DIY: Our Office Desk

ABM office desk (DIY)ABM office desk (DIY) How to build a large desk How to build a large deskThis past January we were finally able to move our "offices" out of Elsie's home and into a studio house. While at Elsie's, our team was four full-time individuals (including Elsie and I). We all worked at Elsie's dining room table. This setup worked well for us and allowed us to save up enough to move to a "real" office finally!

As we planned to move, our team was also beginning to grow. We added two more full-time employees, and we knew we needed space for everyone to work comfortably. We like keeping our whole team together in one room as we work, as much as possible. It really helps with communication and gives us a sense of what everyone is doing to see if anyone needs help with something. And I think we feel like more of a team when we're together. So we ideally wanted a desk that could comfortably sit six people plus all our computers. I also really wanted to try and keep laptop cords organized/stored, as they were in use. They can be easy to trip on if you don't plan for them. Elsie also had the idea that the desk could have cubby holes or have two layers, so people could store extra papers, notebooks, or pens without cluttering the top of the desk. 

I thought this desk could easily be a very budget-friendly project if we made it ourselves, and we could more easily have all the features we needed. So, we made it. Here's how:SuppliesSupplies:

-two 3/4" x 48" x 78" OSB subfloor panels
-six 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" x 48" boards (or three 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" x 96" boards)
-two 1 1/2" x 5" x 48" boards (or one 1 1/2" x 5" x 96")
-six 1/4ʺ x 3/4ʺ x 8ʺ interior stain-grade pine screen moulding
-box of fifty 2ʺ screws (you won't use them all)
-thirty 1/4" steel brads
-power saw
-power drill
-plyers
-hammer
-1 1/2" spade bit
-wood glue
-polyurethane (high gloss), optional
-less than a quart of white paint (I used leftover primer we had around), optional
-paint brushes

This was my first time working with OSB board. I got the idea from Trey's old loft (where he lived before we married and moved in together). His floors were made up of exposed OSB panels, and it was actually sort of pretty. Once I discovered how insanely cheap this material is I knew it would come in handy with a project someday. :) 

Total cost: $98

This is only the cost of supplies we purchased specifically for this project. This does not include the cost of tools, as we already owned those and use them in many of our wood-based projects.Don ChapmanBefore we jump into how we made this table I'd like to make a quick note about my dad. As you can see from the photo above I created this project with my dad, Don Chapman. I love working with my dad on bigger projects for my home or the blog because he's a much more experienced craftsman than myself. So, I get to learn from his expertise as we work on projects together. I also want to inform you that if you plan to create a table like this, similar in size, you will need to work with a partner. Just the sheer weight of some of the materials for this project requires two people. Most projects on ABM can be created by yourself, but not this one. So, get a buddy or call up your dad and spend a Saturday together making this. :)Table bodyStep One: Build the table body. We had our OSB panels cut down to the 3/4" x 48" x 78" size; they typically come sized to 3/4" x 48" x 96". We purchased our panels from Lowe's and because they are so heavy and hard to work with we had them cut them down the size we needed to fit our space. It's always a good idea to measure your space when you're planning to build a large table. Older houses or custom spaces often need tables in less than typical sizes. Which is one of the benefits of building your own.

Cut the 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" boards to become the inside of your table. This is going to make up your cubby holes and also add more stability to your table. Above you see how we designed ours. Once you have the wood cut, screw in place. Add the second layer of the table body and screw into the boards as well. This will create a kind of sandwich over those boards you see above.

Now, if needed, flip the table so the bottom is facing up. We're about to add legs.Make your own legsStep Two: Make your own legs. We created the legs for our table from the 1 1/2" x 5" boards. Cut each of your two boards in half, creating four total pieces. Now draw a straight line from one edge down to the center of the opposite edge. We used a chalk line, but you could just as easily use a pencil. Cut out the legs.

We first attached 2 ft of the 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" board to the center of each side of the table. Then we screwed the legs into this board. Attach the legsStep Three: Decide how tall you want your table to be. I could highly recommend measuring the chairs you plan to use with the table. You don't want the tops of your thighs smashed up against the bottom of the table. We have adjustable office chairs that we use with this table, so that gave us some wiggle room. We wanted our table to be 25 1/2" off the ground. So, after attaching the legs we measured them and cut off the excess. Add the trimStep Four: As you can see, the edges of our table looked pretty rough. OSB board is made up of lots of wood shavings, so the edges do not appear smooth like solid wood boards. To add a little more polish to our table we added moulding. Simply measure the moulding to fit the edges of your table and cut them to size. Add a little wood glue to the edge of the table. Hold the moulding in place, pressed against the wood glue (wipe off any excess you see). Now secure the moulding to the table with brads (they look like tiny nails).

Brads can be hard to work with since they are so small. It's easy to smash your fingers with a hammer as you work with brads. One way to avoid this is to hold the brad in place with a pair of pliers. That way if you miss, you will smash the pliers and not your fingers!Add cord holesStep Five: Add holes for cords. We knew that multiple laptops would be at this table daily. This means multiple power cords. To keep our work area looking cleaner, and to better store the cords safely so people aren't tripping over them all the time, we decided to add two large holes toward the center of our table. This allows us to keep all our cords centered and away from the edges of the table (we have an outlet built into the floor below the table where everything plugs in).

To do this we simply used a 1 1/2" spade to create the holes. Measure in from the edge of the table on both ends so that your holes can match up with the bottom holes (on the other side of the table).

Step Six: Paint the trim. We wanted to add just a little color to our table. So I painted the moulding with primer, to match our white office chairs and contrast with the black walls in the room.

Step Seven: Seal with an additional coat of polyurethane. This is totally optional, as OSB panels come pretreated. But we found a few spots where the wood shavings felt less than smooth. So we added a couple of additional coats of polyurethane (high gloss) to help smooth the table top more.ABM office desk (DIY)   ABM office desk (DIY)  How to build a large desk  I am happy to report that we've all been working at the desk for about three months now, and we love it! Perhaps our team will outgrow it one day (we're getting close). But in the meantime, I think of this as our Camelot round table. Although it's not round. And that was probably a REALLY dorky thing to admit. Can we still be friends? Okay, I'm gonna stop typing before this gets weird. Thanks for letting me share our office table with you! xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman and Don Chapman, Photography: Sarah Rhodes and Emma Chapman. Photos edited using Stella and Piper from the Signature Collection and Imogen from the Folk Collection. Our office chairs are from Ebay. The over sized wall calendar is from Crate & Barrel.

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