Study Desk (Part 1)

This study desk is an oldie but goodie. I original designed and built this desk for a student who needed a place to do his homework. This was many years ago when I was still using black and white film to take pictures for my business album.

It’s a simple desk with a nice size work surface and two drawers to store supplies. I built it again in 1999 for myself when I began working on my IT certifications. First for my A+ certifications and then the seven exams for the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) certification. After that, I sold it or gave it to someone, and I can’t remember who. It served its purpose well and should make a good study location for any student. See photo below.

Click HERE to go to the drawings. Normally I did 2 dimensional drawings but at this time I was learning perspective and made this drawing as a 3D exploded view that should be helpful for assembly. I built the desk of oak plywood and laminated the top but you aren’t stuck with that aspect of the design. You can use other hardwood plywood or a paint grade plywood that you can paint any color you choose. You can laminate the top as I did or use other options including rounding over the top and bottom for the desktop edges or applying a solid wood edge and you can either clear coat or paint the entire desk including the top.

I finished mine with Deft Clear Wood Finish with no stain, but you can use a stain to change the color because I prefer the look of natural wood. The list of materials below describes every piece needed to build the desk just as shown in the picture.

Cutting The Pieces

Cut all the pieces as described in the List of Materials. All the pieces for this project are rectangles with square corners. Cut them with the grain running in the direction of the longest dimension. Always select the best faces of your plywood for the exposed sides. For example, there are two parts A that comprise the sides and legs of the desk and the sides that face out should be the most attractive. Since Part B is exposed to the back of the desk, this should be the best side. The two Parts E are the drawer fronts; the front side of these should be the most attractive. If you are using plywood with a strong grain pattern, cut both Parts E from the same piece. Make this piece long enough for both parts and then cut it in two, making certain that you install each piece to expose the continuity of the grain pattern. This is easy to do and contributes a great deal to the appearance of your desk.

Iron-On Veneer

Iron on the veneer edging and then trim all the edges. There are various ways to trim the veneer. You can do it with a sharp utility knife if you work carefully. You can also file all the edges with a mill bastard file. And, you can sand these edges, but the file or the knife works faster. Glue build-up, which is common, can be removed with a wire brush or a file card. The edges to be covered with the veneer are as follows:

The front and back of Parts A
The bottom of Part B
The front of Part C
The front edge of Part D
All four edges of Parts E

Sanding Before Assembly

Sand all components completely before you assemble the desk.  This makes sanding much easier because you will not have to sand into corners as you would if you sanded after assembly. Always sand with the grain of the wood surface. Sanding against the grain will produce ugly scratches.

Click HERE to go to Study Desk (Page 2)