Desk Design

My first major fabrication project was a huge learning experience. It paid off in a big way for me in both design and building techniques, and made me truly appreciate how much work goes into building something by hand.

The objective of the desk was to have a clean design with additional storage for an 88-key keyboard. Being able to design it in 3D made for an easy tweaking process, and also made it easy to determine exactly how much of each material was needed.

3D render of desk design3D render of desk design

The process began with jointing and planing rough lumber. Once the pieces were square and straight, they were cut to necessary lengths. I was able to utilize the Festool Domino system to get accurate and strong joinery, and used many pipe clamps to get it all together. After a lengthy staining and sanding period, the wood was sealed and finished in a water-based coating. Despite a broken toe slightly holding me back during the final stages, I was able to complete the desk and make use of all it had to offer.

Initial desk fabrication featuring a curly maple and curly white oak top with stained poplar and red oak legs/frame.Initial desk fabrication featuring a curly maple and curly white oak top with stained poplar and red oak legs/frame.

The first version of the desk was a large success, but it fell victim to one of the common life lessons in NYC living: Learning that your new apartment won’t have enough room for the furniture you have. A need for a new desk presented itself, and this time the desk would have to be smaller in width and depth, but large enough to hold a 61-key keyboard. I also chose to switch up the materials. Three pieces of wenge sandwiching two strips of jatoba made the top of the desk and the pull out tray, and aniegre would for employed in the legs and frame. I also wanted to finish the desktop in water-based gloss coating while keeping the legs and frame more natural looking in an oil coating, which proved a bit difficult but in the end was worth it.

Various stages in the desk buildVarious stages in the desk build

Upon completion, I had a new desk that fit nicely into the space I moved into, and could still house a 61-key keyboard so that my musical ventures would not have to come to an end.

Completed deskCompleted desk