tenkay desk

The maple kind of shimmers a bit in the light. Well, not shimmer, but as you move around the room, the reflections off the grain is different like you can see in this pic. It's hard to portray in pictures. Beautiful wood.

Pompous woodworkers like to use the word chatoyance for what you are seeing.

The desk top turned out real nice.
Thanks everyone :)

I'm checking my table saw fence today. It's not clamping on the far side. Once that's fixed I'll start the shelf. Once the shelf is done I'll take some good pics to wrap up phase 1 on this project. Stay tuned.
I checked out my table saw fence.

Turns out it's missing a nut or something to attach the latching mechanism to the clamp on the far side.


Anyone have any tips on how to fix this? If all else fails, I can just use a wood clamp to keep the far end of the fence in-place.

Annnd... I have a full day this Saturday to work on this, so another update coming soon.
Made a sketch of my 3rd monitor stand I'll be making out of the leftover plywood from the template. I don't want to mess with the maple, plus it'll be mostly covered by monitors and unseen, so I thought I'd just use the lower quality plywood and spray paint it black to match my other monitor stands.


Also I'll be trying out some dadoes :). I'm thinking I'll buy a smaller, cheaper straight bit for the router (mine's 1" for the template cutting).
I'd have to check, but I thought it matched the saw - Delta.

That was my guess as well. Though I've never taken one of those apart, but it looks like a nut and washer to compress the spring, with the hole at the end providing access for a nut driver. That would allow you to adjust the tension. Good luck with the repair.
Had some issues getting this video off my camera, but it's finally available on youtube. There's a good look at the legs and the rest of my office, and I spell out some of my plans for cabinets too. If you want a trip back in time I think there's some cool stuff in here:

Well, sitting at it right now. I've got my shelf roughed out in plywood, but I haven't gotten to piecing out the scraps. I started and found that it's going to be easier to make a bunch of short pieces and glue them "vertically", but that would make the whole front edge of the shelf end-grain. The problem with "horizontal" (length-wise) alignment is I'll have some butt joints with end grain to end grain, which isn't a strong joint. Still deciding how I want to do that. And, my table saw fence is loose which isn't good for cuts and presents a safety hazard, so I'm also trying to figure out the best way to actually make the pieces the right size for glue-up.

I know right where I'm at and what the next steps are, but other things are calling for attention around the house during the summer is all (such as some shelves for a guest room, a gate for our deck, busy season at work, etc). I'm thinking there'll be more updates in the fall. I want it done too. And I can't wait to get some cabinets in here to make my stuff clean looking again.
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I've been thinking about the room in general and I have some more ideas for the office. I already did the overhead lighting, made a video about that but never finished it to upload. I'd like to add faux brick on the wall adjacent to the display case, paint the room more of a gray color over the "adobe" that's in here now... it looks pinkish at times and I don't like it. And today, I added a bit to my display case :)


Anyone have a gold OOT cart you're willing to part with? Mine was stolen about 10 years ago and I miss it more each year :(
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I figured you were busy but good to hear about the planned updates hopefully coming in the fall. It was really interesting watching the build process for the desk. Are you still planning to use electric height adjustable legs to make it a sit/stand desk?

That's a nice vintage console collection you've got there too. My youngest (9) loves playing Street Fighter II on the SNES.
Yes, still planning on the electric adjustable legs, but that'll be "phase 3" and probably a few years off yet. For one, they're pricey, and for two, I haven't vetted the quality of the pre-built ones. From a professional builder I spoke with, they all wobble a lot, especially when loaded, and I don't want that. So I'll either have to research for the best and probably spend even more, or figure out a design to do it myself. I need cabinets first though, and those will come after the shelf.

That's awesome about your kid. I remember when I was a kid looking at the intellivision and atari consoles of generations prior and not being impressed at all. I guess there really were good games in the NES/SNES era then and it's not just all nostalgia :)
It's tough to beat the "square" knight from Adventure on Atari for pure graphics absurdity. I remember playing Xxaxon on my friends Colicovision which I always thought was cool. Nothing compared to the NES though and Super Mario when it came out. That was a true game changer for me.
Here's one of my side projects almost wrapped up. Our spare/guest bedroom doesn't have a closet, so I made these to go in there. I have some iron gas pipe to put in the big opening as a clothes hanger bar, and I'll stain it gray and clear coat. I still need to fill the nail holes and rough sand to smooth out some of the joints, then finish sand, stain, and clear coat.


It's not perfect because I didn't have a reliable table saw, or a long enough straight-edge to make the long rip cuts from end to end, but I learned some techniques for next time.

I made this gigantic 7 ft router dado jig that more than made up it's cost in usefulness. This thing served its purpose and more. All the trim has dadoes and the plywood shelves are sunk into the sides with dadoes too.


Did a bunch of learning again and got some ideas for my desk cabinets.
Yes, but where's the recessed lighting? :)

Love the jig. I really need to up my router chops, I've always done my dadoes on my table saw. They are functional, but that is about it.
Quick update. We're making a family trip to my folks place for new year's since we didn't get to see them for Christmas. I found enough room in the car for my maple scraps. My dad has a nice true table saw in his shop I can use for ripping them back down into boards so I can start on the shelf. Didn't trust mine.

Let's get this show back on the road. ::rockon::
Did it!

Sorted out the scraps.

This is the biggest one.

Some pieces needed a straight line with the track saw prior to running through the table saw.

All cut up. I have 2 full length boards unused from the desk surface at home still, as well as some full length strips if needed.

Shelf in a box! Some assembly required.

I have my shape drawn out on the plywood template, I just need to cut it out and start puzzling these together. I'll use biscuits on end grain glue ups but joints staggered to keep some strength across.
Either the pictures don't show enough, or that table saw makes some serious clean cuts. Giving me some serious jealously right now.
It's a way nicer saw than mine, but some of the edges got a little burned. Doesn't bother me since I'm just gluing on those edges anyway. I just needed them straight.

I finally caught a break from work and spent a few hours working on the shelf. If you go back a page, I had already traced out the general shape and size I needed the shelf to be based on the footprint of my monitors and speakers. So I laid them out, double checked that I liked the design and started to rough cut them out.

full desk template:

cut-out shelf template:


Once it was cut out, I just used my hand sander and more or less manually smoothed out the curves till they looked like I wanted.




Not perfect, but pretty good.


Next came the task of figuring out what scraps would work best and where. I wanted to eliminate any end-grain butt joints as much as possible, so I just placed pieces trail-and-error until I came up with something I thought was good enough. Obviously full boards would be best, but I didn't have that luxury at this time. I did have two full length boards left over from the desk surface, which was great, but one of them wasn't quite the same width as the others and still had a rough edge (wasn't straight lined) so I couldn't end-grain butt joint that piece with any of my other scraps anyway, unless I cut the whole row to the same width. The goal was to do as many full-length runs with the full-length boards as possible to minimize end-grain joints despite this though.

This was the original idea:

And trying it out:


Here's what I ended up with.

I'm pretty happy with this. There are only two end-grain butt joints (ok, two and a half - one really small one right in the front middle), and they are strengthened by having edge butt joints that span both pieces on both sides (and they're symmetrical, which wouldn't really bother normal people). I'll put a biscuit or two on the end-grain joints, but I'm thinking this glue-up is going to be a bit easier than I originally thought.

Plenty of scrap left too. I'll keep this around in case it's helpful for the file cabinets underneath, but I'm not holding my breath over it. If anything I'll use this for some smaller projects not related to the desk. It's good wood so I don't want to just throw it away.


I went ahead and numbered each piece and marked with arrows how each piece lined up so I can easily put it back together for glue-up next.

And here she sits:

I could do the cross cuts to make everything lay flat right now, but I just packed it up. Some of the widths don't exactly match up for some reason, so I want to run them all through the table saw one more time to make sure each row is exactly the same width. I have a new (to me) table saw coming in about a month, so this will need to wait until then. But I know the fence is good on this one, so I can actually accomplish what I'm trying to do this time.


