DIY Custom Desk

What do you get when you give a guy his own office and a garage full of tools? I'll give you a hint... the answer is in a photo right below this sentence...

A custom desk!

Part of the reason we moved was so Tim could be closer to work, but he still works from home fairly often. It's important for him to have a nice working space - something we really didn't have at all in the old place.

Using a few photos for inspiration and some internet research, we were able to make this baby all by ourselves!

Oh and this handsom devil of a chair was a craigslist find for $50 - masculine, but still really interesting.

We used butcher block from Ikea for the top (stained etc using this tutorial by This and That) and pipes from Home Depot for the legs (spray painted glossy black). It wasn't cheap, but was definitely less expensive than buying a similar desk from Restoration Hardware or West Elm.

Most of this DIY is just plain measuring and adjusting your pipe lengths to fit your needs, but, for those of you interested, here's a breakdown of the parts you'll need to make an L shaped desk like we did:

Non-Pipe Materials:
Screws x 32 (to attach your desk top to the legs via your flanges)
2 Cans of Black Spray Paint
110 and 220 Grit Sand Paper
Wood Conditioner
Walnut Stain
Tung Oil

A. Pipe Caps x 8
B. 8" Pipe x 8 (change the length to adjust height)
C. T Joint x 12
D. 18" Pipe x 8
E. 12" Pipe x 4
F. 4" Pipe x 4
G. 60" Pipe x 2 (this is for your horizontal support pipe - we had one of them cut down to 55" to fit our length needs - the Home Depot workers can do it easily!)
H. Flange x 8

The resulting desk is 29" high (a low-ish desk height because of the chair we had - you can adjust pipes B and D to change the height), 25.5" deep (the factory depth of the Ikea butcher block), and as wide as you make part G!

Without going full blown tutorial on you, here are the basic steps:

1. Cut the butcher block to your desired lengths - for us, this meant cutting the back piece down to the length of the back wall minus the width of the butcher block and cutting the side piece down to a length that made a nice L shape for the portions in Tim's office
2. Treat your butcher block with this tutorial by This and That.
3. Assemble your pipe legs.
4. Remove the pipe price tags (we used a heat gun) and clean them with Acetone (otherwise they'll be too greasy for paint to stick).
5. Spray paint your pipe legs glossy black.
6. Assemble your pieces with standard screws (we brought the desk tops and legs into the office first)



(no we haven't painted, just looks like I chose a different white balance there... hmm)

Total cost for this big boy was around $390. The truth is, we could have spent less on a pre-made desk from craigslist, but this is exactly what Tim wanted - totally worth every penny :)

Oh and, don't mind the dangling computer wires... we're still working out that little problem. Anyone else feel like their life is consumed by wires?