Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!)

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Drawer Face Staining

Postby ultimatedesk » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:12 pm

With the drawers themselves all stained up, it was time to stain the drawer fronts!

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Since most of the back of the drawer fronts won't be visible, I decided that I could probably stain and poly both sides at once...

Pre stain!

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They look so nice like this... ahh, next project...

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Some staining time

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And some sweet, sweet gloss poly.

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Woops! One of the drawer faces slipped off the painting cones and picked up a whole whack of saw dust and wood chips... at least this will never be seen on the final project!

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby Major_A » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:36 pm

Doesn't that suck? Spending all that time to apply the stain, then the finish just to have it slip and collect some saw dust. Can't wait to see the final product. This seems like one large desk.

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby camaroguy1998 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:38 pm

Major_A wrote:Doesn't that suck? Spending all that time to apply the stain, then the finish just to have it slip and collect some saw dust. Can't wait to see the final product. This seems like one large desk.


+1(Nice work)
Do you have an estimated time of completion?
Definitely looking forward to the finished desk!
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Trimming the Cabinets

Postby ultimatedesk » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:45 pm

Major_A wrote:Doesn't that suck? Spending all that time to apply the stain, then the finish just to have it slip and collect some saw dust. Can't wait to see the final product. This seems like one large desk.
Yup, should have done it the old fashioned way in the first place. The paint cones worked great for the stain, I was able to get both sides done in one shot, but with the poly, the board was sliding all over the place on the cones. Ended up picking out all the bits, sanding, and re-applying another coat of poly, basically, would have taken just as much time as the "old-fashioned" way!

camaroguy1998 wrote:
Major_A wrote:Doesn't that suck? Spending all that time to apply the stain, then the finish just to have it slip and collect some saw dust. Can't wait to see the final product. This seems like one large desk.


+1(Nice work)
Do you have an estimated time of completion?
Definitely looking forward to the finished desk!
Thanks camaroguy1998 - estimated time of completion? I hope to be sitting at the desk, assembled, within a couple weeks. How long it will take to acquire hardware components, setup the wiring, ventilation, cable management stuff, is anyone's guess. Hopefully not too much longer!!

With the drawers and drawer faces all finished and ready for installation, it was time to turn to finishing up the two cabinets.

First up, finishing the piece that goes on the front of the left-hand cabinet.

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And, well, not a lot of writing today, as the rest of it should look pretty straightforward. I had to cut up a bunch of trim pieces, and somehow arrange the clamps to hold them in the right place. A few of the arrangements required some creative thinking, but in the end, I got the whole cabinet trimmed up over the course of a few days.

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Mmmm glue.

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Enjoy! We're getting close to the final assembly, yay!

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Sanding the Cabinets

Postby ultimatedesk » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:07 pm

With the trim all glued up and dry, and the weather nice and warm, I decided to take the cabinets outside to have the trim sanded flush. I start with 80 grit to get all the bits nice and close, and then move to 120 grit with the random orbit sander in preparation for staining.

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Everything looking pretty good on the right-hand cabinet

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And now for the left-hand cabinet

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I'm under the impression that I mistakenly sanded this edge too much prior to installation, because I thought that I was going to have to squeeze this end into the dado cut at the back of the drawer. Woops! Hopefully that won't show up too much after staining.

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And, a bit of glue squeeze-out that I missed previously is easily taken care of by the sander

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I'll be staining over the weekend, so some fresh and shiny cabinets await for next weeks early update!

Have a good weekend folks!

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Staining the Cabinets

Postby ultimatedesk » Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:31 am

Well, got some time to start the staining of the cabinets this weekend, and overall, everything went pretty well. Started off with a bit of detailed sanding by hand, and then a good dusting with a tack cloth / cloth with paint thinner.

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And then went to work applying the stain with a clean cotton rag

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They both turned out pretty well - these pictures were taken after only the first coat (A second one will go on). I find that this stain really shines once a coat of poly is put over it.

Let me tell you - getting the inside of the cabinets was quite time consuming and I really did a number on staining my arms...

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Eww! It looks like a heart! ;)

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby smack323 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:20 am

you think I could fly you to WI to build me a bar for my rec room? lol...
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Rubbing out the Desk Surface

Postby ultimatedesk » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:28 pm

smack323 wrote:you think I could fly you to WI to build me a bar for my rec room? lol...
Hehe, all expenses paid? Sure, let me know when! ;) ;)

I kind of forgot to take some pictures of the cabinets after I applied a pair of coats of polyurethane, but here's the status of the project so far

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Both cabinets have been poly'd, and there are only 3 more pieces to stain + poly (The two caps for the end spaces on the top shelf, and the door for the right-hand cabinet). Otherwise, I am pretty much ready to assemble.

Before assembly, however, I wanted to try a technique I had been reading about - rubbing out a finish.

