Hey guys, this is Susan. We made an X desk over the weekend.
It has a very easy-to-do design and can be a good beginner project.
We've used dowel joinery for the desktop panel and screws for everything else.
But you can use pocket holes or just plain glue if you don't want to use dowel pins.
It doesn't have a bottom horizontal bracing piece, but it's perfectly stable when we checked after we built it.
Also, I urge you to read until the end to see the final pictures of the desk.
Other DIY Desk Project (complete with free plans) we did, for you to check out:
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Things you need for this build
- 3 Nos-1 x 6 Lumber -1 in. x 6 in. x 8 ft. Premium Kiln-Dried Square Edge Whitewood Common Board
- 1 No- 1 x 12 Lumber -1 in. x 12 in. x 4 ft. Kiln Dried Square Edge Whitewood Common Board
- 1 No- 1 x 8 Lumber - 1 in. x 8 in. x 8 ft. Premium Kiln-Dried Square Edge Whitewood Common Board
- Wood Glue
- Barn Red Stain
- Rustoleum Chalked paint
Plan for the X Desk
This project uses only standard-sized lumber. This helps avoid any ripping with a table saw.
Note for the plans:
- Pieces with the same color have the exact same dimensions. Detailed dimensions for each individual piece is provided in the steps below.
- Please note the difference in dimension between nominal size and actual size. For e.g., 2 x 4 is the nominal size while 1-½" x 3-½" is the actual size, by convention.
How to Build the X Desk
Making the Cuts and Sizing the Pieces
We used 1 x 6 lumber for the legs. There are two X leg pieces on each side, with lengths 43-⅜" and 32-5/16".
For both the X legs, both ends should be mitered at an angle of 30 degrees.
So we did it using a circular saw from the 1 x 6 lumber to get 2 pieces of each size for both sides of the desk.
Next, we made the pieces for the desktop. We needed 2 pieces of 1x12 lumber with 40" length and one piece from the 1x6 with 40" length for the desktop.
Then we made the piece for the top horizontal piece/crown from 1 x 8 lumber with a 41-½" length.
Lastly, we made the bottom support piece that goes under the desk from another 1 x 8 board with 40" length.
At this point, all the pieces in the cut list were made and sized. Now we moved on to joinery and assembly.
Sanding all the pieces
It's much easier to sand the pieces before joining them.
So we sanded all the pieces meant for staining up to 220 grit and 120 grit for the legs, as they were to be painted.
Making the desk top panel
We joined the top panel of the desk using dowel joinery.
For this, we made four equally spaced dowel holes of ¼" dia and ½" inch depth in the boards.
Notice that the dowel pin will be of the size, ¼" x 1", so you need to drill to ½" depth on each board.
We need dowel holes on the inside faces of the 1 x 12 and the 1 x 6 and on both faces of the 1 x 12 in the center.
We first drilled the dowel holes on both sides of the centerpiece.
Then we inserted dowel drill centers in the drill holes and pressed the other two boards together to get the position for drilling the dowel holes in the other two boards.
Using a drill center helps align the dowel perfectly.
Then we drilled four dowel holes on ½" depth in the other two boards as well at the locations marked in the previous step.
After this, we poured wood glue into the dowel holes and inserted dowel pins and joined the boards to make the top of the desk.
We clamped it tight with pipe clamps after this step.
Making the X Legs of the Desk
The next step was the tricky part of the project. Getting the X leg part right.
The easy way to do this is to mark the lengths at which these pieces overlap as per the plan.
This measurement is shown in the plan image.
When you place the two-leg components in the X shape, the measurements should match with the plan image above.
Verify whether the outer distance of 22-½" is also met.
If it does, the X part is perfectly made and everything aligns perfectly. At this point, you’re good to screw them together.
We used 1-¼" inch screws to join the two-leg pieces to make the X.
Before screwing, we added glue at the overlapping portion of the legs. We used a total of four screws for joining the leg pieces.
This was repeated for the other X leg too.
Joining the X Legs to the Desk Top
Next part was fixing the desk top board to the legs.
The board has to sit on top of the shorter leg, but just inside the longer leg piece.
So we marked a perfectly horizontal line from the top of the shorter leg to long leg to make the desktop horizontally level.
The desktop panel has a thickness of ¾". We needed to screw from the outside of the longer leg, into the desktop panel.
We used a ¾" spacer block (that we made for this) to mark a line just above the horizontal line to align the desktop perfectly and also to mark the location to drill.
At this point, our desktop panel was ready after glue-up.
Then we drilled pilot holes in the longer leg.
Next, we positioned the desktop board to match the line we drew in the longer leg and placed the board on top of the shorter leg.
We drilled two 1-¼" screws from above the desktop into the shorter leg piece.
After this, we used 1-¼" inch screw to join the longer leg to the top board as well.
We repeated the same steps for the other leg as well. So with this, our frame was almost ready.
Joining the bottom reinforcing piece and the crown piece to the frame
Next we had to screw the reinforcing piece underneath.
So we marked the location of the screws on the desktop as per plan and drilled pilot holes.
Then applied glue on the edge of the reinforcing piece and placed it below the desktop for screwing.
Then used 1-¼" screws from the top of the desktop down into the reinforcing piece.
We also screwed it in place through the long legs as well for additional reinforcement.
Next, we fixed the top crown piece of the desk to the longer leg pieces on both sides using 1-¼" screws.
With this, our desk was ready to be finished.
Finishing the X Desk
We painted the X legs of the desk white with Chalk Paint from Rustoleum. We applied a barn red stain for everything else on the desk.
We applied a pre-stain made from black tea before the staining.
This was our first time using this. We applied 4 coats in total, doing some fine sanding between each coat.
After this, we applied barn red stain on the non-painted parts using a rag.
Lastly, we applied two coats of white paint on the legs using a paint roller.
I think the pre-stain helped us get more uniform staining, although I can't say I'm fully sold on the black tea pre-stain idea, given how much time it took to do multiple coats.
So this was the DIY X Desk, and I hope you liked this project. Check out the final photos of the desk below.
If you found this useful and would like to try it, consider pinning the photos below to your DIY/Woodworking Pinterest Board.
Other DIY Projects (complete with free plans) for you to check out: