I work for an excellent employer that allowed me to build my own desk instead of ordering a pre-fab one from one of the big box retailers. I'm really proud of what I was able to put together as this was my first real foray into furniture-building. There were a couple issues with the assembly order that I found while building from the plan on TDC, but thankfully I was looking far enough ahead to anticipate them and adjust the plans. I finished the desk about 6 weeks ago, but I'll work hard to remember what I encountered.
For the desk, I got 3/4″ maple 7-ply plywood and true cabinetmaker's maple 1×2″s (more on this later). To save on costs, I bought cheaper plywood (13-ply chinese birch) from the same place for the interior pieces (mostly the drawer boxes). I used optimalon's cut optimizer (http://www.optimalon.com/index.htm) to make sure I used wood efficiently. Since I wasn't using traditional dimensional lumber, I bought 200 BF of 1×2″ and trimmed it all down to the actual dimensions (3/4″x11 1/12'), then glued the 1×2's together after they have been trimmed on the table saw to get the number of 2×2's I needed.
To save weight and materials, I nixed the full plywood divider, and replaced it with a full frame of 1×2 around the underside of the top assembly. That way, it was easier to install drawer slides later, as well as make adjustments to other portions.
I also put a back on the desk since it wasn't going up against a wall. If you're going to do that, you need to purchase a 3rd sheet of plywood as there won't be enough material with just the two in the list.
This was also my first project with the Kreg Jig, and I loved working with it! I have definitely learned that I need to be more consistent about clamping with screwing together pieces, there are a number of pieces on the desk that don't sit as flush as I would like because I screwed them together without any clamping. Learn from my mistakes!
Speaking of mistakes, you'll notice the top has a sort of cross pattern with 1×2 and plywood panels. That was done because I made a bad cut on the piece meant for the top of the desk. It was a 1/2″ too narrow at one end, so I put the 1×2's in as a frame and filled it in with pieces I measured twice and cut once! I wish I had done it right from the beginning, but the end result looks on purpose and I'm happy with it!
I don't know what else to write about the project, but I'd love to answer any questions you may have about the build and the plans from my experience with them!
I spent about $500 on wood, screws, and the Kreg Jig for this project. The 7-ply exterior pieces of plywood were most expensive at $77 each, but they were worth it for the quality. Very good to work with. I bought the wood at Nashville Plywood, in case you're in the area. They were great to work with, even for a rookie like me.
I worked on this project for about 30 hours total. It would have been shorter if I had a garage, but I had to move stuff (tools and materials) in and out of the house each time I wanted to work on it, so that exacerbated the time and space significantly to build.
I'd avoid the full middle panel and frame it instead with 1×2's. That way, no edge finishing to do on plywood, and it saves a ton of weight without sacrificing any strength or functionality. It also allows to you drill holes in the top to run cable and such without having to remove the drawers. Makes for a cleaner desktop without wires.
I also just screwed the drawer fronts in the normal way, I didn't assemble them per instructions. Fewer screws and less time.
I secured all of the side and back panels by drilling with the Kreg jig instead of doing brad nails or anything like that.
I had 200 feet of maple 1×2 that I glued together to make my 2×2's as well as using for the 1×2's./p>
2 4×8 sheets of plywood for top, back, sides, and drawer fronts
1 cheap 4×8 sheet of plywood for drawer boxes (could have probably used less, but have extra to play with now!)
1 sheet of 1/4″ plywood for drawer bottoms, plus one extra small piece I had to go back and buy (no way to make the drawer bottoms with just one piece, measurements don't work out)
Brushed on Minwax Early American stain. Will put poly on later, I'm not so good with coasters and know it's only a matter of time!
Read up on ways to make accurate repeat cuts. That's the one thing I had wished I had done, it would have saved many headaches in fitting everything up in the end. Still some things I need to fix in that regard, but having it together with flaws is way better than not having it together.