Building a Double Desk: Installing the Finished Product

Written by dad - 9 Comments

As promised, here’s the third and final installment of my series on how to build an affordable double desk. So far I’ve laid out a list of supplies and talked about putting together and finishing the desktop. Today I’m going to talk about installing the desk.

Step 1: File cabinet placement

This is pretty easy step, in that I simply placed the file cabinets along the wall such that the outer edges ride just inside the trim on the ends of the desktop. Just be sure you have them square relative to the wall. Ideally, you’ll arrange things such that there’s an electrical outlet between the file cabinets.

Step 2: Installing the wall cleat

While the ends of the desktop are supported by the file cabinets, the back edge is supported by a four foot long, 2″ x 4″ cleat. I centered it between the file cabinets, leveled it with the tops of the cabinets, and then anchored it to the wall with 3″ wood screws driven into the wall studs.

Step 3: Attaching the desktop to the file cabinets

Next up, we need a way of securing the desktop to the cabinets. To this end, I drilled a series of small holes through the top of both file cabinets (approximate locations are indicated with the black dots below). Once the desktop was laid across the cabinets (and the cleat) I screwed it to the cabinets (from below) using 3/4 inch wood screws and washers to keep the heads from pulling through the metal.

Step 4: Attaching the desk to the wall

In order to further secure the desktop, I attached it to the wall cleat using metal L-brackets (below). Here again, I used 3/4 inch wood screws to attach the L-brackets to the desktop, and 1-1/4 inch wood screws for attaching them to the cleat.

Here’s a shot of the desk once the top was in place and secured. Note the quarter round trim to dress up the edge along the wall. I nailed this in with a nail gun. Also note that the trim around the edge serves to keep pencils, crayons, etc. from rolling of the edge. Finally, the plastic grommet is for running power cords down to the electrical outlet.

And here’s a shot of the finished product, complete with a pair of desk chairs, desk mats, lamps, etc.

That’s it! Relatively cheap and very easy (although it did take a bit of time). It would’ve been even cheaper if we’d have gone with used file cabinets. Given that we wanted to build two identical desks, however, we decided that it would be easiest to buy the cabinets new so we could be sure they’d be the same. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions…

See also:
How to Build a Double (or Single) Desk on the Cheap, Part 1
Building a Double Desk, Part 2: Finishing the Desktop

Published on September 20th, 2007 - 9 Comments
Filed under: How To
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Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. Very nice; now you just need to find a way to keep the boys from poking each other when they are sitting at the desk trying to get some work done!

    Comment by Blaine Moore — Sep 20th 2007 @ 9:15 am
  2. Hi just found your blog and am enjoying reading it. I grew up as a biological child in an ever-fluctuating foster home- there were plenty of kids (minimum of four at any time but usually more) in only a four bedroom house.

    I was interested to see your desk as my dad made us one of these once- only he put the drawers in the middle to seperate us and finished the ends off with ply wood the same as for the desk top. There were four drawers in the desk and we had our own allocated ones so there were no fights!

    Anyway, your’s looks great- well done!

    Comment by Louise — Sep 25th 2007 @ 7:59 am
  3. love this article. same situation- but all of your pictures are gone. can you email me a picture of the final desks… i really don’t want to spend $300 each on a desk which is what I’m finding in the stores!

    Comment by kelly — Sep 17th 2008 @ 10:18 pm
  4. Would you please send photos of your completed double desk – this sounds like the answer I need – thanks

    Comment by stacie redwine — Jul 29th 2009 @ 7:57 pm
  5. this sounds like our answer to a shared desk area for the same setup – would love to see photos if you still have them-thanks

    Comment by Rich — Aug 9th 2009 @ 9:01 am
  6. I would also be very interested in seeing pictures. We hope to make a work area for our two kids and your desk sounds like what I have been imagining, but I’d love to see what it actually looks like!

    Comment by Jonna — Aug 29th 2009 @ 7:17 pm
  7. We just spent the morning at Ikea and the afternoon on line and can’t find anything that works for our 2 kids.

    Can someone email me the pictures of the desks if they are still around?



    Comment by Daddy Sean — Aug 30th 2009 @ 3:39 pm
  8. Same here, if someone could email me the pictures of the desks if they are still around?


    Comment by trevor smith — Aug 31st 2009 @ 12:44 pm
  9. This was awesome. I love the idea. I have been thinking about how to maximize space and store toys And get desk space. GreAt job.

    Comment by Glen — Feb 25th 2011 @ 9:42 pm

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