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Build a desk

  • Difficulty: hammer hammer
    Close Difficulty
    Beginner Do-It-Yourselfer - Easy
    Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
    Experienced Do-It-Yourselfer - Difficult
    Professional - Expert
  • Completion Time : Week-end Project

Well-designed, functional and attractive, this desk is relatively easy to build. It includes drawers and a cabinet, and will be a practical addition to your home office.

You can follow the plan and build your desk using MDF and paint it to suit your decor, or you can opt for natural wood. For the warmth of wood, substitute quality plywood for MDF and choose a veneer of pine, cherry, or exotic wood essence which you can then finish or stain.


Tools and materials required


  • Table saw or circular saw with cutting guide
  • Electric or cordless drill
  • Depth stop, 1/8"
  • Depth stop for 3/8" drill bit.
  • Finish nailer (optional)
  • Tape Measure
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • Sander


  • 2 MDF sheets, 5/8” x 48" x 96"
  • 1 MDF sheet, 5/8” x 48" x 48"
  • 1 MDF sheet, ¾" x 48” x 48”
  • 4 jointed-pine chair rail mouldings, 5/16" x 7/8" x 96"
  • 3 quarter rounds, 7/16" x 7/16" x 96"
  • No.6 flat head wood screws
  • 5/8" flat head wood screws
  • 2 squared strips of wood, 1" x 1" x 96"
  • 20 metal brackets, 3/4"
  • Wood glue
  • Fine grain sandpaper sponge block
  • 150-grain sandpaper
  • 2 spring door hinges (100° opening)
  • 6 full extension slides, 18"
  • 1 package of 5 mm shelf brackets
  • 3 handles

Before Assembly


Desk elevation




MDF is a versatile material that makes it easy to build strong, sturdy and affordable furniture. It is advisable to always glue the parts together with wood glue before fastening them with nails or screws. If the nails or screws do not provide enough strength, use clamps to hold the assembly together while the glue dries.

Screw fastening:
Always drill pilot holes using a countersink bit, with the pieces in their final assembled position. This will prevent the MDF from buckling or splitting under the torque of the screws. In one motion, the countersink bit bores a hole for the body of the screw as well as a cavity to conceal the screw head. You can use a driver-drill to do this, but it is advisable to finish tightening the screws with a manual screwdriver to prevent the driver-drill’s speed and force from damaging the MDF and weakening the screw’s grip.

Nail fastening:
For some projects it is best to use finishing nails. In such cases, using a pneumatic nailer will get the job done more quickly and easily, and the nails will hardly show.

Important note:
Always wear a protective mask when cutting or sanding MDF as the dust can be irritating and is a potential heath hazard. Work outside if you can; if this is not possible, close any air vents and doors leading to other rooms so as to prevent the dust from spreading. Open a window while you work and cover all items in the room with dust sheets. Vacuum once you have finished cutting.


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Design Desk equipped with useful drawers and a cabinet
Build a desk