Industrial style desk ~ reveal 3/3

How To build an Industrial style desk ~ or 2

Mike's Desk As Is | Vin'yet Etc.To recap, we built our son Michael, 2 Industrial style desks for his birthday, he is going to OIART in September to study audio engineering and his saggy pressed board desk just wasn’t cutting it. We would have done a couple of things a little differently ref the building of these desks, hind-sight being 20/20, this was our first project of this type. Over all though we are very happy with how it turned out and the end user, Mike, is very happy with it…

Welcome to the technical part of the series. :/

We asked for a sketch and Michael sent us this…

s-sketch by Mike | Vin'yet Etc. As you can see it’s a little vague, but this did give us an idea of height and size-ish, the main design criteria was, to be able to stand while he produced and he wanted some shelving for his speakers and large computer screen.

Bud & Laur Sketchs |Vin'yet Etc. After a few sketches of our own… we came up with a plan.

Shopping List

  • 1 – 59″ x 29 1/2″ VIKA FURUSKOG (Ikea) – pine table top
  • 2 – 47 1/4″ x 23 5/8″ VIKA FURUSKOG (Ikea) – pine table top
  • 8 – 1″ x 3″x 8′ pine (fascias)
  • 2- hinges (front of small desk) 2 – hinges with height locking mechanism
  • 27 lin. ft. of 2″ industrial steel pipe
  • 27 lin. ft. of 1″ industrial steel pipe
  • 8 – 2″ T connectors
  • 4 – 1″ T connectors
  • 16 – 2″ floor flanges
  • 24 – 1″ floor flanges
  • 8 – 2″ to 1″ reducers
  • 2 – 1″ x 14″ x 7′ pine planks (for desk lower shelving)
  • 54 decorative deck screws (fascia detail)
  • high heat satin black spray paint
  • acetone (for cleaning the pipe before painting)
  • wood glue

Tool List

  • measuring tape or tapes if your like me, *scratches head, where did I put that?
  • pencils
  • safety glasses
  • hearing protection
  • cut off saw
  • sander
  • distressing kit (torch, rebar, chains, screws, hammer, chisel)
  • welder (6018 welding rods)
  • welding mask
  • grinder
  • steel brush (for removing slag)
  • rags
  • drill
  • bolts
  • screws
  • sandpaper
  • orbital sander
  • foam paint brushes (for applying the stain)

We decided to tackle the larger of the 2 desks first and work off of that scale and height. We built all of the legs first.

Legs all in a row | Vin'yet Etc.
Construction Collage | Vin'yet Etc.
All of the leg heights were determined ( I won’t bore you with the math) and each pipe was cut to suit (total height with desk top is 41″ AFF.). All of the pieces were welded together as shown below. First spot welded to hold everything then a permanent 360 degree weld was applied.
legs-parts-details | Vin'yet Etc.
Quick mock-up with the top, looking good…
Legs and top mock-up
On to the body of the desks… this is the skeleton of desk 2, not to confuse things but the construction of both skeletons are basically the same, the difference is, desk 2 has a split top… more on that to follow.
Desk skeleton | Vin'yet Etc.
This detail shows what I mean by skirt of the desktop or fascia, we used wood glue and the deck screws with a simple butt join, we wanted this to look industrial, so no fancy stuff…
fascia detail  | Vin'yet Etc.
Template Collage | Vin'yet Etc.
Bud is all about building templates and doing mock-ups before we put things together… works out well.
VikaFuruskogTables | Vin'yet Etc.
Once we added the fascia around the tops it changed the over all dimensions; the over all size of the finished desks are, desk 1 = (5′ 5/8″ L x 31″ W 41″ H), desk 2 = (49″ L x 19″ W x 41″ H).
Now on to the really tricky part (or so I thought)… the split top. Mike wanted to stand when producing as I’ve mentioned, he also has a piece of equipment that he uses to make sounds with… okay this is where I sound like I have NO idea what I am talking about. It’s called mashine (yep that’s how it’s spelled) and it’s like a drum sound thingy… anyways that piece of equipment is better for him when it’s angled a bit… so he asked us if we could have a portion of the desk that tilted. Bud being the “all glasses are full kinda guy” said, sure, no problem!!! I looked at him like he had two heads… funny though in the end the solution was very simple and it works like a charm.
Tilt top | Vin'yet Etc.
All we did to make this happen was to install 2 static hinges on the front fulcrum, and on the back, where it lifts from, are 2 adjustable drafting table hinges… as shown on the right in the image below.
Adjustable hinge | Vin'yet Etc.You can source that hinge here.
We prepped and cleaned both frames with acetone before painting, they were set aside while we distressed and finished the tops. The funnest part of this whole process for me, not sure but I may have built up aggression issues. πŸ˜‰ Our very in-depth distressing kit…
High Tech Distress Kit | Vin'yet Etc.
Basically, beat the daylights out of the top of your piece, we burned some parts and added black paint, we wanted industrial looking, so we went to town… once that was done we applied stain to the tops (2 coats) with Minwax special walnut, let that dry, then we finished it with Minwax Wipe-on Poly in a satin finish. Once everything was dry we bolted the tops to the frames.
These desks were a challenge, in such a good way though, we learned so much and as usual had a great time building them… here are some random shots of the whole process…
Goofy parents | Vin'yet Etc.
If you can’t have fun, what’s the point… Hi Mike we’re your folks… :p

Industrial desk parts | Vin'yet Etc.

