Building a Computer Desk

     I built myself a custom computer desk, as I had a very specific size I wanted, and didn't feel like paying a lot of money to buy something, especially as I could build something that would last longer than anything I could buy, and cost much less money. If you want to see an overview video you can check that out here. This blog post won't cover so much the build process, but rather will provide the sizes of the parts.
     The finished desk will looking something like this image.

As you can see it's really a very simple build. Two supports that are mounted to the wall with lag screws, and then a series of brackets screwed or bolted to the supports, and of course a tabletop of some sort, though I didn't include that in this drawing. The supports are nothing more than 2x4's, cut to whatever length you choose. The tabletop can be wider than the boards are long, as the tabletop can hang over the brackets at the ends some. I have eight inches of overhang on my desk and there are no problems with the boards bending or anything.
     The brackets are slightly more tricky, requiring a few more cuts. I've created a super helpful graphic to show all the different dimensions, some of these can be adjusted as needed. These are made out of 2x4's so be sure to have a supply of those before starting. :)

     I intentionally did not include any dimensions in the graphic, as you may want some different sizes than I used and I thought I'd keep it clean so you could print it and write down the dimensions you need. 
  • A = 3 1/2"
  • a = 3/4"
  • B = 3 1/2"
  • b = 1"
  • C = 8 3/4" The space between the two supports that are fastened to the wall. You may choose to place more or less space, depending on how far out you want the tabletop to reach from the wall.
  • d = 27" This should be slightly shorter than your tabletop, 3/4" at a minimum.
  • E = 20" The overall height of the bracket
  • F = 4" This leaves about half an inch of extra space between the joint in the bracket and the notch for the upper rear support.
The angles aren't marked, because I don't know what they were, probably about 45 degrees. These are decorative and can be cut at whatever location you'd like. They are nice if you ever hit your knee into the bracket, hurts a lot less than a sharp corner, trust me, I know. 

     Most of the cuts for this project can be easily completed with a chop saw, or circular saw, cutting the notches is possible with either of those tools, but is probably better done with a bandsaw, if you have one. Watch the video to see how I did it with a chop saw, but be very careful if you try that method out. Cutting the slot at the ends of the bracket pieces would also be easier to do on a bandsaw, but can be done with a chop saw or circular saw as well, again be very careful if you have to do it that way. The two parts of the bracket can be glued together, adding some screws or dowels for extra strength. I placed my brackets about twenty inches apart, but you can do otherwise. I'd recommend deciding on a width for the desk, then the overhang on the ends, subtract the overhang from the width, and divide by the number of brackets you want to use, the make your marks and install the brackets. I affixed the brackets with screws, going on an angle through the brackets into the supports, but you could just as easily use a lag screw through the bracket and into the support. I would have actually used that method for my desk had I thought of it soon enough. I used it on a second desk that I built and it was much easier, and is probably stronger.
     Figuring out the placement of the supports can be a little tricky, but here is how to do it. Decided on the height for your desk, will you be sitting or standing when using it? I sit at my desk and put the tabletop at thirty inches, as that was the most comfortable for me, you will probably find something different, which is fine. Find the material you will be using for your tabletop and add four inches to the thickness of that, that will be the height from the floor to put the top support. The lower support should be C, which was 8 3/4" for me, but could be different for you. Bolt the supports to the wall into studs. This is a project where you are going to need to bolt into studs, no drywall anchor is going to give you the support you'll need. I think I used five inch lag screws, but I have lathe and plaster walls, which is thicker than most drywall will be.
     For my tabletop I used a bunch of 1x4's but anything would work. I chose to leave a gap between the wall and the tabletop so I could run wires down, but you could just as easily drill holes into the tabletop and run your wires through that way.

     Hopefully I remembered all the details you'll need to know to build your very own custom computer desk. Have fun, and be safe.

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