Modern DIY Desk with Hidden Cable Management

I'm Brad and today we're building a
modern desk with hidden wire management and with working from home combined with
our three kids doing home school now desk space is at a premium and frankly I
don't want another IKEA piece of junk like what we've had for the kids. I'm
using walnut for this desk so it's gonna look nice out in our family room and to
keep it tidy I'm including some wire management into the design which I'll
show you later now this video has a ton of tips and tricks and as always
mistakes were made so I started off the base for the desk which is made of solid
walnut I bought more boards than I needed and I did some initial milling before picking the best ones to use for the desk I finished milling the parts down to an inch and a half by an inch and a half
you could also use off-the-shelf two by twos here if you don't have access to
these milling machines or the hardwood alright we've got all the pieces for the
base here and I did get some burning though when I was cutting on the table
saw there was some burning here on the side so I'm gonna go ahead and sand that
off now before I started cutting and before assembly is gonna be way easier
to do it now versus later when it's totally put together and batching your
parts together and sanding them in groups of two or three makes this quick
it's really gonna save you a lot of time prepping for finish later now the base
is an a-frame style with legs angling out from the top.

I set the miter saw for the angle that I needed and I cut the ends off the legs
and don't throw away these offsets here he's gonna be using them later from
there I marked one leg for the length that I wanted I brought it back over to
the miter saw and I lined up the cut and I set my stop block in place so that I
could get repeatable cuts from there and use those off cuts to make the upper and
lower rails of the side assembly and cut everything to size and then it was time for some joinery I laid out one of the sides on the bench to do a little
mock-up and mark for the dowel joinery that I'm using to connect the parts
where the parts flush on top I made pencil marks across the joint for where
I wanted the dowels and make sure to give enough space between the lines so
that thou holes won't run into each other I've learned that one a few times
and now I can use those marks to drill the dowel holes on each piece and
they're gonna line up right together I used my poor man's vise which has two
parallel clamps clamp together to hold the rail and
drill the holes in the end And drilling the legs is much easier as you can do it
on the bench and it doesn't try to move on you like it does when you're drilling
those ends now there's several ways to drill down holes but I like this self
centering dowel jig I'll have a link to it and all the other tools that I used
in this bill down in the description the top rail went together nicely now I
could clamp it in place and Mark for the lower rail and whenever you're clamping
up something that is slanted like that it's always a great idea to save your
off cuts because these are the perfect angle to put on the sides to make sure
that you can clamp it without the clamps slipping off so I cut some little pieces
of sandpaper and I'm going to spray adhesive them to these little clamps and
it's gonna let me clamp these without the clamps moving off it i clamp the top
together using the blocks and then I slid that lower rail up until it fits
snug and after measuring to make sure it was paralleled at the bottom I marked
for the dowels just like before and then I could drill the holes in that lower
rail and the legs and finish off the joinery for the side assembly and when
you're assembling everything you'll need to do it one side at a time versus the
top than the bottom and you quickly find out why if you try it now putting glue
on the Dow's is pretty much all you're going to need to do here if you fill the
holes with glue you're gonna have squeezed out everywhere and just make a
mess and getting dried glue off the inside corners is really a pain so I aim
for just the point where I get barely a little bit of squeezed out to come out
I've repeated the process for the other side and I let them dry overnight and
then I came back and I sanded all the joints flush and I removed any dried
glue so it wouldn't affect the finish later the sides are joined by two top
stretchers in a lower stretcher in the back I cut the pieces to length for all
three of these parts and I took them to the bench for assembly now my thought
process here was to lay out the lower stretcher with dowels and then attach
the top ones with pocket holes later but you'll see why that went wrong I drilled the holes in the ends of the stretcher but since that lower rail is in the way
on the side I couldn't use the jig to drill the side assembly now instead I
got these little dowel points I put them in the holes that I drilled and I used
them to mark where I needed those mating holes to be on that leg assembly and
then I could take those leg assemblies Over to the drill press and then drill out 3/8 of an inch holes on the marks that
the points have left you could also drill these by hand but
my hand drilling is highly suspect and I actually want this thing to fit together
right so I went ahead and I assembled the size together using just that lower
stretcher here now the legs wanted to lean in a bit so I used the top
stretchers as a spacer to hold the size parallel to each other and after it was
dry I went to install the top stretchers and found the issue I messed up I what I
should have done is put these two in when I did this top one and I
consciously didn't do that because I was just gonna attach it with pocket screws
but what I found was that the pocket screws I have are just too long for my
liking and the other screws I have are not long enough so I'm gonna use some
3/8 wooden dowel and I'm gonna drill all the way through from the a-frames into
those crossmembers put the dowels in glue them in place and then plug it with
a walnut cap and I think that's gonna look pretty nice and we'll call it a
design feature I laid out marks for two pieces of dowel rod at each joint I
figured the easiest way to drill the holes out was just to clamp everything
in place and drill straight through both pieces at the same time I flipped the
base upside down so I could get the stretchers flush with the top of the
sides and I drilled through until I went into those top stretchers now I also
found two inch dowels so that I didn't have to cut down a rod and I used one to