You start with some baby oil and a product called rottenstone (It's a very finely ground stone)

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Apply some baby oil liberally (This slows down the cutting process. If you use water, it will speed up the cutting process)

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Sprinkle on your rottenstone (Once again, fairly liberally. I didn't find the cutting action very aggressive at all, especially with all the baby oil)

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Take a block of wood with a soft material wrapped around it, in this case, I used a piece of cut up fleece from an old blanket, but I think a felt block is the most recommended for this.

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Go with the grain in long strokes, and rub the slurry into the wood. Its very fine cutting action should almost eliminate all dust marks, brush marks, and any small scratches.

This took quite a long time, and it was very, very messy. Baby oil rottenstone slurry everywhere. I then went through a ton of rags soaked in paint thinner cleaning it all off the desk surface in preparation for some good 'ol waxing.

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Applied with a lint free rag, I swirled it onto the table a little bit too liberally

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I then let it dry for a few moments and "attempted" to buff it all off by hand with a clean rag. Much to my dismay, after spending 10 minutes trying to buff only but a small corner, I realized that I would never get the shine I was looking for...

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So I made a trip to my storage unit (My mom's garage) where I remembered I had an old electric car buffer in a bin...

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Booya. It was late when I got back home, so I left it and went to sleep. Have a good weekend everyone - Canada Day tomorrow here in Canada, so I'm going to enjoy the long weekend. I'm moving this weekend too, so hopefully the desk survives the trip!!

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby vbironchef » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:50 pm

I have been following your project since the beginning. What I see so far, it looks like downtown(that's a good thing). Can't wait to see the finished product.

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Before Transportation

Postby ultimatedesk » Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:35 pm

vbironchef wrote:I have been following your project since the beginning. What I see so far, it looks like downtown(that's a good thing). Can't wait to see the finished product.
Like downtown eh? That DOES sound good- thanks very much ;)

So, I finally moved this weekend, and I'm glad to say everything went pretty well. A few small parts of the desk got scuffed up, but nothing major. Here are some shots from just before being transported.

The car buffer partially worked. I ended up actually taking some more paint thinner and totally removing the wax. For some reason it didn't stick well - I think it's because I didn't remove the baby oil enough before adding the wax. Either way, it's shiny as glass and looks great.

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Then I took some 3/4" weather stripping and put it on both cabinets to prevent the desk surface from slipping and sliding:

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And, here's a sneak peak. Right before the move was pretty much the moment of triumph - assembling the 4 stained and poly'd pieces, and actually sitting at it. The monitors come in at perfect eye height, and the desk height is perfect as well, providing lots of forearm and elbow support.

Ahhhhhhhhh.... 8 months.

Now for the details ;)

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby skier » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:28 pm

looks phenomenal :prayer:
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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby ultimatedesk » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:03 pm

skier wrote:looks phenomenal :prayer:
Thanks skier! Getting there eh!

So - I finally had some time this weekend to do a bit of work on The Ultimate Computer Desk.

Here's a little shot of the desk as it sits now. Note that the drawers aren't installed, there's clutter everywhere, the two cabinets are not lined up in any particular fashion, and of course, no hardware has yet been installed.

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If you didn't notice, I finally said to myself "Ok Mr. You've been working on this desk for 8 months - time for a present". I ~finally~ ditched my old CRT monitor (Which was nice, at 1600x1200 resolution) and purchased myself a brand new 27" Asus. Sweet!

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That was my first new computer component in ages!


I moved on to the next part of the project, which was installing the drawers, so I got to work. Sorry about the pictures, I think I accidentally turned the auto focus off!

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Imagine my surprise when I went to go and slide the drawer in. The drawer was too wide! I accomodated for 0.25" on each side of the drawer, for the width of the drawer slides. Unfortunately, these particular drawer slides were 3/16's of an inch wider than I accounted for... Here's a wonderfully in focus shot:

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So my options were:
1. Redo the drawers completely, making them a total of 6/16's (3/8's) skinnier, or
2. Shave off 3/16's" from each side, about 1.5" tall, along the length of both sides, of each of the drawers.

What a bummer! I thought oh well, it'll actually look pretty tidy with the sides shaved anyways, and also give additional support, so here goes!

Time to tape up my poor drawers. They're about to get scratched up pretty bad!

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Setting up the tablesaw for some "guidelines" - 3/16's of an inch deep, set the fence at 2" and then 3.5" if I remember correctly.

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And there you go, some proper guidelines for the material that will need to be removed.

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This was a pretty big surprise, but not too major, and nothing that cannot be done well.

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby Major_A » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:58 pm

I love it. Any idea how much this set you back in parts? Looks like an executive desk that would set you back at least a grand at the store.

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Fixing the Drawers

Postby ultimatedesk » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:03 pm

Major_A wrote:I love it. Any idea how much this set you back in parts? Looks like an executive desk that would set you back at least a grand at the store.
Thanks Major_A, not even close to that much! I think I'm looking at between 500-600 for materials, paint, sandpaper etc. I spent quite a bit more on that for some extra tools, blades, bits, clamps, etc... however.