On a different desk-related note, I did some research on the best electric height-adjustable desks / legs. It looks like the Fully Jarvis and the UpLift Standing desk are two of the best for stability / rigidity. I can get the Uplift legs on Amazon, and I already have some cash stored away in my Amazon account so I'm probably going to go that direction, but I still need to raise a couple/few hundred bucks for them. I might be trying to sell some stuff towards it soon because sitting in this chair all the time for both work and play all day is really starting to be a drag. So that might be the next step after the shelf.

I really could use some better storage underneath though... decisions decisions. We'll see. Till next time.
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Ok, finally had the time and tools to get this done right. It was so long since I ripped my panels down into boards again that they needed to be straight-lined for a glue-up again. So, I used my new (to me) table saw and got that done. Cut pieces to length too.


Ripping them down to get straight lines lost a bit of height on the total panel so I had to add one of my longer scraps to cover for the distance on top. This actually matches the big part of the desk, so I'm good with it.

(never mind the upside-down left end)

The pices with end-grain butt-joints needed some kind of strengthening, so I made a couple biscuit joints on each of those.


Looking at it all together, I should have mitered the ends of these two boards in the middle, but oh well. Since it was so narrow I put a half-biscuit in it with the open end towards the glue-up so you won't see it from the front of the desk.


I did my best to do it all in one glue-up (I want this thing DONE), but I just didn't feel comfortable enough with only 4 clamps long enough to cover the entire thing. I want one at least on each side of each biscuit joint. So, unfortunately this will need to be 3 separate glue-ups, then one final to put the 3 pieces together. More time... Started the first and let it set.

That's it for now. But there's also another update I'm super excited about:

Heck yeah.
2nd and 3rd glue-ups done.



These were a pain to get right because I couldn't clamp the biscuit joints closed due to trying to use every last square inch of scrap I had. I could work them closed and flush by hand, but when I'd clamp the panel together it would open up again. Not much, but enough to be noticeable if you look at it. I'm not worried about strength really because they're supported on both edges by another long face-grain joint that spans the biscuit joint, they're just not as nice and refined as I would have hoped. I thought about doing just the biscuit joints first, then making the sub-panel, but I wanted to use the spanning piece to make sure the edges were flush and parallel so it wouldn't leave any gaps when I glued these sub-panels up to the main panel.

Also, joint #2 is going to need a *lot* of sanding to get flush. For some reason my biscuit cutter decided to drop in height from one biscuit hole to the other so the piece is tilted slightly which made a big divot right at the corner of the joint - maybe off by 1/16th or so. I'm contemplating just filling it with clear epoxy before finishing instead of sanding the whole thing down. I suppose I could always find a local lumber yard that would let me run it through their planer or something too. We'll see how bad it is when I get all the excess glue cleaned up.

This whole thing would have been so much easier if I didn't cheap out and just got more wood. Oh well, fun to try anyway and it will definitely still come out nice. Just a little extra work in between start and end.
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I'm so happy to see updates on this again... this has been one of my favorite build logs in a long time.
Got the panel all glued up and one of my UpLift desk legs assembled. This panel is obnoxiously large in my office...

Man things are slow on this when there's work, vacation, and 2 kids involved... I hope to make some more progress this weekend, but the wife is out so it'll have to be after the kids are in bed. There is going to be a *lot* of sanding to get this panel flat - the biscuits didn't do their job keeping the pieces aligned because it moved on me slightly during cutting. I'm thinking I'll cut out the panel to within an inch all around my final size just to cut down on some of the sanding, get it flat enough, then trim it to within 1/8 or so again with the jig saw before tracing the template with my router. I'll also have to fill the small gap between the end-grain butt joints at some point. I think for that I'll sand all the remaining glue off, then fill it, then sand flat. For that to work I need to be able to get the filler deep enough in the joint though, and it might be filled with glue, we'll have to see. Backup is chisel it out deeper at the joint, or use a fine router bit to go over the joint to make room for the filler. I don't actually own any chisels, so maybe this will be an excuse for some new stuff :)
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Made a bit of progress tonight.

Very rough cut the general shape. It's still almost as big, but seems a bit more manageable now.

Sanded off most of the glue with my random orbital, then sicced the belt sander with some 80grit on it for 2 hours. Made it about 2/3 of the way through the top side.

This joint is looking good. Took off about 1/16" on the high side of one of the boards.

