Sunday, July 12, 2015

Office Desk Revision

Before and After moving to Arizona, I made these simple, yet elegant computer desks.


You can see my original build by clicking here.


Recently I have realized that my woodworking skills have improved, and I decided I wanted to build newer, nicer tables.  But before I get rid of these older tables, I wanted to see if I could make them a little better.  This might save me the time and money.

One major qualm I have with my old tables is the edges.  They were smooth when I built them, but when it came time to apply the high gloss finish, these nice edges became very rough.


There were also a few spots where black paint and webbing spray got onto the wood.


So I brought one of my work tables into the workshop and marked off where I wanted to trim the edges with blue painters tape.


Then I set up a fence and cut off the edges with my circular saw.


The reason I am cutting them off is because I want to eventually build up the edges with a lot of the spare wood I have hanging around.  


After a while all 4 edges were cut off.


Next I decided to use some scrap wood from a failed project.  I've had this wood for quite some time and I was itching to do something with it.


So I measured and cut the wood to use as new trim for the table top.


Using glue, nails and clamps I started attaching the new sides.


Then I sanded all the wood to be even.


This also meant sanding the 'marble' top.


After a little clean up with a damp rag, the table top looks good again.


The wood I used for the trim has some holes and grooves cut out.  I had to cover these up somehow, but not with wood filler.


So I decided to cut some quarter inch plywood...


...and I covered the edges with that instead.


Next I cut more quarter inch plywood...


...and began adding trim to the top.


Once the new trim was glued and nailed in place, everything once again received a sanding.


I also decided to use my router to give more decorative edges to the 2x4 legs.


Then everything received more sanding...


...followed by some wood filler on various spots that needed it on the trim.


Next, more sanding.


For the sides I decided to close them up with more scrap wood I had in the workshop.


I'll also cut boards to fill in the side area which once housed a computer tower, then later art supplies.


The scrap wood I had was half inch 2x4 plywood.


I cut 3 pieces to size using my table saw.


Then I drilled some pocket holes into each board.


Getting these boards to fit properly sometimes required the finesse of a mallet and crowbar.


But slowly each piece began to fit in place.


With that area on the left side of the desk closed off, it looked like the perfect place for some drawers.


So I cut some more scrap wood to use as guides for some drawers.


These were put in place with glue, nails and screws.


Then I began cutting more scrap wood for the drawers.


Unfortunately I didn't have enough material to make 2 drawers with drawer fronts, so I put that aside until I had time to run to the store.  While I waited around I decided to get rid of the 2-45 degree pieces of wood that were found on the bottom of the desk.


This required drilling out the pocket holes that were filled with filler.


After a bit of drilling, I found the pocket screws, removed them and took off those 2 pieces of wood.


Next, more wood filler to fix up the inside areas.


While the filler dried I finally went to the store and bought wood for the drawers.  I cut the pieces to size with the table saw.


Then I began assembling the drawers using glue and nails.


Once the 2 drawers were done I decided that I didn't like them.  They're too big.


Eventually I'll make some new boxes out of them, but for now I put them aside.  Instead I cut 2 other pieces of wood...


...to use as shelves instead.


These shelves simply sit on the drawer guides, so they can swing in and out like drawers.


And finally I cut a larger piece of wood to use as a door.


But before I hinged it to the table, I sanded it and added filler to it.


Then I sanded it and attached it to the table with hinges.


Now I have a nice door.


While adding a door knob  I noticed 2 things:  The board I used as the door is slightly warped towards the top and the the door doesn't fully close.


To help the warped door I cut a thin piece of plywood...


...and I glued/nailed it to the area the door gets hinged.


That helped a bit with the warpness, but the door still doesn't stay closed.


After much fussing around, I was able to attach a magnetic latch to the bottom of the door.


This kept the door shut.


Construction is more-or-less complete now, so I added some last bits of filling & sanding.


It's looking good.




I do have another problem though - the marble finish.  Ever since sanding it, the surface keeps clouding up.  I can clean it up with clean water and a rag, but minutes later the cloudiness returns.


So I decided to try out some wipe-on polyurethane.


That did the trick!  After 3-4 applications the marble surface was as shiny as ever!


Next I removed the door & shelves, and prepped everything for staining.



I decided to try out a new stain, and tested it on the door and shelves.


Liking how it looked, I stained the table.



When the stain dried I applied polyurethane.


After application I let the desk dry overnight.


The next day I sanded the whole table, door and shelves with some grade 0000 steel wool.


Then I reattached the door and put the shelves in place.  Looking good!


Next I gave the whole thing a thorough cleaning with water and a rag.


When that dried I gave the marble top another application of gloss poly.


After it had dried I decided to move it into our guest room.


I temporarily threw some things on it and I'm done!


I had originally intended on bringing the desk back into my office, but I think I'll make a new drawing table for my office instead.


Now my house guests have a nice little desk for when they stay over.


All-in-all I think it looks a lot better than it did before the revision.


And remember those 2 drawers I was going to put inside?



I wound up making 2 large, cool boxes out of them.


Since there were going to be 2 drawers, I bought 2 knobs.  One of the knobs went on the door to the desk.  I used the other on this box.


The second box is much larger and I added trim to it, as well as a knob that I accidentally bought a while back.


Both boxes are large and will be quite useful!

Thanks for reading!

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