I’m planning on making a desk to fit in a specific area. It’s an awkward space and not ideal but it’s the only area I can set up a workspace.
I’m not very experienced in carpentry so I’m keeping it as simple as I can while trying to keep costs low.
I don’t really have the space to seal and stain unfinished wood so I’m planning to use plywood as a base to hold pre-finished hardwood panels. I need a width of at least 75 cm and I’ve been unable to find pre-finished panels in that size at an affordable price so I’m planning to use multiple pieces. The legs I have are 74cm high which is a little over the recommended height so I’m trying to keep the desktop as thin as possible.
These are the materials I plan on using:
SpecRite 1800 x 405 x 18mm Brown Acacia Oiled Hardwood Panel
SpecRite 1200 x 405 x 18mm Brown Acacia Oiled Panel
2400 x 1200 x 15mm F8 Structural CD Plywood
I’d appreciate any advice/input as to whether this plan will work.
If I can avoid putting a leg in the front-middle of the desk that would be great, but I’m not sure if there will be enough support.
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @mmkl. It's great to have you join us and many thanks for your question.
There are a few areas where I would be concerned about the structural integrity of the build and how much the 15mm ply might sag after some time. Where your two plywood boards meet were you going to join them together as there doesn't appear to be a continuation of either the plywood or the acacia panels? Also, the rear right-hand corner looks unsupported. Were there legs going in the corner as well or are you planning on fixing it to the wall for support?
I'm not sure if you were looking for a more permanent installation, but structurally wise I believe building a frame to support this desk out of solid timber might be a better option and certainly more rigid. I would start with 42 x 19mm x 3m Premium Grade Dressed Pine which I've illustrated in red and create a frame around the perimeter. This timber can be fixed to the wall with Ramset Wallmate Stud Solver With Screws 4 Pack and will provide a point to start constructing the frame.
You would then add the front and middle support which could be constructed from 90 x 19 mm Pine and I've illustrated those in yellow. You might like to construct the front support stepped back under the desk out of view. You should then put cross braces under the points where the acacia panels meet to stop them sagging and ensure a flush transition.
You can then place legs where the frame is likely to need support. I've placed them in the mid area as when sitting at the desk they should not impede your access.
When you place the Acacia panels on top you should fix them all to the supporting structure by screwing up from underneath the desk.
This might seem like a lot more effort but it could allow you to get away with not having the front middle leg and you'll end up with a much more structurally sound desk. I believe you will need the leg as mid support with the plywood method.
Please let me know if you need further advice or had questions.
Thank you for your prompt and detailed response! I really appreciate your advice.
I should have been clearer in my plan/description - the shelf in the rear right corner will be support in place of the legs. I wasn’t sure about joining the two plywood boards, I can do so if it will be more structurally sound. I’m not overly attached to the return/extension in the right corner. It made more sense economically because it means I’d be able to cut the base from a single sheet of ply.
I currently have two desks in the same space which I’ll dismantle for the new desk, so I have 8 legs I can use.
As long as you have the plywood sufficiently supported with legs I believe the desk will work fine. I'm not sure if you were intended to but it would be a good idea to screw up through the plywood and into the panels to join it all together.
Please keep us updated on your progress as I trust many of our members will be interested to see how your desk turns out.