Jesse Decker

I took the theme of “Surfaces” to mean that there were very few restrictions for this competition. I chose to make functional surfaces.

With this desk I didn’t really focus on how it would look as much as how it would function. I wanted to use as few parts as possible and make it very lightweight without sacrificing any strength. Flat shipping was also in mind (it’s a lot easier to sell across the country if it can easily be shipped). Though I had production in mind, I’m addicted to woodworking and I used a number of hand tools and techniques that aren’t viable in a production setting (drawboring, dimensioning stock with hand planes) but are very enjoyable.

The stretchers connect to the leg units with bed hardware and the top is magnetized on. A magnet is recessed into the top with depth left for the conjoining washer which is attached to the base. This means that only upward pressure on the top can free it. The holes are slightly over sized to allow for expansion and contraction of the top.

I took a lot of the photos documenting the process late at night (when i did most of the work) so their quality is quite poor but hopefully you’ll get the idea.

A few things to note – The back of the top over hangs the legs by 1″ to clear any base trim and rest against the wall. Along the back of the top there is a recess to allow for chords even while the outer ends of the top are placed against a wall.

The Desk breaks down to a very low profile for shipping, storage, or moving. Rubber feet help stabilize the desk in uneven or carpeted areas.

I decided to use all types of grain because I think it’s all beautiful – quarter grain, flat grain, end grain, sapwood, heart wood, it’s all in this project. The stretchers in particular display a variety of grain. I made them all out of the same piece of lumber, yet they display quarter and flat grain, and also sap and heartwood.

Every surface on this project serves a functional purpose. The stretchers connect the leg units together to form the base. The magnets and washers connect the top to the base. The top further stabilizes the legs from moving and creates the working surface. The rubber feet stabilize the desk.

42″ wide, 29″ tall, 21″ deep. The hypotenuse of a 32″ x 32″ square is over 45″ so when the desk is broken down it easily fits within the size restraints. The desk weighs about 40 pounds.

*Primary – Construction grade Douglas Fir, about $20 worth. Douglas Fir is desirable in the construction industry as it is widely available, cheap, and strong. Due to its softness relative to harder species it is not generally used for furniture making.
*Secondary – Scrap MDF from the cabinet shop I work at (dollar value – 0). I used MDF to make a couple of different jigs throughout the build process.
*Epoxy – Knots and voids are common in construction grade material, I addressed these areas with a little epoxy, $5.
*Laquer – Two coats of lacquer, $5.

*Rubber Feet – $4.
*Bed Hardware – $15.
*Magnets – $15.

Total Cost:
I’ll say $90 to account for glue, screws, dowels, and sand paper. I didn’t buy any new tools to complete this project.

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