My standing desk

Under $20 standing desk conversion

I’ve been wanting a standing desk, ever since last year I spent a whole summer using a makeshift one in my basement and found it very comfortable. One of the troubles with standing desks is they’re horribly expensive. If you’re handy with a circular saw you can make one for under $20.

Here’s a picture of what the final product looks like:

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 piece of 3/4″ triangular shaped wood approximately 55″ diagonal and 35″ on a side. You can of course, take a 35″x35″ piece of wood and cut it in half to make two desks.
  • 1 piece of 8′ long 2″x2″ posts
  • lacquer
  • Felt pads

The wood I cut from a large sheet of birch hardwood. The sheet costs $50, but you only use 1/3 of it if you cut a rectangle. Since I only needed one triangle, I would say I used 1/5 (it would be 1/6th but let’s account for some waste). You could also get away with buying just a small piece, but I planned to use the rest of the sheet for other projects. The post cost me $2. So far, the total is $12.

Laquer I had some lying around from previous projects. You could get a new can for $14, but you only use about 1/4 of the can (if that). You could also paint it, which might be cheaper. Felt pads you should always have in your house. Put them under the couch legs, chair legs, everything with legs. Even dogs have them naturally! If you’re out, they’re only $9 for a big bag.

How to put it together:

First, you’ll want to cut the table top. I cut off the corners of the triangle to make the desk look nicer. This leaves the front about 33″ wide. If you want to be efficient with the wood, I suggest drawing the desk onto the large sheet. It involves a little preparation, but you end up with fewer scraps.

Once you have the top, stand at the desk you want to use, and approximately measure from your elbow to the top of the desk. We’ll call this elbow height. Make sure to relax your shoulders as you do this. Add about 1/2″ to this measurement and that will be the height of the desk. Cut the posts to be the length of your elbow height. You may want to use a chop saw to ensure that the ends are perfectly square. You could also use a triangle ruler to mark where to cut with a circular saw.

You’re almost done. Now just put lacquer on the desk. I applied 4 coats on the top, and 1 coat on the bottom of the desk and posts.


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