So, after I used the table saw to make my reference cuts, I grabbed the router with a 1/2" flush cut bit, set it at the appropriate depth and went to town. Making the reference cuts made the rest of this usually tedious job easy.

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When I went to do the reference cuts on the shorter drawers, I realized... there were a bunch of screws in the way. Ooops! Good thing I noticed so quickly!

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I had to go and remove all woodfiller and the screws that were in the way of the 3/16's inch material removal. This meant all the screws along the bottom, and 1 or 2 at the front and back of the drawer. What a pain!

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After getting all of the extra material removed, I drilled some new counter-sink holes (Since the old ones were taken off with the router), re-inserted the screws, and gave all the dressers a light sanding, since I would have to redo the polyurethane coat anyways (They got pretty scratched up). In this pic, I had already re-stained the portion where I removed the extra material.

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So. Next - polyurethaning the drawers... AGAIN!

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby smack323 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:39 pm

sorry to hear about all the re-work. so close then you have to go back and do it again. I hate when that happens.
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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby lordvic » Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:39 pm

Little set back, but it's well worth taking the time to correct it.
Anyways, your desk is lookin' fine :lol: along with that fantastic shine.

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Installing the drawers

Postby ultimatedesk » Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:47 pm

smack323 wrote:sorry to hear about all the re-work. so close then you have to go back and do it again. I hate when that happens.
Yup - it's all good though, hopefully there won't be any ~actual~ major setbacks from here to the end!
lordvic wrote:Little set back, but it's well worth taking the time to correct it.
Anyways, your desk is lookin' fine :lol: along with that fantastic shine.

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Thanks rhymin man ;) Turned out great, by the way! CHeck it out!


While getting ready to re-polyurethane the drawers, I also took the time to stain and poly the right-hand cabinet door, as well as the two pieces that will be above each of the cubby holes on the top of the desk

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Re-polyurethaning the drawers went really well - they look fantastic

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Things have been pretty busy in the shop - have been re-glassing a war-horse of a canoe at the same time!

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Here are the first couple drawers installed. They fit perfectly - the slides fit right into the grooves that I cut out. This photo turned out a little redder than reality

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Getting the actual slides lined up and screwed in straight took a bit of patience, but well worth the effort

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Ahh, nice and messy, but finally got the drawers in.

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Some of the things I'll need to be working on shortly:

- Front Panel (Fan controls, LED's, Power/Reset switches, USB, Audio Jacks)
- Fan Installation (Foam surrounds, filter fitting)
- Hardware selection

After the hardware is selected and installed, I will be able to focus on cable routing and placement of the drives.

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby DJ Tucker » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:39 am

looks fantastic. very good job. used to have a big tall 10ft by 6ft 5 stack shelf unit that i made with my pc and paino/ketboard in mind but got rid of it after i moved house but now i moved to an even bigger house and seen this i want mine shelfing/pc rack back :)
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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby Major_A » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:57 pm

Keep us updated as the build continues to take shape. I want one!

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Up and Coming Preview

Postby ultimatedesk » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:00 pm

DJ Tucker wrote:looks fantastic. very good job. used to have a big tall 10ft by 6ft 5 stack shelf unit that i made with my pc and paino/ketboard in mind but got rid of it after i moved house but now i moved to an even bigger house and seen this i want mine shelfing/pc rack back :)
Heh, I'm sure there'll come a time when I regret having such a beast of a desk, but while I have it, I'll enjoy it!
Major_A wrote:Keep us updated as the build continues to take shape. I want one!
Will do! Some good updates in the pipeline - the fun stuff starts soon!

Sorry for the delay in updates everyone - I've been enjoying the beautiful summer weather we've been getting lately and haven't been putting a tremendous effort into getting the desk finished.

Surprise though - I did manage to get quite a bit done, and I've had some good fortune lately as well. I expect to post several updates this week, so just to get you back into the spirit of things, here's this weeks preview!

4x Scythe Ultra Kaze 120mm x 38mm 3000RPM
4x Scythe Slipstream 120mm x 25mm 1900RPM
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Lots of foam cutting and trimming, and a sweet, sweet ruler from the Moddders Inc Featured Rig of the Month Contest(Thanks! I'm honored!)
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Hmm, what's this?
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Holy moly cool prize pack Modders Inc! I still can't believe I won this - perfect stuff for The Ultimate Computer Desk!
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Finally removed the protective cover from these babies - they look soo nice!
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Hmm? Another surprise?...
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Oh good lord! What kind of super monster is that!!?
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Bwahahaha
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Ok, so maybe a lot's happened in the past couple weeks. I haven't been posting any updates because I've been tinkering around with hardware AND enjoying some good outdoor times. I'm thinking that the next round of updates in the following month or so will be ultra exciting - things are starting to wrap up!

Seeya soon!


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