Didn't quite make it through the middle section, so I'll have to hit this side tomorrow.

Ran out of daylight so I brought it in for the night.

Hopefully between nap time and after bed for the kids tomorrow I can knock out the rest of the rough sanding. After that, trace the template, close-cut with jigsaw, and template bit for final shape on the router. I can't decide if I want to mimic the 1/2" round on the top front edge like I did on the desk or if I just want a 1/8" roundover to get rid of the sharp edges. I think I want the 1/2" but once I cut it I can't go back, so I'll have to keep considering it til it's time. After that, just a few coats of poly and it's done.

Getting there!
So much progress today!

Got it all sanded down. I think I overestimated my time yesterday, I think it was only an hour and a half. I think it was about another hour and a half today, so call it 3 hours front and back with 80 grit on the belt sander. I'm really happy with the decision to cut it down to rough size before sanding the whole glued-up panel.

Holy dust, batman.

These jeans are dark blue.


Done. So smooth. It's really flat too, way better than I was expecting.

Time to cut it to size. First, needed to make my template one piece to actually trace with the router. Nothing a few pocket holes can't fix.


Template done. Notice the janky edge on the right. For the original desk cut-out, that face was on a flat edge after the glue-up, so it didn't matter. Now it does, so I'll just have to avoid tracing that section with the router and flattening it "manually" with the belt sander.

Threw it on my panel and traced in pencil.

Cut it out again with the jigsaw to near-final dimensions. I tried to leave about 1/8" all around to cut with the router. Too close and you could have chip-outs in the final piece, or if the jigsaw isn't calibrated it could actually cut at an angle and cut into the final piece on the bottom edge. Too far and the router bit might leave chatter or worse - tear-out.

The cutoffs were kind of cool. I kind of want to make a piece for my wall out of this.

Time for this bad boy.

Setting depth.

Ohhh yeah.

So clean! Not a single piece of tear-out like on my foray on the desk top!

Done with this space-hog!

Except for one idiot mark. It's not even tear-out, just a brain fart where I put pressure on the router the wrong way and it dug in.

So, back to the belt sander to shave it down a bit. Much better, but still there. I decided to leave it like this instead of try to get it all out and go too far. The belt-sander on the edges like this is basically free-handing the curve. I took one of the curves on my desk top too far when trying this and it kind of ruined the shape a little bit. So before I took it too far, I decided to just cut my losses and leave it here. I'll put some filler in it, and remember, the top edge will be rounded too, so that will inherently take some of the material around the dig off to hide it even more. It could have ended up much worse, but it just sucks this is in one area I'm going to stare at it every dang day.

I needed filler for the end-grain butt joints that I couldn't pull tight, so I figured since I was patching the router mishap I'd just do it all at once right now. I have 2 colors of this Timber Mate filler, which is awesome, by the way. I used the lighter one which is actually called "maple", but as the wood ages on my desk top, it's getting darker while the filler stays the same leaving it much lighter than the surrounding wood. If anything you want it darker so it doesn't catch the eye quite as easily. The darker color here is "red oak," which actually matches the maple end grain pretty well. My batch of wood actually has a bit of a reddish hint to it. It was a little too dark though, so I just decided to mix them about 50/50.

Applied generously to the boo-boo.

Hit the joint gaps.

Brought the panel in to dry for the night.

After only a little bit, the filler is getting lighter as it dries. I think it's going to be a perfect match.

And that's where it'll end for tonight. Tomorrow - sand down the filler, round the edges with the router (1/8 all around, 1/2 on top front), finish sand, maybe first coat of poly if there's time. Boo yah.
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This is an amazing project. I hope you never have to move, or that notch will drive you crazy. :D
This is an amazing project. I hope you never have to move, or that notch will drive you crazy. :D

Lol, I had that same thought earlier. I almost switched offices with my wife, but decided against it. It'll suck to fill in, but doable if I really need to... Kind of.
nap time update:

bye bye sharp edges

hello curves. This edge has my fixed router gouge from yesterday - can you find it? :)

a little free-hand sanding to blend the routed corners and get rid of some burn marks (stupid cord got hung up on something and stopped my movement, burned a bit there)

shaping done. looks frickin' awesome

took it outside for a little finish sanding. Started with 120 grit, finished with 220 grit. Didn't take long, maybe 20 mins tops (it was already all sanded with 80 grit from yesterday).

done and ready for finish. This is my finest work yet. All the curves turned out great, no edge routing mishaps, and it's sooooo smooth. Really proud of this - it's better than the desk top and will be a fine addition. I'm also glad my little half-biscuit didn't show through on the middle joint, was a little worried about that, had to cut it close.

