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…