What is it about being a man in your 30s that makes you want to start building things? Almost every male friend I have from college and graduate school has started building projects of some sort. Is it the intangible nature of a mostly digital workflow and the need to make something physical and solid in the world? Is it a cultural longing for old standards of masculinity? Whatever the reason, I fell into the trap and decided to make myself a standing desk.
Standing desks are great. I had one at my last in office job and loved it. Paired with a good stool and mixing your day with half sitting, half standing is great if you feel like you have excess energy from sitting all day. My old standing desk was just a modified cubical that I was never able to adjust to a comfortable height. I’m 6’4”, so an ergonomic standing desk is a hard thing to find. I need a top at least 46” tall. After looking around at prices and styles, I decided to enlist the help of my friend Arlo and build one of my own.
After a rainy day surfing google image search, I found this image for my inspiration. It was perfect. The pipe means a cheap, sturdy, modern looking base that I can easily assemble to be the perfect height for my tall frame.
The raw pipe I used. Arlo and I tested assembly of a single leg in store, then just purchased 4 of everything. The long center pipe that will become my foot rest was the only piece we had to get custom cut.
The pipe fully assembled, we made a 3/4” particle board base to help cut down on costs and as templates for the hardwood surface. After seeing it together, I disassembled it and started to de-grease and spray the pipe base with a matte polyurethane.
We had to drill 4 holes in each shelf and slide them on before securing the desktop.
We chose a 3/4” Walnut for the top and shelves with a matching trim to cover up the particle board. We had to biscuit join two boards for each surface. It was surprisingly fun to do.
Once we joined and drilled the shelf holes, we also biscuit joined the trim so we wouldn’t have to use trim nails. Came out looking great! We had our master-woodworker Henry approve of our final joins.
The desk came out to be 5′ long, so we had to use car tow cables when glueing the end trim.
A view of the raw walnut desktop finished. I was starting to get excited at this point!
Fully assembled with the raw walnut. I wished I could have left it raw, the color of the wood was so great at this point, I was ready to take it up to my office.
First coat of finish! I tested linseed and tung oil, but in the end decided to go with a food-safe Mahoney’s Utility Finish, a walnut oil. It really brought out the grain without going too dark or brown like the other oils I tested.
Finished and in place! I had a leftover bit of Walnut that I turned into a monitor stand, which works great!
My office back together! I put magnetic primer on the walls last year so I can change out my poster collection without leaving holes in my wall of posters.