Building my dream desk

After working for a few years  on a kitchen countertop on top of a wobbly frame it’s finally  time to build my dream desk.

The dream desk design

Let’s start with the design  requirements for my dream desk:

  • Most importantly it should be stable. It  should not move when I am typing or writing.
  • While being stable and heavy my wife  and I should be able to carry the parts.
  • I need place for four monitors with enough  flexibility to change their size later on.
  • Ideally I have a place for other bits and  bobs that is not on the table surface.
  • The table top should be a nice wood.
  • To switch between computer work and drawing  or reading I want a keyboard drawer.
  • As I use a second keyboard as a macro  keyboard I actually need two keyboard drawers.

Building the steel base

Let’s get started building this table. As I want the table to be super  stable I will create a steel base. All the steel tubing is cut  to size on a metal bandsaw.

At the corners I mark the overlapping part of the steel tubing and then remove  it with an angle grinder.

While it’s not strictly necessary for this  project I prefer the corners to be closed.

The two short sides of the frame are welded  together with a small gap at the bottom to make it easier to clean the floor. The bar is also  high enough so that the roomba can pass below it.


After cleaning up the ugly welds with a flap disk on the angle grinder I cut and  weld the frame for the long side. The long side follows the same approach but gets a center support – we will need this  later to secure the monitor stand.

Separate parts for easy transport

The first criteria is fulfilled as this  amount of steel is not going to wobble. If I would weld all the parts together it would be a pain in the neck to carry  this monster to the second floor. So I clamp the short sides  and the long side together and drill a 6.5 mm hole through both parts.

The hole in the long part is  first extended to 8.5 mm. … … and then one side of  the steel tube is enlarged to make room for the head of a M8 machine screw.


The holes in the short parts  are tapped and with that the table base can be temporarily assembled.

Mounting four monitors

All the things that I don’t want to sit on the  table surface will be attached to this central post. As it’s going to carry some load I  am welding it directly to the table base.


I have another steel tube that fits perfectly  over the one I just welded to the base. It has a little bit of play to both sides that we  will later use for a fine adjustment option. I am cutting the steel tube that  later holds the monitors with the angle grinder so that it can  be bent in a slight angle.

The part is then mounted with scrap wood in the correct position and welded  to the steel tube sleeve.


After welding the monitor arm to the sleeve  I cut the ends flush with the table base.

Two monitors done – two more to go. For  these I start by cutting a second steel tube to the exact same length and bend  it to the same angle as the first one.


The second tube is welded in place following  the same approach as for the first one.

Small holes in the sides of the sleeves are  tapped and allow for levelling of the monitors.

We will later see that these arms do  not only hold the monitors but are also a great place to mount  a variety of other things.

Creating the table top from oak

The table top is made from these oak boards  that I first cut to a more manageable size.

I am milling and cutting the oak boards in a way that I can make the table top  from as few boards as possible.


A few biscuits help to align  the boards for the glue up.


The table top is then cut to its final size and  the few gaps are filled with epoxy and sawdust.


Sliding dovetails

With the wide boards the table  top would certainly warp.

With the first pass I create a straight rabbet and then extend it with a second pass  with the router to a dovetail shape. With several passes I fit the  corresponding sliding dovetail so that it goes into the rabbet with a snug fit.

The overlap on the front is  cut flush with the table top and then the entire table is sanded to 240 grit.

An oil finish brings the oak grain to life.

With a quick maker mark the table top  is complete and can meet the base.

I drill a hole through the sliding  dovetail into the metal sides. The holes are then tapped and used to  mount the table top to the base.

Keyboard drawers

With the top done we need to add a  keyboard drawer next. The drawer is made from the same piece of oak. It’s  cut to size, milled and glued together.


I want to avoid warping of the  wood and keep it flat. For such a short piece a breadboard attached  with a few dominos is good enough.


I glue all the dominos into the drawer board.

Only the two dominos in the middle  are also glued to the breadboard. The outer dominos also have some  play to allow for wood movement.

After rounding over the edges, sanding and finishing I mount the  keyboard drawer below the table top.


As one keyboard drawer would  be really boring I create an identical one for my macro keyboard and  mount it to the side of the first one.


The finished dream desk

Let’s have a look at the finished desk.

The four monitors are great and the  mounting arms leave enough space for other stuff – like the speakers,  the echo show and other things.


On top of the upper monitors I mounted an  additional horizontal bar where I can attach cheat sheets from different programming languages  or other material I would like to keep at hand.

The metal base makes it quite easy to  attach even more stuff using magnets. Like the remote control for my aircon or  a 3d printed hook for the fly swatter.

Off camera I welded a quick frame  to keep the PC off the floor and the feet got 3d printed protectors so  that they don’t scratch the floor.


Overall I could not be happier with  the dream desk. Let me know if you have additional ideas for features I could add to it.

2 Comments on “Building my dream desk”

  1. Your dream desk build is truly impressive! I’m particularly intrigued by the sliding dovetails you used to ensure the table top doesn’t warp. How did you decide on this method over other potential solutions? And do you foresee any challenges with this approach in the long run

    1. Thanks. I have used this approach in several pieces and never had problems with it. The advantage over breadboards is that you have a very clean table surface and a continuous grain.
      As this is actually not my invention but has been used by joiners and carpenters since centuries I am pretty confident that it won’t cause any problems.

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