Pine Table / Desk

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    Matt McGrane

    The wife asked for a small table / desk for her to do some work at. She wanted it to be lower than usual tables / desks so that it would be more comfortable to type at, so I made it 26 1/2″ tall. Time will tell if it is comfortable to work at. The top is 24″ deep and 45″ wide. Made from lumber yard 1 x 6 pine. M&T all around, haunched for the aprons. Through tenons on the lower center rail.

    I really felt like the techniques I’ve (we’ve) been learning came together with this project – such as using the actual pieces to mark knife lines, rather than using drawings and cutting to a specific length. The joints are nice and tight. I used Paul’s mortising guide to keep the mortises straight (perpendicular to the surface). All the tenons fit nice and tight.

    It was a hairy glue-up. I did a rehearsal and had all clamps ready, but still had to rush. One or two haunches were not flush with the top of the legs and they froze so that even savage mallet blows could not right them.

    Finished with two coats of shellac (three on top). Also added three coats of Minwax water based “polycrylic” to the top and then polished everything with wax.

    First time items:
    – haunched mortise and tenon
    – turnbuttons to attach the top (worked great!)
    – use of water based finish

    No electrons were harmed in the making of this table. Thanks for looking – comments and critiques welcome.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016:

    Derek Long

    Very nice job, Matt! Well done.

    Derek Long
    Denver, Colorado


    Nice looking table.
    The only thing I am not sure of is the lower center rail. It seems to me there could be little room for legs.



    Looks great Matt! Glad you went ahead with the glue up, like the stool i did its nice to have the ability to custom fit or build to fit the available space. Im sure she will be thrilled to use it and knowing it was built with love (i hope….) it will be all the nicer.

    Ontario, Canada

    Peter George

    Very nice Matt.

    Peter in
    Biggar SK
    "New York is big, but this is Biggar"

    Jim Mount

    Gorgeous! The multiple coats of finish give it some depth and really shows off the pine. Clearly made with love. As for that bottom rail, not to worry. You can always cut it out and nail in a replacement further back…LOL Thanks for sharing.

    Jim Mount


    Looks neat!

    I’m sure she loves it. Definitely beats an Ikea termite barf one.

    How exactly did you determine the dimensions?


    Eddy Flynn

    great job Matt i bet she loved it .

    Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK


    Cool little after action report. I am curious though, during glueup, did you do it in stages? Like, did you glue one pair of legs up at a time, get them right before moving on with the glue up? Why do you think the joints froze up before you had a chance to right them?

    Matt McGrane

    Hey, thanks for the comments everybody.

    , your are right about the leg room. My thought was that she would be able to put her feet up on that center rail, but because the desk is only 26.5″ tall, she doesn’t have enough room for her knees if the feet are on the rail. But at least she can sit properly (feet on floor) quite comfortably. After she uses it a bit, I’ll ask how she likes it and what could be changed.

    @jlmountverizon-net, that would be one way to go about moving the rail. Maybe I could make some fake protruding tenons, too. 🙂

    , The 45″ width of the table was based on available space and the 24″ depth I just picked out of the air. The height was determined by having her sit in a chair, holding her arms in a comfortable typing position. Subtracting about an inch for her computer thickness got me the table height. Still don’t know if it will be comfortable for her – time will tell.

    , I did the glue-up in stages, but immediately one after the other. First the leg and short apron assemblies. Then laying the left leg assembly flat on the table, added the long aprons and center rail, and fit the other leg assembly onto that. Set it upright on its legs to apply the clamps. It was on a leg assembly that I had a small problem getting the haunched tenon to be flush with the top of the leg. One was a litle proud and the other was a little recessed. Probably less than a millimeter, but I still wanted it to be right. I just couldn’t pound it into submission.

    Thanks again, all. Keep the projects coming – I love this stuff.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016:

    Martin McColl

    Hi Matt,

    Looks like a great project to practice what you have learnt, love the subtle curve on the apron.

    Martin ... Tucson, Arizona, USA.

    Matt McGrane

    @mmccoll, Thanks Martin. I made the apron curves starting in 2″ from the ends, having a 1″ maximum recess. I couldn’t figure out what to use to mark out the curve, then I saw a 48″ plastic yardstick / level. It bent easily and was perfect for the task.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016:


    Beautiful work, Matt! In reference to the glue freeze on larger, more complicated glue-ups, I’ve not tried it yet, but I believe TiteBond has a wood glue out now that is supposed to have a longer open time. If it works as advertised, that might be good for some projects.

    Matt McGrane

    @gary, Thanks Gary. Great point about the glue open time. I checked and I have the Titebond III glue. I’m pretty sure I got that for the longer open time. I bought that bottle about a year ago. I wonder if it loses some of its open time as it ages.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016:

    Greg Merritt

    Nice job on the desk Matt. Tailoring a piece is one of the perks of building it yourself.
    Might I suggest that you look into liquid hide glue? Longer open times and I’ve not had any issues with glue freeze.
    In future you may want to consider moving the lower cross rail so that it spans between the rear legs or 2/3 of the way back on the short rails as opposed the center.
    Again, really nice work.

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