Set up shop in the basement and quick slapped a coat of general finishes flat water-based poly on the bottom side. Hoping to do a 2nd coat on the bottom after the kids go to bed, then knock out 3 coats on the top tomorrow.

Getting so close...
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Got all 3 coats on the top done today.

2nd coat, looked awesome except for a couple drips I had to sand down. If it wasn't for those, I probably would have left it. There's some awesome figure in these boards. The knots made some curls in the wood and it's just gorgeous. I originally stayed away from them because of the imperfections, but they go great on this piece. Kind of hard to show in pictures, but:

This picture really shows the difference between the right and left curves. They're shaped to match the different curves on either side of the desk. It's subtle, but I think it's going to look really good when it's on the desk.

3rd coat applied.

And now we wait. I plan to do the same as the desk top on these and let it sit the full 3 weeks before putting anything on it. I've got a couple projects to keep me busy in the meantime though.
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Doing some brainstorming...


I swear when this office is done I'm building something square again...
Have you seen the magnetic fasteners? Seems like a cool idea. Especially given all the work you've done to make this so pretty.
One website here: http://swissinvis.com/products

Looks neat. Are you suggesting for the shelf legs?

Edit: looking at it more, maybe you mean between the left, center, and right sections of the desk? If that's the case, I actually want them separate because the center section is going to be height adjustable shortly.
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Looks neat. Are you suggesting for the shelf legs?

Edit: looking at it more, maybe you mean between the left, center, and right sections of the desk? If that's the case, I actually want them separate because the center section is going to be height adjustable shortly.
For any part you're fitting together, really. legs on the shelf, certainly. I just thought of 'em because they make a solid but removable hidden connection between pieces.
^so I figure I can screw things into the bottom without worrying about it; nobody will ever see that. If I had a joint on the end grain somewhere or needed to fasten something to the top, I would probably look into those.

Desk as it is now:

Stupid rubber feet on the adjustable "desk" stained my finish on my top.

Cleaned up


Time to go, old legs.

You have served me well. Time to salvage my big fasteners and brackets. Back in the scrap pile.

Hello new legs.


Laying out the feet for the shelf. I couldn't decide between 6 and 8 feet, but ultimately decided on 8 even though structurally it didn't need it. I just didn't want a post right in the middle. This way I can slide stuff straight back out of the way if I'm working on something.

Attaching feet

Attached controls

Top view. Didn't plan this, but the board orientation almost exactly matches that of the desk top. I love accidental wins.

Same notch contour

Cool double-decker effect from the back - too bad you'll never see this.


Looking great.

Kiddo thought it was pretty cool too. In retrospect, I probably should have mounted the controls on the left hand side because the desk is deeper on that side. This guy is going to be able to reach the controls pretty soon if he keeps growing so fast...

Starting to load it up

Remember the monitor stand I posted a sketchup model of a while back? Well, I made it a while back too. I couldn't use it before because the main monitors were fully extended when they were just on the desk top - now that they're on the shelf, they're fully bottomed out and the stand allows the top monitor to sit just above them. I'm kind of ashamed of this piece, pretty shoddy construction, but it was way earlier on in my woodworking stint. It was my very first time making dadoes, and it looks like my very first time using the jigsaw even though it wasn't... bleh. Mostly ashamed to put my crappiest work on top of my very best work to date (shelf)! But, it's functional and mostly hidden, and the extra screen real estate was sorely missed during my regular work day.

Putting this all together makes the shelf look small! It looked huge on it's own!

Raised. It actually hit the picture on the wall the first time going up, had to move the speaker out a little.

That's it for now. Next - wire management. Ugh.
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