When I was working from home after our offices shut down, I was frustrated by my workspace in the dim basement. I wanted my wife to have a more comfortable space, and promised to help her improve her setup in our guest bedroom. We decided a larger desk was in order. We limited this project to a single Sunday so that it wouldn’t get out of hand. We used only supplies that were left over in my scrap pile.

We decided to modify some old finds from Goodwill instead of building everything from scratch. Both of these pieces were designed to look like old iceboxes. The larger cabinet featured a small folding desk that was originally installed inside the door. A while back, I moved the desk to attach to the outside of the cabinet. This small desk is where my wife had been working. The little cabinet (on the left) is cute, but tips very easily. We stopped using it when it fell on our daughter.

To get started, we removed the small folding table and started building a large desk that would attach the two parts. With my track saw and dust extractor, any part of the house becomes my workshop. When building large stuff like this, I think it helps to work near the final site, especially since I don’t work best from plans/measurements. The construction is a plywood sheet attached to thick solid oak sides. These are glued in place and reinforced with screws on the three sides that can’t be seen. I used my flush cut saw to trim off the extra lengths. To full in any gaps, I mixed wood glue with sawdust to create a putty.

The edges were rounded with my handheld router and light sanding. We were now ready to “fit” the desks for our tall heights. Once we agreed on the right mark, a small section of trim was removed to allow the desk to sit flush with the tall cabinet. I used the flush cut saw and a chisel to remove this wood.

The small cabinet was sanded and the top surface squared. (Removing the existing rounded edges would have been tricky without a track saw). I then built a shelf/extension on top to correct the height. Finally, the newly created edges were rounded. The desk is held in place by several bolts connecting it to the large cabinet. The small cabinet can slide left or right (held in place by the desk’s sides) to create different sitting configurations. Everything can be broken down in minutes, yet is stable enough to hold my weight on the middle edge.

The surfaces were coated with spar varnish to match the existing furniture and to provide a durable finish.

There is room for all three of us to play and/or work. We will upgrade our aging office chairs next.

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