Home Desk – Table Legs and Frame

Home Desk – Table Legs and Frame

Where does one start when building a desk? Obviously you need to cut all of the wood out at some point. In this case, my desk design has the frame directly connected to the table legs. That means that starting with the table legs and frame makes the most sense. 

As I mentioned last week, I took a lot of time planning out my cuts on this build. Lumber prices are high. Plus, I already have plenty of scrap wood around the house, so I try to avoid adding more. That level of planning carried through to marking out each of my cuts on the plywood for the desk frame and drawers.

All of the cut lines laid out before starting the real cuts.

When cutting sheets of plywood, my strategy is to use my two workbenches and a circular saw. I measure the offset of my circular saw guide and then put a straight edge in place to run the saw along.

Plywood ready to cut with other plywood as a straight edge.

Depending on what I’m building, there are times where it is important to make sure the cuts are as clean as possible. Circular saws cut on the upward stroke. That means that the top of what you are cutting is susceptible to chip out. I deal with this in two ways. First, I make sure that the side that will be most visible is on the bottom when I cut. That keeps it the cleanest. Then, I use a masking tape or painters tape on the top edge when I want to keep the chip out to a minimum.

Masking tape on the top edge to reduce rip out.

The table legs are made out of 2”x2” pine. Cutting these down to length was very simple with a miter saw. The complicated part came when adding a taper to the bottom of the table leg. There are a couple different ways to do this. It can be done on either a table saw or a miter saw, but both require some sort of jig setup.

I decided to use the miter saw set off to a 5° angle. I had to use a jig here to make sure that everything was done safely and consistently. The jig featured a board against the miter saw fence to fill the gap in the fence. This gave the leg a solid surface to push against. There was also a piece of wood to the left of the leg. That wood acted as a consistent stop to set the leg against for the taper depth. Lastly, I used a piece of wood represented by the arrow to hold the leg tight and in place while cutting. Sounds complicated, but I think a picture helps explain what I was doing.

The tapered table leg jig.
Results after the jig. I’m pretty happy with it.

Adding a taper to two sides of the legs really helps give a finished look to the table. Adds a bit of class one would say.

While I was cutting out the frame of the desk, I also cut out an additional box frame for the drawers. In the next post I’ll go through the assembly process for the entire desk frame.

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