Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Someday Desk

I'm going to start off this post stating that the desk that I'm posting about didn't actually work out for me, but I still want to share all about it because, someday, it will be my desk.

You see, the overall plan for my master bedroom has been to have a desk in there. My sewing machine currently lives on a chair in my kitchen, always plugged in and ready to go in case something needs mended (which happens often enough for me to leave it there, plugged in, ready to be used).

I've been on the lookout for the perfect sawhorse desk, and when Ana White posted a roundup of the sawhorse desk trend, one picture in particular had me drooling.

The part that cracked me up about it is that I'd actually pinned that image without any interest in the desk, but for the love of the room divider..

Crazy, right?

Well, the craziest part is that it's a frickin' IKEA desk. Of all the places I didn't think to look (what's wrong with me, right?). So I contacted Ana and asked her if she could draw up plans (that ended up veering a little from the IKEA for ease of building - not everyone has a table saw that can bevel - and stability).

The part that had me at "Hello" was the adjustable height. Sometimes I want to work standing up. That's just how it is. Sometimes I want to sit with good posture. Sometimes (like now), I want the desk low so I sit with one foot on the desk and the other knee resting against it.

The part that wasn't so appealing was that it was $35/sawhorse. Okay, don't look at me like I'm crazy... I know that's not unreasonable AT ALL, but I have to make things difficult. I wanted to make TWO desks (remember the friend that I built the barnwood frames for last April? Well, her birthday came again and I wanted to give her something to replace the cheap fold-up table that she was using as a desk).

So! For a dollar and change over the cost of ONE sawhorse, I was able to build four.

I painted my friend's coral because I wanted to help her bring color into her space (this is the Rustoleum Painter's Touch spray paint in Coral, gloss). I may or may not have been inspired by the color of the sawhorse in the plans...

And the painting of mine got put on hold because I learned that the space that I have been saving for my sewing area was going to be used for a new treadmill.

oh. yay.

But I want to make it known that I am keeping this desk (and will build a top for it when everyone realizes that no one is going to use the treadmill), and it WILL be in my bedroom. In the meantime, let me show you how easy it was to build!

That's it!

Okay, there's a little more to it (and I'd accidentally swapped the boards in the above photo, creating more work for myself later), but this is what I had about an hour in. The plans say to use pocket holes to screw the top dividers in, which i thought would be difficult since there's a board there.

It was totally fine.

They actually came together unbelievably quickly, and all that was left to figure out was what hardware to use and how to measure for the holes.

The plan was to use scrap 2x4s as spacers, which worked out beautifully! I ended up buying 3 1/2" long 3/8" bolts and pre-drilled the holes using a 1/2" bit (thought that using a 3/8" bit might be a tad too snug, making it difficult to adjust). Buy the nuts while you're there, too... They don't add much structurally, but they make sure the bolts don't just slip out on a whim.

After drilling the hole with the 2x4s flat, I put them on their side and drilled another (lumber is apparently an amazing notepad!).

On the first bench that I'd pre-drilled the holes for, I also added another 2x4, flat, as a spacer.

But I now feel that this one was unnecessary. At this height, the adjustable part becomes wobbly and you would need to probably shove some shims next to it for stability. It was also a little too high for me to use comfortably (at 5'7"), and I couldn't see myself actually using that notch.

Finally, when all of the holes were pre-drilled using spacers, I'd decided that I could probably drill one with the adjustable part sitting in the sawhorses so we'd have somewhere to store the bolts if we wanted the desk at the lowest position.

That wasn't common sense for me, unfortunately, it took me putting the desk at the lowest setting and realizing that I had nowhere to store the bolts for me to think of it.

Never claimed to be smart ;-)

Here's the first one finished, and I used it as a worktable to build the second. It was awesome. Set to the third notch, it's a little taller than countertop height and was perfect to work on.

And here it is in my room, half-heartely staged as my sewing area since I was still pouting that it won't actually be my sewing area (for now).

The top is a door from Baby Goats' closet remodel. It's nothing fancy, but I'm thinking of painting the bases navy and doing a light stain on the top (or even just using poly) when I get to it. I'll update this post when I finish my friend's, too! She still has to decide how long she wants hers to be (ohh, the possibilities!).

Baby Goats is loving it in her [floorless] room, so I may have to decide on a desk for her soon, too (no, she's not getting mine!). But first we have to do flooring (the laminate that was in there was waterlogged from when the water that caused the mold in her closet came, so we just pulled it all up and plan to replace with the same flooring that we used in the closet).

And next time we meet, I'll get to describe why i have my sawhorses set up this way (hint, if you follow me on Facebook, you've probably seen it).

In the meantime, go visit Ana White for plans on building your own adjustable-height sawhorse desks and, if you build/use them, I'll live vicariously through you!


  1. I love these sawhorse desks Gina, man you are a good friend! Can't wait to see how you finish it! I kind of like it natural too! Hugs!

  2. I did a similar design for a stand up desk. But in my case I bought the saw-horse from IKEA and the extended the adjustable part to make it a standup desk and attached a second platform to it black PVC pipes

  3. Out looks great! I've been wanting a trestle desk.... What type of lumber did you buy for the sawhorses?

  4. WOW…It looks great. I am eager to see who you will give it a final look. Although, I like it raw but want to see your creative side.

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