Multiple Ideas Solve a Problem Desk

12.30.12 By //
Project Image

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

 Flanders Desk

 You can probably see elements of each in the final results.

 I added the dams or rails around the backs and sides to reduce the spillover from one desk to another.  I also embedded foreign coins (as chosen by the kids) in each of the rails.  Just for conversation.

The shelf is adjustable thanks to the Kreg shelf pin jig. 




Estimated Cost 

For each Desk 

  • 2×4  $9 
  • 2x4x3/4 MDF  $12 
  • Plywood for shelving 2x2x3/4   $9 
  • Other lumber about $5 or free from scrap pile 
  • Paint (found in the garage), screws, sandpaper, and glue $10 
  • Total per Desk <$50


Lumber Used 

  MDF for the desk tops and off-the-shelf pine for the remainder.

Finishing Technique 


  • 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.

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