I had previously posted about making a Murphy fold-able study desk, however the folding mechanism is of no use to me really, and I have decided to mount a simple desk like this one posted previously by another workshop member:
This is my first DIY project so I have a lot of questions in mind!
1. I would like to stain my desk so it matches the colour of my bed head and drawers, so I would use unfinished wood. There are a quite a few on the Bunnings website such as the Pine utility panel, Hevea finger jointed panel, Oak panel, Beech Panel and Ash panel. I'm not sure what wood to use and what will be the best for a study desk and staining. Would appreciate some insight here.
2. Any recommended stain brands? And how shall I go about staining? I do understand a pre-stain conditioner is required, but I don't quite understand the sanding that goes into the process, and what grit to use. I am assuming I will sand the panel first (would 240 grit be fine here)?.... then apply a pre-stain conditioner... wipe it off.... then apply the stain...wipe it off...wait for it to dry and see if it's the colour I am after. Would I then apply Polyurethane? Please correct if I am wrong here.
3. Lastly, which brackets would be the most suitable? I understand the ones with the diagonal support are strong, do they have a mentioned weight limit on how much KG they can hold? How much of the desk must sit on the bracket, I am assuming at least half of it? Finally, is it possible to paint the bracket to a custom colour?
If you've made it this far, thanks a lot of reading!
Would appreciate any help here, thank you!
Solved! See most helpful response
Many thanks for your question, I'd be happy to assist. Since you are going to stain the timber to match your bed head and draws you will need to start with a lighter coloured timber. You can only use stain to make timber darker, you can't make it lighter. If you are able to upload an image of the other furniture I can assist with what would be a good choice of timber to start with.
In regards to the best timber for a study desk, I would choose something slightly denser than pine. If you are writing on paper, directly on the desk, you can leave tracking marks in pine quite easily as it is a softwood. Beech, Oak, Hevea and Ash are all considered hardwoods and would be more than suitable for the desk.
These panels come finished and ready to use. There should be little to no sanding required before you apply your stain. For the best results, the application of the stain will be done as per the manufacturer's specifications. I would advise applying several light coats and build the colour up to your desired strength instead of one thick coat. Feast Watson has a great range of stains to choose from and I have had success using them in the past. You can then apply a polyurethane coating if you would like a hard coat to prevent wear and tear on the surface.
It would be ideal to have at least half the desk sitting on the bracket. Stayed brackets can support a considerable amount of weight, the heavy-duty varieties can hold upwards of 250kgs. They can be painted over for a custom colour and I would advise the use of Dulux 340g Duramax Metal Primer Spray Paint to ensure a great bond.
Please let me know if you need further information or had any additional questions.
Thanks a lot for the reply there Mitchell that was super helpful!
I've attached some photos of the bed head and drawer.
Firstly I'd like to address that this is a distressed look stain applied over pine and not just a solid coating of stain. The different layers of growth rings have absorbed a varying amount of stain which is creating this look. Were you going to attempt to get the same distressed look or just colour in a similar tone? To get something with this effect you would need to use solid timber and not finger jointed project panels. Project panels are small pieces of timber glued together. You can see the growth rings on this 600 x 18mm x 1.2m Pine Utility Panel which would be more suitable. You would need to build the coats of stain up slowly, as you will cover over the rings completely if you use a heavy coat.
Most of those project panels are fairly neutral in colour and much lighter than what you want to achieve. Colour-wise I'm liking the look of 2200 x 600 x 26mm Acacia Solid Oiled Hardwood Project Panel, however, it already comes with an oiled finish. The oil will prevent the stain from penetrating the timber and would need to be sanded off with 240grit sandpaper first.
You can apply a stain on any of those project panels from the Feast Watson's colour chart below. Brown Japan is coming fairly close to the correct colour, but several coats of the oak might do as well
I am just after a similar color tone, not concerned at all with the distressed look Mitchell. I did have a look at the Acacia and really liked it, but I feel I can get a bit closer to the colour tone of the bed head.
So would you say choose from a Beech, Oak, Hevea or Ash and then stain would be the way to go from there?
Certainly, I can recommend any of those to start with as they are all quality timbers in neutral colours. Just make sure to build the stain coats up slowly, once you put too much on you can't go back easily. I would apply a small amount on a rag then dab that on another rag to remove excess and start to apply even coats trying not to concentrate on any one area for too long.
Please keep us updated on your progress and we are always here to provide assistance anytime you need it.
Thanks for the tips Mitchell!
Went and got the Acacia panel and it looks great.
Just a few questions regarding mounting the desk.
1. Is there a rule for bracket placement on the wall? So how far apart should the brackets be and how much of the panel should hang off the sides of the brackets. My panel is 1200mm long. I assume the 2 brackets should be placed 375mm from the sides (even on both sides), which leaves 450mm in between the brackets, since the studs are 450mm apart I should be able to hit 2 studs that way. However, I only have 1 stud that I can hit in my desired spot. I do have the white screw in ramset plasterboard anchors which can only hold 10KG. Should I get stronger anchors as the panel itself is 5KG + any books can add up to 10KG easily? Or should it not matter as the brackets can hold upto I think 50KG it was.
These are the brackets: https://www.bunnings.com.au/carinya-300-x-300-x-25-x-3-5mm-black-stayed-straight-bracket_p3970224
I hope that wasn't too confusing.
Placing the brackets 375mm from the sides would be a good position. Were there two holes in the bracket to mount it to the wall? If so, that would be close to 20kgs that the bracket could support. You also have a second bracket which will be supporting the desk and bearing some of the weight on it. If the weight on the desk was evening distributed then I would estimate it could support up to 25kgs with the above fixing methods. However, this would be weight hard up against the wall and as weight is placed further away from the wall it becomes exponentially heavier. For instance, were you to lean on the front lip of the desk you might only be exerting 20kg onto the timber, but once that is transferred back to the wall it would be more like 40kg.
With something like a desk, my preference would be to use the strongest mounting anchors possible. It would be worth considering stepping up to a heavy-duty variety like Ramset Super Wallmate Toggle Anchor 10 Pack which can support 20kgs each.
The brackets weight rating (50kgs) reflects a safe load that can be placed onto it. It does not indicate how much weight the desk can hold before pulling away from the wall, that has to do with the anchors you choose.
Thanks for the tremendous help @MitchellMc. The desk managed to blend in nicely with the bedhead.
Loving the floating minimal style, with the added benefit of easy vacuuming below.
Was thinking to hide the brackets for a cleaner look, but I personally like the look of the brackets.
On to the next project!
Great job! That looks fantastic and is a wonderful addition to the room. I like the look of the brackets also and as they are fairly minimal I don't see a need to have them hidden.
We look forward to hearing about your next project around the house or garden and encourage you to let us know if you ever need assistance or have something to share with the community.