figure out how deep I needed to drill now before I put the dowels in I cut
some custom walnut plugs using a plug cutter in my drill press having plugs
cut from the same material it's gonna really help it blend in well and really
I just like snapping these things off with a screwdriver and I put some glue
on the dowels and I hammered them into place now used to punch with a piece of
tape marked on it to put them exactly halfway between the sides and the
stretchers and then I came back and I installed the plugs and put them in as
far as they would go and the fit was really tight so I crushed the ends a
little bit with some pliers to help them get started
I finished off by cutting the plugs with a flush trim saw using a little tape
next to the plugs would have helped me not more up the surface for those saw
marks sanded out just fine in matching the grain direction on the plugs that
makes them almost disappear what a great design feature now next I'm making the
top from 3/4 inch walnut plywood now when I give a big THANK YOU to wood
craft and jet the sponsors of today's video the wood craft makes this wood
river panel cart which is awesome for saving your back and moving full sheets
of plywood around the shop they also sell a full line of jet products
including the milling machines that I used on the walnut as well as my cyclone
dust collector that helps keep my shop clean check the links in the description
to the wood craft website to learn more and to support two great woodworking
brands now after ripping the top and bottom pieces to width I started making
the miters for the Box I'm using the table saw in my old sled to make these
angled cuts which you could also use a track saw or the router table as well I
left the piece for the top long so that I could cut it exactly to size and I'll
have enough material on the offcuts to make the left and right sides and this
is gonna give me a continuous or waterfall grain around the sides which
is gonna look really awesome oh and if you're wondering why I'm using dumbbells
on the top of the plywood it's just to make sure that they're lying flat on the
sled for that whole cut and because I don't use them for much anything else
these days back in 82 I used to be able to throw a pigskin quarter mop now I'm
gonna be reinforcing the miners with a spline of quarter inch plywood I
recorded to eat a lot more video about this entire process and how to get great
fitting miter joints and even tips on how to fix bad ones I actually had so
much footage I'm redoing a whole nother video on this so if you want to see this
whole process in detail i'll have that video linked at the end when it goes
live the top has two drawers separated by a center divider then using dedos cut
in the top and bottom to hold that divider into place and after a few test
cuts to dial in the right size data for the plywood
I ran the top and bottom through the sled I also made sure that I used the
left side of each part against the fence so that it'll be lined up correctly
the next I cut that center divider from the offcut on the bottom piece I trimmed
it shorter than the depth of the desk leaving it short here is the first part
of that chase for the wire management then I cut a long piece the length of
the inside of the desk and that's going to go behind the divider to close off
the drawer section and make that hidden area I did a dry fit to make sure
everything lined up properly and then I added some pocket holes that that long
divider so I can easily attach it during assembly now the glue up doesn't seem
that complicated but if it's one of the most hectic ones I've done first off I
forgot to switch to a slow setting glue which I would recommend and secondly
clamping up miters is never easy and I started from the bottom and I put that
center divider in place and then I screwed down the long one making sure
that they were flush with the front and the sides accordingly the minor splines
actually do make this a bit easier as they hold the sides in place without the
need for clamps but a good web clamp is worth its weight in gold here as you're
assembling it now it's putting that top on and just struggling through it but a
ratchet strap works in a bind here as well I'll give you some good tips on
gluing up minors also in that upcoming video but for all the struggle the top
turned out great and those minors really look nice coming off the glue up now to
cover the plywood edges on the front I melt up some small walnut strips I made
the edge banding just slightly larger than the thickness of the plywood and I
made them an eighth of an inch thick I might have the trim and I went around
the frame attaching it with glue and 23 gauge pin nails the pin nails leave very
small holes that can be filled later it with sawdust and glue but you could also
just clamp the trim in place with some painters tape and then remove it after
it was dried I cut a small piece to fit that center divider and then I came back
an hour later and sanded all the trim flush with the box on the inside and the
outside of the drawer openings next I measured and cut the drawer parts for
the desk I'm using full extension soft closed slides and I just did my
measurements to fit the hardware as needed now pocket holes in the fronts
and the backs or make these drawers go together easily
but if you're a regular viewer you'll notice something a little bit different
about these drawers I'm using half inch Baltic birch
plywood instead of three-quarter inch which I typically use and that's mainly
just because I had some extra laying around but also I thought a lighter
looking drawer would go well with this design now though they do look better my
standard drawer assembly approach doesn't work quite as well with half
inch ply when attaching the bottoms with Brad nails or staples I had problems
with both of them blowing out and also spacing the nails far enough from the
edge so that I could chant for the bottom and not hit one so if you go with
half inch ply I recommend a floating bottom panel instead now to finish off
the drawers I wanted to make some unique drawer fronts with my CNC all these
drawer fronts to be sleek but also be kind of cool so I'm gonna go to the
x-carve and I'm going to C&C in some geometric shapes in here then I'm gonna
backfill it with some black epoxy it should be a really cool look let's get
it set up I attached the drawer fronts to the base of the x-carve using tape
and CA glue so that I could carve the entire surface of the front now the
design I'm using actually came from a wallpaper that I saw online I took a
picture of it and I traced it in Illustrator and then I imported it into
