Saturday, February 1, 2014

New Home, New Desk (Another DIY Standing IKEA Desk)

My wife and I just moved to Seattle. There was a long road trip involved, complete with a stop at Disneyland with the family for the holidays.

We arrived in Seattle on Dec. 31st and found a place to live on New Years Day. Maybe it's because we're from NYC that we were so overwhelmed by the fact that we could rent a whole house (for less than our NYC apt) that we took the first nice thing we saw but we were very excited to find a lovely craftsman to move into.

So. Much. Space.

Now, I needed a new desk. I've been hearing so much about the benefits of standing desks that I thought I could probably make my own. I didn't want to pay over $1400 for one and I wanted to make sure it was built to my exact ergonomic and spacial needs.

For the record I'm 5'11 and I needed a desk that was 43" tall to the keyboard surface. Check out this ergonomics diagram:

I found a few DIY standing desks online but I didn't love them. Too big. Too small. None just right.

Then I saw this in the comments of a article:
(See the comment by Benjamin W. Neidenthal)

So this is what I went with for inspiration. Thanks Benjamin (wherever you are)!

I made a few modifications and with the exception of a few bolts I only used the stuff I got from IKEA.

Here we go...

The IKEA Parts:

Lack TV Stand - $49.99 (link)
Expedit Bookshelf - $69.99 (link)
Expedit Desk Extension thing - $50.00 (link)
Lack Shelf - $14.99 (link)

Other Parts:
2 4.5" X 3/8" bolts (with nuts)

Power drill with drill bits
Wood glue

Step 1:

Build the TV Stand without the legs (save those for later)

Step 2:

Build the shelving unit.

Step 3:

Place the TV stand on top of the shelving unit (which should be on its side).

I centered the TV stand to the shelving unit leaving an over hang in front and in back. I did this for 2 reasons: one is that I thought it looked more stable and two this gave me a nice bit of TV stand to secure the Desk Extension to later.

Step 4:

Bolt the TV stand to the bookshelf. There might be a better way of doing this but I wanted to do this as cheaply as possible.

Drill the holes** (carefully) and place the bolts. The 4.5" bolts will give you plenty of leeway here since the thickness of the stacked units is about 4". I placed the bolts in the center of the bottom of the TV stand with one to the right and one to the left.

**note: If you already put the top of the TV stand on, it's easy to pop it off to drill the holes and place the bolts. It will pop right back on.

At this point the surface of the desk will be about 41" high. I needed 43" give or take so this was perfect for me.

Step 5:

Take the Lack Shelf and attach the legs of the TV stand to it to give you a nice monitor shelf. This raised my monitor just enough to meet the height requirements illustrated above.

I attached the legs by creating holes similar to the holes needed for the little wooden pegs, inserting the pegs and then I used wood glue to attach it all together. I did not attach this piece to the desk as I felt like I might want to move it around when needed.

The desk so far:

Step 6:

Now the trickiest part of the whole build.

I wanted to have a place to sit if needed and I have a lot of desk clutter that I need surface area for so I thought I could just throw on the Expedit Desk and be done.... not so easy.

When the Expedit shelving unit is on it's side the Desk won't line up the way it's meant to so I had to do some tweaking and by tweaking I mean drilling holes and bolting the thing to the bottom of the TV stand unit. I used the left over bolts from the TV stand legs and it worked beautifully but you'll have to use something to raise the desk up as it's not tall enough to match the height (even with the height adjustment screws attached).

Here's the final desk built for less than $200:

If anyone has any tips or tricks to improve this I'd love to hear them.

Oh and by the way.... we're loving it here in Seattle!


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