building Frame sections

      The frame sections are built up in two gluings using clamps, but no metal fasteners. First glue one outside piece to the center piece. Do any internal dadoes. Then glue on the other outside piece.

      The recessed end of the inside piece is your reference mark. All other lengths can be adjust after gluing without much trouble, but this one must be set before gluing.

      The internal dadoes in the back legs need to be done with great care. They have to be as big as possible to accommodate the large connector for the monitor video signal. You will want to buy an extension monitor cable to suit your monitor and use it for check fitting this dado. You will probably need this cable later anyway. It is best to wrap electrical tape around the pin and socket areas to keep shop dust out. You will need to dado out the center board all the way into the front board in several passes. You will also need a dado inside the inner board before the second gluing.

      After the second glue is set, plane the sides of the frame sections down to 2.25". Trim the ends of the outside pieces to the exact length needed while trial fitting the joints.

      Fit the easy joints first where three boards overlap three other boards. Do not glue them yet.

      Dado out the areas for the three shelves. Make several passes taking off a little material each time. Many of these dadoes do not go all the way to the end of the piece, some skill and much care is required. You may need to square off the ends of the dado with a sharp hand chisel. Remember most of the parts are in left / right pairs, not two identical pieces.

      Cut the notches for the difficult joints where the rails turn across the desk. These take much care.

    4. Make the Monitor Shelf

      The monitor sits in a box so that it can be a little below the keyboard. This box is made from light colored hardwood boards. The bottom need to be edge glued which is best done with biscuit joints. The corners of the box are dadoes. All joints are screwed and glued. The screws are counter-sunk and the holes filled with hardwood plugs of matching color.

      The cable grommet is installed flush in one rear corner and a matching hole is cut in the other rear corner. This corner does not need an expensive grommet if the small top is used.

      This shelf is attached to dado areas in the mahogany rails using wood screws in countersunk holes. Do not glue these joints or plug these screws if you wish to retain the ability to disassemble the desk later. The screws along the two sides angle down at 45 degrees. The screws along the keyboard support rail go straight in.

      You can install a small half top to this box. Note that a fixed fill pieces is needed along the outside and that the lid stops short of front to make room for the mahogany rail. Small blocks support the front of this hinged top and it has a notch for the mouse cable.

    5. Make the Computer Shelf

      The computer shelf is made much like the monitor shelf. The top is edge glued light colored hardwood. The sides are dadoes, screwed, glued, and pegged.

      The bottom area of this shelf is largely open, but is designed to be an area for control of excess cables. You can install a multiple outlet along the back. The top has two fancy cable grommets let into the wood, that are located near the openings in the rear legs. There are cable holes in the center board. There are three slats running across to give you an area to tye wrap excess cable loops out of the way.

      This shelf is attached to dado areas in the mahogany legs with three lag bolts with washers. Diagonal wooden blocks go in the corners and a hole for the lag bolt is drilled at 45 degrees.

    6. Assemble the front rail

      Assemble the front rail making sure the joints are square. You may want to make up right angle clamping blocks for this. Use glue, four screws, and plugs for the countersink holes.

    7. Assemble the rear rail

      Assemble the rear rail making sure the joints are square. Again use glue, four screws, and plugs for the countersink holes.

    8. Assemble the desk

      Assemble the desk without glue. First use clamps then drill holes for the fasteners. Install the computer shelf. Install the monitor shelf. Install the keyboard shelf.

      The two rear joints between the front and rear rail pieces are best secured with connector bolts and no glue. These have flat heads that are easily countersunk and are tightened with metric Allen wrenches.

    9. Fit the Shelves and Equipment

      Trial fit your computer equipment. Mark the location for cable holes for the keyboard and mouse.

      Fit the small top to the monitor shelf to suit your monitor. Install the fill piece, hinge, and blocks.

      Build a tilted bridge to suit your monitor. This assembly sets the height and tilt of the monitor. It simply sits inside the monitor shelf.

    10. Dissemble for Finishing

      Take the desk back apart for Finishing so that no two parts requiring different stains are connected.

      Rockler order link to first page

  7. Finishing

    You may finish this desk any way you see fit. The classic look requires that the rail wood be dark and that the shelf wood be light. The four wooden assembles are finished as separate units to allow easy staining.

    I recommend staining the hardwood with two colors of oil based stain, seal the wood with thinned shellac, and then finish the desk with three coats of oil based polyurethane.

    The interior of the monitor shelf and the monitor bridge can be painted a dark color, if you like.

    Rockler order link to first page
  8. Completion

    1. All that is left is to the final assemble of the desk and installation of the computer cables.

    2. Final Assembly

      Reassemble the desk. If you do not glue the joints, you will be able to take the desk apart again later. If you chose to glue them, the desk will be stronger and you can plug the holes.

    3. Cabling

      You will probably need extension cables for the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. You will also need a power strip with surge suppressor. Mount this inside the real wall of the computer shelf.

      You will probably need a power cord for the monitor with a installable plug. You will certainly need one if you have a lamp, phone, or other equipment on the desk top. This can be made by cutting the plug off an extension cord, feeding the bare wire though the leg, and installing a replacement plug.

      The ideas is to hide as many of the computer cables as possible. First run the monitor cable up through the one rear leg. Run additional wires for monitor up through either leg.

      Gather the excess cables into loops. Tye wrap these loop out of sight under the small top of the monitor shelf and above the slats inside the computer shelf.

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 desks with real people standing beside them.

Woodware Designs, Woodware@woodwaredesigns.com

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