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Thread: Non-Permanently Fixed Floating Desk

  1. #1

    Non-Permanently Fixed Floating Desk

    My shop's back at my parent's garage but I live in my own rental space. Don't plan to buy a home anytime soon so I will be moving between rental spaces, probably once every year. I need a desk that move with me.

    Most floating desks are built on floating vanity welded brackets that are fixed to studs (requiring you to cut open your walls, mounting them, repatching the drywall, repainting). Landlord's probably not going to let me do that unless I plan to leave it when I move ... which doesn't make financial sense to me. But asking to face-mount cabinets to studs is reasonable since repair work at the end of rental period is minimal (spackling, repaint).

    I came up with a design to have a floating cabinet support the desk top. Some issues I'm worried about:
    1. Find a secure non-permanent way to fasten the desk top to the cabinet. There will be a 3/32" (width of TS blade kerf) spacing between the right cabinet and the top. I'm thinking of running bolts through the cabinet into the underside of the desk top (threaded insert).
    2. Will L-brackets along the wall (where the cabinets aren't around to provide support) be enough to support the desk and prevent the front from sagging? The desk is 20" deep, the right-side cabinet is 16" (4" overhang). I think this should be enough.


    Assembly involves mounting the two cabinets and the cable well (if it ends up being detached from the desk top), making sure they're coplanar. Then mounting the L-brackets. Then laying down the top.

    2_Mounted.jpg1_Construction Plan.jpg

    Desk size: 20" Wide, Variable length (~7ft).
    CPU Tower cabinet: 16" Wide, 30" long.
    General Cabinet on the left: 10" Wide, 5' Long, 12"+ tall.
    Last edited by Minh Tran; 01-20-2022 at 3:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I recently made a desk for our home office that looks like it is permanently installed, but can easily be removed and taken to a new location. The desk I made is a bit shorter and mirror image of what your drawings show. You can support the desk top on the left of your drawing with a simple H frame leg.
    IMG_2718.jpg
    Lee Schierer
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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    I'm not sure I get it. I understand the benefit of not making holes in walls you rent. But then you go ahead and make holes to support that cabinet on the left. Why not just put thin legs on the left end of the desk, and lose the cabinet? The legs could be as simple as a sheet of 3/4" ply standing vertically, perhaps braced to the desk top at the rear. There would be no holes in the wall, and the desk would almost be floating.

    A 3"-thick desk top will be plenty thick enough to avoid sagging, considering that the unsupported span is something like 4 feet.

    Instead of a cable tray, look into bridle rings. They are terrific for holding cables up against the underside of a desk. You can add or remove cables from the rings without pulling them from the end.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Here's a way to put a nearly-invisible leg at the left end of the desk. In the sketch below, the desk top is the green semitransparent thing. The computer is the grey object. The desk leg is the brown object. It has one post, at the rear. The post is four or five inches front-to-back, so there's plenty of strength against bending forward. The leg's foot is a piece of 1x6 or whatever flat on the floor. It is also a platform for the computer to sit on. Or another way to say it is that the computer hides the whole leg structure, and the desk looks like the left end is floating.

    Cleg.jpg

  5. #5
    Jamie,
    It wouldn't be a floating desk if it has what resemble legs . The 5' long cabinet on the left will be hung on cleats which are mounted to 3 studs. It's for enclosed storage and will double as a book shelf.

    The legs could be as simple as a sheet of 3/4" ply standing vertically, perhaps braced to the desk top at the rear.
    Mhmm. I've considered it but I don't like the look. Idea would be on the table if I wasn't allowed to drill any holes.


    A 3"-thick desk top will be plenty thick enough to avoid sagging, considering that the unsupported span is something like 4 feet.
    Mmm. It's not quite 3" thick because it'll mostly be hollow. I thought to double up 3/4" plywood just at that section (and just accept that the drawers would be lower than the desk bottom) but [1] shows that bowing won't be an issue if the carcass is built like a torsion box.

    Instead of a cable tray, look into bridle rings.
    Cool! A new word. The tray will be sized to house a switch and power strip. Hard to describe since I haven't penned the idea to paper yet but I think it'll allow more flexibility in the future. I can use those bridle rings in my shop for the air hoses

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    [1] https://youtu.be/xkHaUOjNWHE?t=464

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    Here's a way to put a nearly-invisible leg at the left end of the desk. In the sketch below, the desk top is the green semitransparent thing. The computer is the grey object. The desk leg is the brown object. It has one post, at the rear. The post is four or five inches front-to-back, so there's plenty of strength against bending forward. The leg's foot is a piece of 1x6 or whatever flat on the floor. It is also a platform for the computer to sit on. Or another way to say it is that the computer hides the whole leg structure, and the desk looks like the left end is floating.

    Cleg.jpg
    I've tried something like this before. I love how minimal it is but I'd be relying on the joint to hold the weight of an expensive computer. I trust that it can hold its weight no problem but dread at the thought that someone who doesn't know better will want to try to "test" its strength, press down to hard, and the whole thing comes down (joint might fail with ~100+ lb of weight; computer weighs ~20 lb).

  7. #7
    Leave a pocket in the left end of the desktop for a recessed cleat screwed to the wall.

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