Everything is cyclical, especially for me, and this time around I’m back to thinking about desks.
I wanted to reference a previous post I made about building my own computer desk, but I honestly cannot find that post. I have a post which I labeled as a “part 2”, but I don’t seem to have part 1. In the post I did find I refer to the act of building a desk but If you know me then you may have a vague recollection that I did spend time talking about my process of buildng a custom desk from an older, larger, more sturdy L-shaped desk. I pulled the various panels apart, attached some legs and some brackets, and voila. I have this…thing.
I like the U-desk design because it allows me to have multiple surfaces to work with. In truth, I only use the central arm and the arm on the left, which is currently sporting my work laptop. The surface on the right is reserved for piling up all the junk I never wanted to pile up as I devised some grand scheme for cleaning up my workspace.
Being 2021 now, I have to admit that this setup has limitations. Mainly, the thing isn’t super sturdy. The right surface was made using the actual surface of the original desk. The center and left surfaces were made using the vertical backing panels of the original desk. This means that the left and center surfaces are thinner than the right surface and aren’t as strong as the right surface, and overall the desk was constructed using some…questionable design decisions.
Aside from the wobbliness and overall thin-ness of the whole thing, the edges (as you can see) aren’t suitable for a person-facing edge. I scrape my arms along these edges all the time, and because these boards were never meant to be used in this fashion, the back edge of the surface is the same rough pressboard so the braded cable on my mouse has become frayed over the scant few months I’ve been using this setup as I drag it back and forth along the edge.
All of this means I am now back to considering my desk options. Having half-assed my original design while still having successfully “made” something, on some level I feel that it’s “mission accomplished” and I can return a regular, someone-else-built-it desk.
My first stop in this casual evacuation of my current circumstance was to look at “gamer desks”. Listen, we have to admit as a community that a “gamer-” anything is just going to be the fucking worst example of what’s on offer. Most of these “gamer desks” that I’ve seen are basically pressboard surfaces with single pylon legs, but painted black and red and offered with a full-surface “mouse pad”, headset holder hook, and…a drink holder. If you want the Cadillac of “gamer desks”, then you’ll be getting one with a special attachment usually shown holding 2 gamepads, some slim cases of unknown purpose, and a 4 port USB power station. That is not a misnomer: it’s a USB power station; not USB hub, because I investigated that and was told by owners of said desks that this USB contraption is just for power.
I have to admit that this is not a shabby looking surface. This specific specimen is 55″, though I am looking for 60″ or greater, meaning that even if I got 2 of these (or similar) it would be a significant downgrade from what I’m currently using — aside from the obvious reasons of losing a complete third surface.
If I don’t want to risk the self-loathing of supporting the exploitation of a base stereotype in my chosen community, then I’m back to the DIY solution (because “normal” desks are either way too small or way to expensive for what they offer). The first time I investigated the efficacy of building my owns desk, things were a little tense mainly because I am not handy with tools, and the thought of purchasing parts and combining them in a significantly pleasing and sturdy manner is frightening to me; I didn’t want to spend money and end up with something that is as crappy as what I got for free with the results made from my repurposed desk.
Still, since I have “constructed” this desk, I am a bit more at ease about building something custom. Last time around, I was looking at “door desks”, which is essentially buying a door from a home improvement store and painting/finishing it, sticking legs to it, and calling it a day. That option is not off the table (pun intended) since I have all of the legs already, and at this point would basically just need the door or doors, if I wanted to make a new L-shape configuration. After watching a few videos, I am interested in some of the upsells that custom desk builders have made for themselves, like multiple levels or using cabinets, bookcases, or shelving units for surface support. The biggest obstacle to this, for me, is knowing what’s out there to work with, and then to find enough parts to put something together that doesn’t look like it’s a bunch of “the best I could find” parts slapped together.
TipaJanuary 4, 2021 - 11:01 AM
I did see a video awhile back — I think it was Linus Tech Tips — where they made the ultimate gamer desk from parts like that. Search around for it…. it looked like something I wanted to do, but then didn’t.
ScopiqueJanuary 4, 2021 - 11:04 AM
I’ll check around for it. I’m currently researching doors through home improvement sites and the prices are OK. But it’s hard to find “a door” that isn’t some suburban or farmhouse aesthetic with grooves and stuff. Finding the parts seems to be the hardest part of this whole project!
TipaJanuary 4, 2021 - 11:36 AM
In the Linus Tech Tip video I linked on Twitter, they use a countertop as their surface.
NimgimliJanuary 4, 2021 - 11:10 AM
Our office workspace was built from Ikea desk parts. It’s really sturdy and it comes in modular bits and pieces so you kind of layout the design you want, then choose the parts you need to build that design.
ScopiqueJanuary 4, 2021 - 11:13 AM
I’m saving Ikea as the outlet of last resort only because I’d prefer to buy something I can see in person so I can make sure that it’s what I want. Closest Ikea to me is about 45 minutes in the bowels of MA. But Ikea DOES seem to be THE destination for a lot of these DIY desk projects so I might see if there’s a manifest from some YouTuber’s design out there I can cop if it comes to that.