Building the Perfect Desk Part 3 – Beginnings Are Tough

It's Friday, which means it's time to plan your weekend projects. What project are you planning on working on?

My desk is progressing nicely, thanks for asking. After absorbing last week’s feedback from a bunch of people, I made some modifications to the initial design for my legs and made triple sure I was good with the height of the tray, the desktop, and the overall dimension of the desk. Assuming everything continues to go well, I’m set on the design, I just need to build it.

I started actual construction this week (we’ll have video up on the site in the next week or two) with the wooden top. After consulting a few people, the universal suggestion was to start with the piece I was most comfortable with, which will then serve as a template for the welded steel frame.

After I put together my cut list I realized I could build the entire top out of a single sheet of plywood. I went down to our local hardwood supply shop, MacBeath Hardwood, and picked out a lovely sheet of A/C maple plywood. But I’d forgotten how tough actually making the first cut is. After measuring, remeasuring, squaring everything and spending as much time as I could delaying, I finally made the first cut. While I didn’t get quite as much done as I’d hoped on the first day, I did managed to completely break down the sheet of plywood and get the first few pieces glued, and I did one of the trickier bits of carpentry that will be required. I have a bit more gluing to do next week, when I’m back in the shop, and then it’s on to welding.

So, what are you working on this weekend? Are you working on a project, cooking something, playing board games, or something else? Post your weekend plans in the comments below!

Comments (35)

35 thoughts on “Building the Perfect Desk Part 3 – Beginnings Are Tough

  1. Installing a cold air intake on my F150 and if the weather holds out start my private pilots lessons. Bucket list is to fly from home, St. Louis, to Alaska. STL thru MT – WA and up the Alaska Highway. Change out tires for big ol’ tuna ones and hope around the bush… with an experienced co-pilot!

  2. I’m hosting a gold-leaf glass-sign workshop/beer-drinking-session tomorrow, then sunday will either be printing press restoration or reworking my website in preparation for a job interview next week. 🙂

  3. Looking forward to the video.. 👍

    What am I doing this weekend? How about a whole lot of nothing. I busted my hump this week at work. So now it’s time to just kick back, plop on the couch, and spend the rest of the weekend watching tv, playing video games, and eating loads of stuff that the First Lady would not approve of.. 😝

  4. I’m building an L shaped countertop/workbench thing in my garage – 2 piece of ply screwed/glued together and edge banded with some sub-par tiger Maple I have. Making progress is getting addictive.

  5. I am finishing the disassembly/stripping/etc of a Baby Grand Piano to repurpose as a Digital Piano stand. Been a crazy road, but a project I have always wanted to do (except stripping the old finish that sucked).

  6. Car show on Saturday if the weather holds and after that I begin the process of pulling the engine out and rebuilding it. First time ever!

    When I am not doing that it will be papercraft or video games.

  7. Building my Blackout Mini X Quad copter, laying out all the wires and cutting to length, soldering on all the connections, mounting the motors/ESC and hopefully getting to programming/calibrating the flight control board.

  8. I am Starting a interesting project this weekend. Its going to be a hipped roof over my patio. Its not the easiest roof construction but its cool. Made a drawing in SketchUp to explore quantities and how to actually build. It is a big roof 9.5X4.5 meters.

  9. Building a stand for my benchtop drill press out of 3/4 in Baltic birch plywood. I also plan to have drawers for storage below and it will be mounted on casters.

  10. Sanding down the old hull finish on my scratch built RC sailboat, fill a couple of cracks and maybe even primer it. Then I just need to

    • finish the hull
    • clear coat the deck
    • Rigg the new sailing servos
    • Recheck the electronics

    And go sailing again, after two years break! Let’s hope it gets done before the summer is over…

  11. Reprogramming my 1:1 R2-D2 replica. It had been driven by a few Arduinos to control, lights, sounds, dome rotation and movement. It was using a setup designed by another R2 Builder’s Group member to utilize wireless Playstation 2 controllers. After having my first one flake out and buying a few more on Ebay that didn’t work. I decided I’m going to use a Playstation 3 controller via Bluetooth connection. PS3 controllers will be easier to come by for years to come while reasonable quality 3rd party wireless PS2 controllers get harder by the day to find.

  12. I am hopefully getting my computer fixed so that I can start drafting my next project.
    I want to build my self a tool cart, 4 feet tall, stained plywood with some roadcase extrusion to make it nice and tough.

  13.   I want to try something similar for a project and am unsure of how to go about making the Bluetooth controller talk to my arduino. Suggestions?

  14. Sure. Now, I haven’t done it quite yet myself, but there’s a few hits on Google that led me down this path.

    These USB BT Dongles –

    It was recommended to grab 5 of them or so. They can be a bit flaky apparently. They are cheap enough already and shipping is going to pretty much be the same amount anyway.

    This is the USB Host Shield:

    They sell it assembled and unassembled. The only difference is that one comes with the shield pin headers already soldered in and the other comes with them loose. I saved $5 for about 5-10 minutes of soldering. I enjoy soldering so, whatever. Saved $5 and got some pleasure out of it 🙂

    That page has links to the GitHub library, but it’s found here:

    This YouTube video was pretty helpful to get things connected and talking to each other:,137747.0.html

    Good luck!

