"What's new is old and what's old is new". I haven't heard that saying in a long time but I had forgotten how true it is. Standing desks have been around for decades that I know of and probably for centuries in one form or another, but all of a sudden, they are "new" and "trending".
The main reason of course that standing desks are becoming so popular is not because of where they are used but because of why they are used ... to get people standing in stead of sitting, which of course burns off more calories and helps to reduce our overweight society. Not a bad idea really.
Standing desks have, and are being used in many commercial and industrial situations. Shippers and warehouse people couldn't function with out them, they are always on the move but still need a place to fill out paperwork before they are on the move again. Architects and people in the art world, especially those working on larger pallets need these kinds of desks because they are moving around them in many cases, and the list goes on.
The neat thing about standing desks is that if you find your need to sit at them for s longer time, you just need to pull up a stool and now you have a place to sit, and the good things with stools, they still make the body work because they don't have back support so they still help us burn more calories while exercising our muscles.
Standing desks can be custom made to any size your want. There really is no specific size for them and the best guideline is to figure out how far the tip of your nose is from the paper you are working on at a standard sitting desk. In my case that was 16 inches. When I worked this number backwards I discovered that the best height for me was a desk with legs that were 40 inches tall, then a small slopping structure on top of that and presto, a perfect size.
I also wanted to make my desk more than just a standing desk. I often need a small work place that is out of the workshop and more-less dust free. I use this area for repairing parts, sharpening some tools, assembling smaller projects and sometimes for layouts of specific things. This means that for me, a desk with a flat top would be very helpful ... so why not build a sitting desk with an interchangeable top.
I started off with the legs and all I did for these was to find some straight grain boards that were about 4" wide and cut them down the middle and glue them together book-match style. This is the the best way of getting grains and colors of wood to match, and it's a great way to make legs because gluing the wood together like that makes the legs stable and strong.
I could have used pocket holes but didn't want to have to bother with filling all the exposed screw holes after, and I felt that a bit more strength was needed so I opted for using dowels with my Dowelmax jig. You could use mortise and tenon if you feel the need to use traditional woodworking techniques.
Before the final assembly I also tapered the bottom 8" of the legs slightly. All this does is add a bit style to the piece and make it a bit more attractive than just straight legs to the floor. The assembly with dowels is easy and very strong with nothing more than ordinary yellow glue.
The top was also uncomplicated. The side gables were sloping from 2" to 4" which gave gentle slop that was easy to read and write on. I cut the angles on my taper jig but you could make these individually and cut them on a bandsaw, then use a hand plane to or sand paper to clean up the saw marks. Again for the assembly I decided to stick with the dowelmax jig, it's quick, easy and strong ... and pretty hard to beat, but again, dovetail or even box joint corners would be an added visual affect.
Because I had 2 different tops, I needed to work on some sort of a cleat system that would allow me to easily change tops, the details of this are in the video and it's an option that a few my find handy.
In terms of finish, I used shellac on all surfaces except the the desk tops, which I selected water based Varathane because it drys very hard which will be good as a writing and drawing surface.
This was a fun project to make and I know it will lets of use in the future ... a perfect addition to any office, home or workshop.
Copyright Colin Knecht