Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Hutch for College Desk

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Rockingham, Virginia
    Posts
    297

    Hutch for College Desk

    I have a friend who is important to me who asked me to build a hutch for his daughter for her college desk. It would be 28 high or so and about 38 wide with a couple of shelves spanning the 38. (The sides will be 14 wide.). I usually do not do stuff like this without a proven design, but this time I intend to wing it a bit.

    I intend to use 13 ply 23/32. furniture grade red oak plywood from Northland Forest Products. The stuff is really heavy, finished on both sides, and quite stiff. (It also looks great.). I will cut the sheet lengthwise on my Sawstop PCS (3hp) 14.25 wide, then recut to 28 and have enough left over for one shelf. I will then must another strip 14 wide with enough for two more shelves. I intend to span the gap by cutting a 3/8 dado on the interior of both sides to accept the shelves and glue them and clamp them. (I will also put 1/4 oak ply on the back with a small rabbit cut on the sides and top to accept it.) I will then stain and lacquer it with EM 6000, my go to for almost everything because it works great.

    My main concern is whether the shelves can hold the weight an unthinking 18 year old may place on them. I know I can put in center supports with the one on the bottom resting on the desk like the sides with two more, but I think that would mess up the desk space.

    So, am I overthinking this? Any suggestions on how to make the shelves stiffer? Could pocket screws be as strong as the dados?? Any other thoughts? BTW, I thought about just making it out of red oak, but I do not think it would be any stiffer over 38.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    N. Idaho
    Posts
    1,200
    Sounds like a good project. Haven't much experience using, but sagulator says .02" sag with those dimensions with a red oak shelf.

    https://woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator/
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    NE OH
    Posts
    1,788
    Fastening through the back (even though it is thin) into the shelves would add strength. If you went to a 1/2 back, that would give more support. Using solid wood edge banding on the front of the shelves, say 1x2, would stiffen them a lot.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    9,691
    So the hutch sides stand near the edges of the desk? Is there anything which prevents the hutch from moving sideways a bit, and falling off the edge?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Rockingham, Virginia
    Posts
    297
    No. Good point. I will raise that with my friend. Regardless, I will make it 1/2 less wide to reduce risk. Had planned on putting edge banding on. I may have some 1/2 for the back, but what concerns me to some extent is weight also. Another thing I thought of is taking 1x4 pieces against the back in the center of the shelf.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    NE OH
    Posts
    1,788
    The other thing that fastening through the back into the shelves adds is additional racking resistance, although the back itself is probably good enough for that.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    6,261
    I am adding shelves to garage cabinets that came with the house. I bolt a piece of angle iron to the front support posts. Inside the posts so only the carriage bolt heads show with the doors closed. A 2x4 cleat to the back wall and sit the shelf on that. No way will the angle iron bend. It is old bedframe material I had around.
    polished aluminum angle or black painted iron might look good to a teen.
    Bill D

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Rockingham, Virginia
    Posts
    297
    Thank you all! With major help from SWMBO, I cut 14 sides off the big piece of red oak plywood on the table saw using 5 rollers to hold it up. Really makes you appreciate a good table saw. Very pleased - next I will have to install a 23/32 dado on the saw along with the 8 dado brake Sawstop sells. Looking forward to it.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •