Here it is, finally- the long awaited post on how to build my ginormous L-shaped desk. Let me just start off by saying though- I wanted some time to use it(and life also happened) before I wrote about it to make sure that it was holding up to my expectations- and it does- I LOVE the desk. There is the perfect amount of room to use all 3 screen while working from home (because COVID) and there is still enough space on the other side of the desk for crafts, for the cat to have a place to nap, or for snacks. So even though this was a very ambitious first project for the new house, and for a first build on my own, I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. There is also a video of me completing the full project at the end of this post. With that- let’s get started with a list of supplies 🙂
(the links to some of the supplies below are affiliate links and I do make a small percentage off of any purchase, so thank you for your support in advance)
- Drill Bit Extender (comes with drill above, but another is linked)
- Drill Bit Kit
- Miter Saw (Mine is a Ryobi from Home Depot, but this is just as good- could also use a circular saw or table saw if that is what you have)
- Tape Measure
- Carpenter Pencil
- Orbital Sander
- Sand Paper – strip, prepare and smooth
- Pocket Hole Jig (this set comes with screws and a clamp)
- Pocket Screws – 2.5″ (if you choose to for go the pockethole method, you can use regular screws)
- Wood Glue
- Wood (exact sizes below)
- Stain and Poly Mix (using this mixture made the process so much easier)
- Paintbrushes (I used these foam brushes)
Now before we move on- let me just say that you do not need any of this fancy equipment exactly and you can use what you have or opt out of some of the equipment all together. For example- you could use a circular saw instead of a miter saw, and you don’t have to use a pocket hole jig (or you could opt for the cheaper version). I am just providing exactly what I used, because I have plans for using the equipment again in the future. I did not buy these more pricy items just for this project alone. Alright, lets carry on…
First step is to gather supplies, see above. And now see below for the list of what wood you will need. (This is where I learned one of my biggest lessons on this project, I used 2x6s for the top of my desk, but I am going to recommend using 1x6s instead to cut down on some of the weight and make the desk lighter and easier to move).
I used pine lumber, but if you prefer another type of wood, then use that- but it will be a little bit pricier most likely.
- 8 – 1x6x96in boards
- 5 – 2x4x96in boards
- 1 – 2x3x96in board
- 1 – 2x2x96in board
Now Let’s move onto the cut lists (ALWAYS make sure you measure 3 times so that you cut correctly the first time)
1×6 Cut List
6 – 6’3″ pieces (75″)
6 – 2’7.5″ pieces (31.5″)
2×4 Cut List
4 – 2’4.5″ pieces (28.5″)
1 – 2’7″ pieces (31″)
4 – 2’2″ pieces (26″)
2 – 5’7.5″ pieces (67.5″)
1 – 4’9.5″ pieces (57.5″)
2×3 Cut List
1 – 2’4.5″ piece (28.5″)
We will get to how we cut the 2×2 board here later on in the process (this was trial by error and where I get to help y’all not make the same mistakes I did.)
I started by measuring out my boards, and double checking my measurements 2-3 times to be sure that I didn’t mess up and cut my boards wrong(this can still happen though, that is just a part of DIY sometimes). i made a mark at all of my measurements, then using my squares, I drew a straight line so I knew where to cut. If you are unsure how to use a square, please see the video below for guidance 🙂
Once all of my cut lines were marked, I cut them all with my miter saw (you may use whatever kind of saw you have here- make sure you know how to use the saw and are following all safety precautions for using any type of power tool). Afters the cuts were made I sanded each board twice- one time with a 80 grit sandpaper on all sides, followed by 120 grit sandpaper on all sides. These two rounds of sanding got the boards smooth enough for my liking to move on to the staining phase.
Before I moved onto the staining phase, I laid out the 1x6s by how I wanted the top of my desk to look, and got ready for pocket hole drilling.
Then I flipped all of the boards over so they were mirrored how they would be and I used my pocket hole jig to put pocket holes in my boards.The arrows on the images below are the approximate locations of the pocket holes and the directions that they were drilled- locations for these were not measured exactly though. Just space them in the relative locations so that the board has a few throughout it.
This is how the backside of the boards should look. The arrows are where the pocket holes are located and the direction off the arrows is the direction that the pocket hole will go (the screw should go in the direction of the arrow).
You will notice in my video of this down below that I only drilled the pocket holes in the top of the desk here- totally personal preference but after completing this project, I think just getting them out of the way is probably the easiest way to go about it so you don’t have to worry about it again later.
The next four images below are where I drilled the pocket holes in the frame of the desk. The pocket holes that are going through the top edge of the frame are to be used to connect the frame to the desk top. I included the measurements so that you know which boards had pocket holes drilled and where.
There will be 2 exact pieces that look like this.
I put the pocket holes on the outside of both of the boards so that they would be 1. up against the underside of the tabletop and 2. facing the floor.
I drilled a pocket hole for each arrow shown using the jig set-up. screws will go in the direction of the arrows shown so that they attach to the boards on the end.
If you don’t know how to use a pocket hole jig, use the video below as guidance. I struggled a bit to get the concept of it and sometimes it’s helpful to see others do it first before trying it.
Now that pocket holes are all drilled, we can move onto the staining. I used a foam brush and applied my stain and poly mixture to the boards. I did not stain the bottom of the desktop boards(the sides with the pocket holes in them). That is totally personal preference but you can see them when the desk is assembled and it doesn’t bother me. Also stained the ends of all of the boards because those will be seen, especially for the desktop.
After the first coat of stain, I went back and sanded all sides of all the boards again with a 220 or higher grit to really smooth out the surface. Then I wiped the boards down with a wet cloth.
The sanding of the stained boards is a MESSY process, so beware of that. Also, wear a mask, I was stupid and did not- and I suffered for it the few days following.
I wasn’t sure if I liked the stain color of one coat after sanding it down or with a second coat after sanding. The ones along the top are one coat and sanded and the board at the bottom has a second coat applied. I went with a second coat (it has help up very well, no water marks or scratches on the desk so far- and I use it for both work and crafting.
Now the fun part, let’s put the puzzle together 😉 I started with the desktop (see below) and once it was set out how it needed to go together, I put wood glue where the boards connected and rubbed it in with my finger- one seam at a time. Also keep a wet paper towel nearby I case you need to wipe any messes up. After the wood glue was on, then I used my drill, drill bit extender, and pocket hole screws to screw the desk together.
Next I assembled then end pieces using my pocket holes and wood glue between the joints. After I had my square assembled, I took the 2×2 that I haven’t cut yet, and laid it under the square diagonally and marked where I needed to cut it, so that it was a perfect cross brace in the square. I forgot to take a picture or video of this since I messed up my measurements and things were a little only the first time.
After I got the pieces cut, I used my pocket hole jig and drilled a hole in it diagonally on both ends so that I could attach it to my end piece. (Remember to do this twice, as there is two end pieces). See picture below.
After the desk top was together, I assembled my frame on top of the back of the desk top and then assembled that as well with wood glue and screws. The 2x3x2’4.5″ is the lone leg that helps hold the back side of the table up, it may be hard to tell from the images. NOTE: I did not assemble the frame and desktop together here, that will be in the next step.
Flip the frame over. Then with some help (do as I say, not as I did), flip the desktop over on top of the frame and adjust the positioning where it sits evenly on top of the frame. This is where I put the rest of my screws in to attach the desktop to the frame (I did not use glue in this step, it was not needed).
Your desk is done. What a great accomplishment, trust me, I know how much work that was!
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial/guide. The Youtube video is below here. As always, follow me on social media to stay up to date on all of my latest projects.