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building a desk for an unusual corner... without any skills or tools!

building a desk for an unusual corner... without any skills or tools!


Old 08-28-04, 11:34 AM
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building a desk for an unusual corner... without any skills or tools!

I'm moving into a new apartment next week, and I just found out that my room is not completely rectangular! One of the "corners" goes from a flat wall to a 135-degree angle, then continues for about 5 feet, and then is angled 135 degrees again (is there a term for this kind of corner so I can explain it better to people?).

Now I've been trying to shop for a big desk/table that would fit perfectly into this corner (and also "wrap around" to extend somewhat onto the two flat walls), but am not having much luck finding anything. Thus, I'm now considering building something to really fit there!

Of course, there are many problems: I have no carpentry skills, no carpentry tools, and no money!

Do I have any hope of going anywhere with this project? It seems like it should be pretty basic: get 3 pieces of wood, cut them to the correct size and angle, somehow attach them all together, and maybe round the edge.

Are there people/stores out there that will do this for me besides "custom cabinetry" companies? I'm a starving college student and obviously don't want to be spending thousands on something that won't fit into any other apartment I ever have. If I just go to a lumber yard or Home Depot to buy wood, to what extent could they help with the cutting/jointing/rounding (I could probably deal with attaching metal legs from Ikea or someplace myself)?

Sorry this posting is so long, but I'd really appreciate anything you guys can tell me.

Also, I'm in the Chicago area, so if there's anyone out there who wants to help me out with more than just information (i.e. physically help me build this dream), let me know!

Old 08-28-04, 01:30 PM
Cellar Dweller
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You anywhere near Streamwood? I know a Cabinetguy that is a Furniture Bldr.
Old 08-29-04, 06:43 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
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It might be worthwhile to call a couple of custom cabinet shops and talk about what you want. It may that a resourceful cabinetmaker could address the target of a desk that fits while considering the costs involved.

For one, you are limited by the lack of tools. For a cheap solution, a slab door could be reworked and made into a desk relatively inexpensively. There are many possibilites.

You might check around with your college buddies, they may know of something to get this project off the ground.
Old 08-30-04, 02:16 PM
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Let's see: No money, no tools and no knowledge. Hmmm, not asking for much here, are you!

Are there any second hand shops, construction sites, swap meets and or junk yards around?

With the precise dimisions you gave, I can only guess at what materials you could use, but here goes:

four (cheap, used, maybe free) two drawer filing cabinets, all of same height.
ten 2 x4's various lengths
one 3/4 x 24 x 5' piece of plywood (can replace with old door)
two 3/4 x 24 x ?' plywood (can replace with old doors)
two 1 x 4 x 18" pine
one friend who has tools or taking woodworking in college, or be prepared to pay lumber yard to make cuts for you. (normally $.50 per cut).

Place two of the two drawer filing cabinet against 5' section of wall. Lay two of the 2 x 4's on top of filing cabinets. One against wall and one flush with front of cabinets. Place 24 x 5' plywood on top of these 2 x 4's. You now have one section of you desk made and it has drawers!

Place one filing cabinet desire distance down side wall. Place proper length of 2 x 4' on cabinet, one in rear and one in front. Support the other end of 2 x 4 with another length of 2 x 4 mounted to wall, running vertically to floor.
Cut 3/4 x 24" plywood to correct length and angle to allow it to lay on top of these 2 x 4's. Where the two pieces of plywood meet, you can screw the 1 x 4 to them on the underside, this will help hold everything together.

Repeat this step for the other side.

This would give you a wrap-around type desk, with eight drawers.

If you can not afford, find or want the filing cabinets. You could replace them with cinder blocks or anything to support the plywood (doors).

You will probally want to locate something smooth to place on the top of the plywood (doors), as they aren't the best thing to try to write on. A discarded piece of plexiglass works well, if you can find one.

The easiest way is to hook up with a girl majoring in interior design, engineering or something like that!!
Old 08-30-04, 04:35 PM
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Find some free pallet wood. Attach a couple strips level around the wall. Then either attach more strips for the top or find some cheap plywood pieces at the local Home Depot. They always have cheap cut offs. Or see if any new homes in the area have any scrap pieces to build with. If you have a cardboard template they might even cut it for you.

Good luck!
Old 08-30-04, 08:40 PM
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Yeah, contact Furniture Bldr, he shouldn't be too expensive

Seriously, Matt, without tools, know-how, or much money, your options are limited. If you had some money, I'd suggest looking in the classifieds for handy-men. Generally cheaper than a carpenter, and they could certainly help you come up with a college quality solution. (by college quality, I mean this isn't furniture that will get passed on for generations - hell, you'll probably be happy if it lasts more than a semester.

Another solution, which may be more realistic for you, is to get a couple sheets of MDF. This is Medium Density Fiberboard and you can get it a lumber yard or Home Depot. The reason I suggest this is because it is relatively cheaper than wood and probably a bit easier for you to work with.

Now you have some options for cutting - Get a hand saw; like I said, you're not keeping this furniture forever, so cuts that aren't perfectly straight may not bother you. You could also get a pretty inexpensice circular saw, which will make your life a little easier.

Instructions - Determine the layout of your desk, get dimensions, and cut the MDF to suit these dimensions. If you want, lay out the cut pieces in place on the ground as you go, this will help make sense of the cuts as you go. Next get some flat brackets from Home Depot, I don't know the technical name for them. Essentiall, it looks like a 1x3 flat piece of metal, with holes in it to accept screws. Place these at the joints of the pieces of MDF, and attach on the undersides of the MDF, using screws. At this point, you'd have a desk top.

For legs, you could go with the fun option, get a couple kegs and place them at each corner of your desk. Now you've got a desk and beverages available. Or you could use cinder blocks, tires, passed out buddies, etc. Good luck and let us know if you have any questions.

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