Our Home Office Furniture Construction

he desks in the first two pictures are not quite finished.

Whatever home office furniture you design, make sure it will support the items you want to place on it. I’m talking about the desktops and/or countertops – NOT the chairs. Build the furniture to support more weight than you anticipate by at least 20%. Remember a laser printer can weight up to 75 pounds and the older, larger CRT monitor can weight up to 50 pounds or more.

Let’s also suppose someone leans or sits on your desktop. The desktop must be able to support at least 300 pounds without any problems.

Most home office furniture is built using laminate finish as it is more durable than plain wood and usually less costly. Real wood is more forgiving as scratches can be sanded out and refinished. However, water rings tend to damage real wood and we tend to set drinks and cups on the countertop while we work.

We still wanted the warm wood look. After looking at different sources, we decided on laminate in a cherry wood grain color. As a plus, we have experience with laminates having built custom countertops for a kitchen in Florida and a relocated kitchen for my mom, as well as several other laminate projects.

Years ago, laminates only came in 4 ft. x 8 ft. sheets. Now-a-days, you can get it in a variety of sizes, depending upon the manufacturer. Laminates come in 5ft. x 8ft., 6ft. x 8ft. and several other sizes up to 8ft. x 12ft. You can really use your imagination with a minimum of seams to hide.

home office floorplan

This sketch shows what we wanted the final product to look like.

Now, for the part you cannot see that makes everything come together.

We knew the rounded shape would give us the maximum work surface within reach of the chair. We used medium density fiberboard or “MDF” that was 3/4 inch thick, very smooth and easy to work with. The basic curve was cut using a saber saw cutting close to the scribed pencil line.

I then sanded the curve using a rotary sander to bring the wood up the line leaving a nice smooth edge. The support wood consists of 1in. x 6in. pine cut to fit the pattern in this drawing.

The edges of the pine are joined using “biscuits”, which are little oval wooden inserts. Then the wood is glued to the MDF using Sumo glue. Sumo is a waterproof bonding agent that will not separate. After all the wood support pieces are joined together, the edges were routed to match the smoothed edge of the MDF.

At this point, I got a little creative and placed oak edging on the counter tops. I used 1/4 inch oak that was 1 1/2 inch wide. I glued these to the smoothed edge with more Sumo glue. Notice the elaborate clamping system.

This edge needed some dressing up, so I cut a 1/4 inch slot with a trim router and filled it with black silicone.

The legs were spaced a maximum distance to 24 inches apart as this distance will maximize possible load carrying capabilities. Solid 4ft. x 4ft. oak is expensive so, I used 3/4 inch x 3 inch planks and glued them together in a box shape to form lightweight, but very solid, supports.

The legs were clamped on using some steel corner brackets and 1 inch X 4 inch oak planks running from leg to leg and attached to the wall. These boards also provided a way to hide the wiring.

Attachment of the countertops for our home office furniture was simple using a Kreg mini jig. This cool tool allows you to drill holes from one panel to another at an angle under the top and mount the boards flush together. I also placed two auxiliary supports just to make sure everything held together.

The legs were built in our garage and set in place in the office.

One of my considerations was the possible relocation or remodeling of our office. Therefore, the countertops can be disassembled and moved. Consider the long-time ramifications before doing anything that can not be easily taken apart. One example is if you have to replace the carpeting in the area of your home office furniture.

Remember when building your home office furniture, plan ahead! It is much easier to plan these things in the design stage.

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Dave Altman

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