  15. Awesome. Your post led me to reading up on that thing. I’m trying to dip my toes in RC and quadcopters. I’m looking at the smalle HeliMax or Hubsans just to try things out and then go from there. Deciding if I want something Ready-To-Fly or to build something out myself. Is this your first go at something like this? How are you finding it so far? Looks cool!

  16. Moving a way to big skatepark in it’s new place. trying to fit 11 ft parts under a 10ft door opening, and learning to ride a forklift along the way. build a loading deck from 10 by 30 ft from big 1000 litter barrels and some left over parts from a “big air roll in”, in less that 1 hour to make moving parts in a lot faster.

    tonight i’m going to watch morgan wade try to beat the bmx high air record at the x-games.

  17. This is a cooking weekend making meals from scratch which so far includes blue berry muffins(by Rose Levy Bread Bible), bagels (same book), ham and bean soup in a pressure cooker using the bone from last weeks meal starting with dried beans, corn bread in an iron skillet and pizza cooking it on a large cast iron pan. Oh also dealing with the Ash bore that killed my front yard tree and has started killing my backyard tree.

  18. The weekend was going to be spent painting some boardgame pieces but then I dumped a cup of water on my desk. So the weekend is now going to be spent cleaning everything up and trying to salvage a mouse and keyboard.

    I am excited to see how this desk turns out. I have found that I like the surface of my desk to be fairly close to my lap and drawers or spaces under the surface get in the way and end up being a junk space for things I forget about.

  19. Been studying LLVM documentation and code… trying to get a feel if and how much effort would be required to implement a programming language. As seemingly with any tool it’s flaws or weaknesses aren’t readily apparent. And probably have to be discovered by investing time using it.

  20. Tip: the best tool ever = Festool TS 55 REQ Tracksaw. It would shave hours off your project.

  21. I built a small table planter this weekend (using curly maple and purpleheart). I also plan to layout some maple and exotics for some cutting boards.

  22. Gday mate, yeah this is my first time doing something like this. I did some LED lighting my my Millennium Falcon 1:144 scale model but that is the extent of my electronics experience. I spent a few weeks trying to decide if I was going to buy a FTF quad or to build it myself. I decided to build because I wanted the experience and so that when I crash it, I would know how to fix it and have some of the parts on hand so I am not waiting around for deliveries of spare parts.

  23. I’m working on a music workstation this weekend to replace my portable keyboard stand. The lower module is a 19″ rack facing either inward or outward, and can be moved interchangeably to the left or right side of the desk.

    I’m still tweaking the design, for one thing I want to add a removable stand for sheet music. First cuts will be made tomorrow.

  24. Weekend plans…well mostly done now, since the weekend is nearly over…but:

    Got to our summer place with my family, spent the first 1,5 hours going over the yard with a two stroke weed-whacker. The years resembled a jungle when arriving, since we haven’t been here in two weeks. Rest of saturday was spent getting all sorts of small maintenance things and yard work done, and then just resting.

    Slept late on sunday. After getting up I fired up the hedge cutter to get the bushes under control. Then I prepared a hefty BBQ meal using our new charcoal grill, and after the meal I took a hack saw to our old grill, so it’ll fit in the metal recycling bin. Then we spent the next couple of hours doing all kinds of yard work and washing the porch and yard furniture.

    And just now we got back from the sauna. Nothing feels quite as relaxing after manual labor, than a nice soft sauna and dipping in a lake.

  25. Finishing up the baffle/absorber design for a recording studio I am helping tune (adjusting the acoustic signature).

  26. Dad and I built a dirt drag out of cattle panel, 2 inch by half inch thick flat bar steel, creosote crossties and steel angle iron trailer ramps for weight. It was an exercise in doing it quickly but doing it right.

    Since then we’ve spent the past two days cutting up a hay field and dragging it smooth (again). We have the sunburns to prove how long we were out there.

  27. in germany, pentecost is a three-day weekend, and the clique of my father’s friends meets up on a cozy spot on a meadow right in the middle of a huge forest every year, since some time in the early 70s. the whole thing spans several generations now, and is generally two and a half days of lounging around in nature, grilling sausage over the camp fire during the day, grilling steaks and stuff for dinner, drinking beer, playing cards, stupid jokes, and meeting a lot of friends you haven’t seen in a year.

    that’s what i had planned.

    and then, while searching for saplings to make into sausage-grilling skewers, i found a potential skewer with a potential bow underneath. so i debarked it, pre-dried it for half a day in my sun-parked car, cut the thing close enough to final bow dimensions to dry through in a few days, but large enough to not warp significantly during drying.

    so i made about a third of a bow.

  28. I’ve been crocheting a gyroid lately (the geometric figure, not the cartoon thingy). It’s taking a while, but if it works, there’s a decent chance this will be the first crocheted gyroid in the world.

  29. Making wooden mallets for a tool swap in the woodworking forums I frequent. I am also welding up a portable sawmill to cut up some recently felled trees. I have the frame mostly done and now am ready to mount the motor and build the blade guides

  30. I would love to build a mini blackout! I’m currently repairing my scratchbuilt tricopter because of vibration and calibration issues and I also just got a new Turnigy 9XR tx so I need to program that in and get everything working again.

    These hobbies are like jobs!

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