easel which is Inventables design and cutting software for the x-carve and I
used a 60 degree V bit to cut out the design about an eighth of an inch deep
and I did leave the Front's oversized so that I could come back and cut them to
an exact fit in the next step having little embellishments like this into a
project is a great use for the CNC and I want to keep exploring how I can use the
x-carve more in my shop after cutting both pieces I gave them a quick sanding
and I ramped the edges in tape for the next step typically set off the design I
wanted to fill the carvings with some colored epoxy so I mixed up some total
boat high-performance with a fast setting hardener and I added in some
black pigment to the mix I wasn't sure how much the epoxy would cover but after
fumbling around a bit on the first one I mixed up another batch and I found it
was easiest to apply it almost like you put grout on a tile floor I also
backfilled the lines with a syringe to make sure that that epoxy was above the
wood where it was needed that was actually really fun to do now the next
day I sanded away all the epoxy on the surface until I got back down to raw
wood and it looked awesome and this is exactly what I was hoping for
I cut the Front's the final size and it gave me clean epoxy edges on the outside
and it also let me line up the designs of the drawer fronts this way I could
have a seamless transition between them and since I wasn't sure if I'd get
enough comments about all the machines that I used on this build I'm deciding
to go ahead and use my router table to route finger pulls on the underside of
the fronts I actually wanted to make the finger pulls hidden and stop one inch
before the ends but apparently I can't read the tape measure on my router fence
so I pivoted and ran them all the way across design feature now the last piece
of the puzzle was to trick out the wire management for the top I started by
routing a rabbet in the back to hold a quarter inch plywood panel a clamping an
off cut of the plywood to the box really helps make balancing the router easier
on this thin edge now the whole purpose of the chaise is to get a lot of wires
into it and send fewer wires out so I drilled holes on the bottom in the back
corners and I positioned them so they were in line with the legs though I'd
probably move them in a little bit further if I did build this again and if
you want plans for this desk I will have those available and they're gonna
include all the changes that I'd make I finished off those holes by rounding
over the edges to prevent the plywood venire from chipping over time now to
enclose the chaise I cut down a piece of quarter-inch plywood using referential
measurements aka putting in place and marking it the
referential measurements just sounds way more fun
I could have squared the corners of the rabbet on the back to fit the piece but
instead I decided to round the corners of the back panel I just used a Fender
washer to mark the curve and then I sanded to the line on my oscillating
belt sander I thought about putting a slot in the top of the desk or a
removable panel for the wires to go in but I just couldn't bring myself to
break up that beautiful top with a slot so instead I laid out and cut an entry
point at the top center of that back panel now all route the wires over the
back and into the chaise and I'll use some cable clips on the back of my
monitor to make them nice and tidy I also drilled some finger holes in that
back panel to make it easily removable and pair up with my attachment method
I don't get the back piece of all cut out and I'm going to attach it to the
back but I'm gonna attach it with magnets instead of nailing it or
screwing it and the reason is wires are gonna roll over the back through this
little section a little power strip can live back there and USB hub and whatever
else so I'm gonna drill little holes and epoxy some magnets in here and then on
the other side I'm gonna drive in a few screws and that's gonna allow the
magnets to catch on those I drilled the holes into the magnets were just flush
with the surface and yes I was playing with fire by using the top of the desk
or a workbench with only a scrap piece between it and I think I was just tired
of moving that thing around but I mixed up some five-minute epoxy and I scuffed
up the magnets with sandpaper and installed them into those holes and
while that was curing I drilled a pilot holes on the desk top in the same
locations for that rabbet I countersunk the holes and then I drove in some small
screws so that they were just flush with the edge in this setup worked like a
charm is easy on and easy off and if I ever need to change out the connections
I won't need any tools to get back into that chase I mounted the drawer slides
into the box and nothing much to mention here except make sure you use different
mounting holes or shim the slides on one side of that center divider if you don't
then the screws will run into each other as you drill through from each side I
went with rubio pure for the finish and i love the way this stuff goes on it's
by far the easiest finish that i've ever used
you just put it on and then rub it in with a white scotch brite pad i applied
it to the top the base and the drawer fronts and i loved the way have made the
epoxy pop on those fronts after that I put the fronts on to the drawers and I
mounted the top onto the base with some counterbored screws from the new we got
it all set up let's take a look at the wire management how it works in the back
looking at the back all the wires are going over the monitor into that little
hole and I have a power strip back there and then just the power strip is going
out to the outlet down below but these little cable clips really help clean
things up in the back also and you can see right here where the wires come out
the back of the desk and that goes straight down to the computer and we
gotta tie those together and hit them behind the leg this desk took me longer
to work through that I expected because of all the small details and design
features but it's exactly what I was looking for and it should have magic
marker on it within the week if you want some more options on a DIY desk I've got
a couple more videos queued up for you right there and if you want plans to
this one I do have them available I want to give a huge thank you to the patrons
that are joining the Builders Club some of their names are scrolling down below
and if you want to be part of that Club you can check out more information in
the description as well I'll catch you on the next video

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