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Thread: I want to do a simple desk with ikea legs, probably overcomplicating things

  1. #1

    I want to do a simple desk with ikea legs, probably overcomplicating things

    Hey Creekers,

    I'm not much of a woodworker, so I'd like to have your input.

    Currently, I'm in the middle of making a simple desk for my sister.
    I have a nice piece of poplar, and some ikea legs.

    Can I simply screw the legs to the poplar, or do I need some lateral support?

    I usually hang around the neander forum, so my first thoughts were that a sliding dovetailed lateral support would be needed. However, I'm not much of a woodworker, and would be afraid of messing it up.

    I'm not sure if I can just screw it in place? Or use nails? Or if the sliding dovetail is best? Maybe nothing at all?

    For what it's worth, the wood plank is centercut....1 inch thick. 15 inches wide...50 in long....slightly cupped (about 2 mm).

    I was going to do the cupped side facing up.
    I was thinking of simply scraping the wood, adding a light bevel, and adding a simple soap finish.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Carrollton, Georgia
    Matt, I don't know how the Ikea legs attach but, generally speaking, you have to have a very firm material to screw legs into, which poplar is not, if you're going to rely on only the top of the legs to support your desk. A solution could be some sort of plate to screw the legs into, which would spread out to load, then attach to the poplar. Another solution is to devise some sort of apron or bracket to give support further down the legs.

  3. #3
    Should I go with Baltic birch plywood instead?

  4. #4
    I'm tempted to do this as a proof of concept--- screw the legs into some BB plywood, and stick the poplar on top (or leave alone).

    For her birthday, I may replace it with a better top out of flamed rock maple (have some sitting around).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    If you'd include a link to the Ikea leg, we could see how the leg attaches to the top, and give you a more-informed answer.

  6. #6
    The bb ply might prevent the top from expanding and contracting.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Kansas City
    The Ikea legs you're talking about, are they basically tubular metal legs with a flange on the end that you screw into a top? Sure you can do that, it just wont last very long. Anytime you depend on a metal-to-wood connection, the little bit of movement you get every time that you touch the thing (especial when you lean on it or put weight on it), stresses the connection. Eventually the screws won't hold. Whether a solid wood plank or plywood, it wont be thick enough for a long screw anyway. Just my opinion.

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