Need advise about a floating office desk

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Old 09-01-13, 04:36 PM
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Need advise about a floating office desk

I am planning to build a floating office desk. The desk will be 72" long by 30" wide on a 'semi' L shape wall. I plan on using a 72" 2X4 as a cleat on the long wall, however on the shorter wall I only have about 12" for a cleat because there is a window in the way. I want to have a 1" top but not sure I'll be able to find a 1" thick material (it has to be a very hard, good quality material as I am starting to work from home and that means 9-10 hours a day at my desk typing...)
Because of L shape I am planning on using these two brackets close to each end (the 21" long). I do not want any support in the middle because I'd like to be able to move freely with my chair and with my legs. I also prefer not to have a leg in the non-supporting side.

My question is, do you think the I will have enough support with the cleats and the two brackets, or is it not enough to make the desk sturdy and non wobbly?

Also, any suggestion for best material for this desk?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 09-01-13, 05:02 PM
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I would go with 3/4" cabinet grade plywood with a 3/4" X 2" nosing or apron flush with the top, glued to the edge. If you prefer a smooth hard surface, you might consider a piece of pre made laminated kitchen countertop.
 
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Old 09-02-13, 06:44 AM
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For the edge, I think I'll have to use a router, maybe a bullnose bit or something similar, because the sides of the desk will be curved.

Any idea about the support issue? Will these brackets be enough?
 
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Old 09-02-13, 07:02 AM
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Check into these speed braces. They allow for a 2x2 wall cleat then clean installation of the brace without breaking the cleat. They allow for peripheral wiring to be spanned between them off the floor. SpeedBrace - Hardware - FastCap - Woodworking Tools
 
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Old 09-02-13, 07:20 AM
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These look awesome! My only concern is they talk about installing them every 16" and I only want to use two with about 5' between them. I don't need 1000 lbs load capability (not planning on dancing on the desk ), but I am still concerned about the desk bending or bowing in the middle without an additional brace.
 
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Old 09-02-13, 07:25 AM
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I don't think you need them every 16", but at 4' you would have a stud to install them into. They are plenty strong. We use them on commercial desk installations, and they stay out of your knee's way when you slide under them, provided you allow enough space from the floor for the desktop. We have them holding up a long countertop at church holding a Yamaha 48 channel sound board and Frog board, with no problem. Nope, no dancing on the top, or it will fail
 
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Old 09-02-13, 07:56 AM
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but at 4' you would have a stud to install them into.
Sorry chandler, you lost me here. I actually wanted to use two, 5' apart. Not sure what you meant with the 4'.
 
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Old 09-02-13, 08:12 AM
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Studs are normally on 16" [sometimes 24"] centers. You want to make sure the bracket is screwed securely into a wood stud, not just the wall.
 
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Old 09-02-13, 08:13 AM
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"I would go with 3/4" cabinet grade plywood with a 3/4" X 2" nosing or apron"

"For the edge, I think I'll have to use a router, maybe a bullnose bit or something similar, because the sides of the desk will be curved."

The reason I suggested the edging is to provide some rigidity to to the panel so it doesn't flex when you lean on it. You can still add some kind of support, wood or steel, underneath set back from view.
 
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Old 09-02-13, 08:55 AM
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@marksr - absolutely to the studs, no questions about it.

The reason I suggested the edging is to provide some rigidity to to the panel so it doesn't flex when you lean on it. You can still add some kind of support, wood or steel, underneath set back from view.
Got ya. I'll search for a thin still plate, maybe I'll even use a Stealth SpeedBrace from the same company
 
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Old 09-02-13, 09:07 AM
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I actually wanted to use two, 5' apart. Not sure what you meant with the 4'.
At 5', that might be pushing the spacing and you won't find a stud if they are on 16" centers. 16+16+16=48. Your next stud would be at 64".

I don't think the Stealth Speedbrace will be suitable since it isn't designed as any sort of edge reinforcement. If you look at how its installed, it needs to sit almost half it's length back on the cabinet (or or whatever is supporting the counter) and be securely attached.

You could either use the wood edging or a piece of angle iron set back a few inches from the edge to prevent bowing. I have a 3/4" x 16" x 80" particle board shelf above a window in my garage. The brackets are about 64" apart on each side of the window with a 2x2 cleat above the window. I put a piece of of 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 64" angle on the bottom of the shelf, set back about 2". If I hadn't, I can guarantee it would have bowed between the brackets from the weight of stuff on top.
 
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Old 09-02-13, 09:32 AM
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At 5', that might be pushing the spacing and you won't find a stud if they are on 16" centers. 16+16+16=48. Your next stud would be at 64".
I'll definitely have them right on the stud. By 5' I meant 'roughly' basically to make it clear that I'll have a long unsupported span between them.
BTW - I don't have to make it 16" on center, I can always add a support between the studs to make it 5', right? The problem is that the walls are not open yet so I don't even know where the studs are at this point. It's an old plaster and lath un-insulated room which I am going to gut, insulate and then put blueboard, so once it's open I'll have a better idea of the actual span.

I put a piece of of 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 64" angle on the bottom of the shelf, set back about 2"
Reason I was thinking at the Stealth Brackets is that they are flat. I am concerned that an angled piece of metal underneath the wood will be in my legs' way (remember - it's a desk, not a shelf. I have very limited of room to play with because I'll be using all day, 5 days a week. Moving freely with my chair and not hitting anything with my legs is very important to me.
 
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Old 09-02-13, 10:01 AM
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Ahhh....I don't think the fact that you were going to gut it was mentioned before? That gives you plenty of options.

As to the edging or bracing, a lot will will depend on your specific body type. A person with shorter legs and a long torso will probably need the top higher to have plenty of clearance below the bottom of the desk. Someone with long arms and shorter legs will probably want it much lower. I just asked wifey to sit upright as if she were typing or working on paperwork and she has over six inches between her legs and the desk bottom when her chair is adjusted correctly. I'm much taller and when I set the chair for a comfortable typing/mousing height I only have about 3 inches clearance. This is the common oak computer work desk like you see in furniture and office supply stores with the top 29" from the floor.

You want to make sure you put the top at the correct height for you and your planned work. You sure won't be able to easily adjust it later. Will it be mostly on a computer or more paperwork requiring writing and reading? Are you planning to put the keyboard on top or will you be using a slide out tray? Just like workbenches have different heights for different projects, so should a desk.

I have a little phone desk that I re-purposed and used for my keyboard and mouse in the garage. It's the perfect height for me to use while standing, but my wife is very uncomfortable trying to use it as her hands and arms are at the wrong angle.

I'd do some searches for "ergonomic height for a desk" or "how to set up an ergonomic workstation" or similar, before you make any firm decisions.

Here's just one I found...Ergonomic Office Desk, Chair and Keyboard Height Calculator
 
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Old 09-02-13, 01:41 PM
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@ Gunguy45 - problem with today's "office" desks is that they are set in height for writing and the vast majority of them use sliding shelf for keyboard. Words cannot describe how much I hate keyboard shelves and the desks that you can find in stores today. That's why I am building my own.
I am 'lucky' enough to have a huge older office desk in my current office which was built pre-keyboard shelf era, and the height is just perfect for me, so I base my floating desk on the this one. My arms are in the right position and I have plenty of space between the bottom of the top and my legs.
BTW - I can't stand today's office furniture in general, not just desks. One cannot get a simply drawer cabinet for the office these days without filing draw...everything is filing, filing, filing. I don't need filing, I need simple old-fashioned small shallow draws here you can put stuff

And yes, it will be 99% keyboard/mouse work.
 
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