I wanted to give my grandkids a desk and chairs that were usable and would fit in their room. First I thought of a partner's type desk but then wondered what to do as fights ensued. Also they would need chairs that will stand abuse. I decided to build two identical desks that would back up to each other but easily separated if necessary. I was given ideas by three TDC designs:
Shabby Chic Cottage Dining Chair
Clymer Writing Desk
You can probably see elements of each in the final results.
I would like to comment on the cutting of the legs. I had to resort to using my circular saw and jig saw in combination. Not the smoothest operation but a lot of snading saved the day. I would like to see leg plans that produce the same final result but don't require a band saw to cut. I thought my method was not the safest and certainly not the most accurate.
For each chair:
- Legs $6 (I use fence posts that cost less than $3 for four feet and are perfectly square.)
- 2×4 $3
- 1×4 $5 , 1×3 and 1×2 scrap pile
- Paint, screws, glue and sandpaper maybe $8
- Total per chair $20 to $25
Chairs took two weekends and the desks a week of nights so the total build time was at least two weeks. Total actual time was about 40 hours. That may seem long but just the finishing takes a couple of days.
- MDF : I sealed the edges of the MDF with vinyl spackling to prevent water damage in the future. Applied and sanded smooth after it was dry. Then a good coat of oil-based spray primer.
- The rest I just used two coats of paint with primer. The brown you see is Valspar Ultra, the green is Behr Premium Plus, and the white is Behr Premium Plus.
- Before painting I sanded the entire project with 150 grit and then the exposed areas I took to 220 grit.
- I know that the desk and chairs will take a lot of abuse from the 8 and 10 year olds so I was not concerned with being perfect. I can fix the mars and scars as necessary.