Β Mr Meticulous and his military ways…

Metal Shop Sign |Vin'yet Etc.

In the metal shop I spied this, isn’t it amazing? The guy that works there is making it from bits and pieces of “junk”…

Thanks for showing interest in this series, please let me know if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them…

~Laurie xo

You Might Also Like

  • Reply Dani @ lifeovereasy June 1, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Wow, that is a long list of tools and supplies – you are very brave! These are amazing instructions – if I ever get the crazy idea to try something like this, I’ll be coming to you first. But what really stood out for me is how groovy you look in those glasses πŸ˜‰

    • Reply Laurie June 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      Hahaha… I love those goggles! I’ll be here if you need me, if you ever become crazy enough to try this… πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Anne@DesignDreams June 2, 2013 at 3:14 am

    A-W-E-S-O-M-E !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Great project, great job and fabulous look! I love this!!!

    • Reply Laurie June 2, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Ah, thanks so much Anne! I really appreciate you saying that, I admire your projects so much, this is a huge compliment! xo

  • Reply Tazim @ June 2, 2013 at 4:57 am

    I’m in total awe of your project! I absolutely love how the desk turned out!

    • Reply Laurie June 2, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      That’s so nice of you to say, thanks so very much!!!

  • Reply Kim McD June 2, 2013 at 5:39 am

    Wow that’s an amazing desk! Great job. Also that’s something my son would never ask me to make him, he knows I have no skill lol.

    • Reply Laurie June 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      LOL you could try something on a smaller scale? Thanks for stopping in and thanks for the compliment! xo

  • Reply Clydia @ THREE MANGO SEEDS June 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Wow! Very cool Laurie! Love the self portrait! Ha! Sharing on FB later today. xoxo

    • Reply Laurie June 3, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks sweetie! Haha, if you can’t have fun, what’s the point, right?

  • Reply Amy @ StowandTellU June 4, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Super cool, Laurie – pinned!!!

    • Reply Laurie June 6, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Hey Amy, thanks for pinning!!! πŸ˜‰ xo

  • Reply Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life... June 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    You are amazing! That is all… I am speechless πŸ˜‰

    • Reply Laurie June 6, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks so much Cynthia, I really appreciate you stopping by! xo

  • Reply Sheila @sZinteriors June 7, 2013 at 12:20 am

    I read this the other day on my phone, so my apologies for the delayed commenting (my phone and I don’t play nice together!).

    I LOVE your desk! Industrial style is my thing, and I’ve been wanting to figure out how to have a standing work station for my laptop. Your design has completely inspired me – I don’t know when, but now I know basically how! Thank you so much for sharing in such detail the steps to build this beauty!

    • Reply Laurie June 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      Hi Sheila! Maybe one day we could build you one… πŸ˜‰ if not though, when you get to it, just let me know if you have any questions at all! Thanks for the visit!

  • Reply Robert June 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    holy cr** that desk is amazing! fantastic idea and it looks incredibly good
    totally love how it works with the color of the shelves and the floor

    keep it up!

  • Reply Shawn June 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    That desk came out great. You really did a fantastic job giving it the right look and feel. Where did you source all your pipe, connectors and flanges?

  • Reply Lisa Goulet June 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Wow, your desk turned out great. I really love it! I’m sure your son is thrilled as well.

  • Reply Gretchen September 29, 2015 at 3:08 am

    Hi, while looking for something on Pinterest I found this beauty!!! I REALLY love it! I was looking for the color you used for the wood… but couldn’t find it.

  • Reply Jim Jameson February 15, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    The desks look great and will help me with my own project, but one question I had was why did you folks weld the pieces together? Every other place I’ve looked at for inspiration and information has never welded the pieces together. Was there a specific reason for this that I’m not seeing? Thanks for posting everything!

    • Reply Laurie February 19, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Hi Jim, thanks for checking out our industrial desk. We built this desk 5 years ago and we are quite happy to say it’s still going strong, our son uses it every day. The reason we chose to weld the seams is because there were some custom on site cuts that were not threaded to screw into the flanges. Also, the threaded bits were loosening, and screwing into the flanges at different heights – making the desk uneven. We chose to do it that way so there were no variables in the leg heigh, no moving parts when the desk is moved (our son is young – so he will be living in many different locations) and the fact we did not have a pipe threader in our shop really determined that we weld the seams. πŸ™‚ hope that answers your question, thanks again for stopping in. πŸ™‚

    Leave a Reply