Hi, David Child here. I wanted to do something a bit different with this blog post. Instead of talking about music or art or movies (that’s pretty much been the scope of this band’s blog so far), I wanted to provide a little IKEA Hackers-style How To guide on building the standing desk I use. If you’re not into How To guides, skip this post. I promise the next one will be about MANWOMANCHILD. Anyway, here goes…
The year was 2012 and standing desk fever was sweeping the nation — or at least a small number of articles were written about the benefits of standing and a handful of people who had nothing better to worry about chose to pursue the idea somewhat seriously for a few months before inevitably returning to sitting. My friends, I was one of those people. (And I still am. I’ve actually just made it to the one-year mark and I still do almost all of my recording standing up.)
I looked around for a cheap standing desk, and there were a bunch of options, though nothing that would accommodate all of the stuff in my home studio. Also, all of the standing desks on the market were shockingly expensive. The New York Times had recommended a $4,000 desk. Feeling ambitious, I decided to build my own out of IKEA shelving.
Before you embark on this journey with me, you should be forewarned that the finished product looks like this:
It’s not the most beautiful thing in the world, I know, but I’ve been extremely satisfied with it. It contains all of the studio gear I use (my computer, my speakers, my amps, my 1 x 12″ speaker cabinet, etc.) and, most importantly, it’s exactly the height I wanted. (All of the articles I’ve read say that the shelf should be exactly the height of your elbows.)
So, you ask, how can I own one of these beauties? Well, since you asked, the whole thing is based on the IVAR Shelving System. The specific parts that went into making this are as follows:
- 4 x IVAR 12“ x 49” Side Units ($8.00/pc): The four side supports.
- 6 x IVAR 17“ x 12” Shelves:
These are the side shelves that hold up the speakers and various other pieces of equipment in the photo above.
- 2 x IVAR 33“ x 12” Shelves: These are the two lower shelves in the middle.
- 1 x IVAR 33“ x 20” Shelf ($12.00/pc): The top shelf, that the computer monitor sits on.
- 2 x OBSERVATÖR 28″ Braces ($5.00/pc): These are used to hold up the two sides.
- 1 x OBSERVATÖR 39″ Brace ($5.00/pc): This is used to hold up the middle shelving section.
I also bought a can of shellac so that I could protect the wood, but that’s really not necessary. Here’s what all of the parts look like on their own:
You’ll notice that my big shelf on the right-hand side of the image has two notches cut in it. Those were not there when I bought the parts. We’ll get to those later. I’m not going to go into a huge amount of detail about the basic construction of the shelf, because this part is fairly straightforward. You should know that I put the whole thing together on the floor without the extra-large top shelf. Here’s a photo of that:
Attaching the 3 metal OBSERVATÖR cross-braces was an odd process. I used a level and a few square-shaped objects to make sure that the whole thing was at right angles. Then, I drilled holes in the side supports and screwed the braces in. The entire shelf (all three parts) are symmetrical but the top hole spots for the middle brace and the side braces don’t line up at all. This is normal. You can see what I mean in the photos that follow. This is the point at which the middle brace meets the side brace at the bottom:
And this is where they meet at the top:
As I said, this is totally normal.
Once I had the whole shelf constructed, I upended it:
OK. The final step is to attach the large 33“ x 20” shelf, but before we can do this, we need to take a hacksaw (or other implement) and cut notches or rectangular chunks out of the plastic. This is what the notches look like:
The best way to figure out exactly where the notches should be is to lay the shelf down on the floor next to one of the side-support braces and use the brace as a guide. (“Measure twice, saw once,” or whatever the expression is.)
Once your done, all you have to do is put that top shelf on and celebrate. Note: I actually attached my desk to the wall to keep it from moving while I typed, or from falling over if I applied too much pressure to that top shelf.
OK. That’s it. I hope you enjoyed this project guide.
5 thoughts on “How to Build a Basic Standing Desk”
Wow, thanks David. this is actually a beautiful desk!
My only question is, what about the times that you do need or want a sitting break? Or how about an adjustable keyboard tray, for proper alignment?
If you find that these things are starting to bother you about a standing desk, you might want to check out an adjustable height desk.
For a list of benefits about adjustable height desks, check out http://www.nextdesks.com/benefits, or just go to http://www.nextdesks.com.
I’ve tried both the standing desks and adjustable height desks, and personally I prefer the adjustable height (mine is the Terra; love this thing!)
Let me know what you think.
That’s a wonderful desk. I don’t have the time (or money) for another desk, but a guy can dream, right?
On a somewhat tangential note, what kinds of cables are you using to send audio to those monitors? I’m using this one (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005HGM1D6/ref=oh_details_o00_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) but I’m getting some static/fuzz and I’d heard better cables would help with that.
Thanks for the post!
About the cables: I have a bunch of those Hosa brand cables. They’re not as terrible as people make them out to be. I’m not using them with my monitors, though. I actually have two sets of monitors:
The powered Alesis monitors are fed from my recording interface into a Mackie Big Knob (http://bit.ly/11F2oLZ). The signal then goes from there using some really nice custom TRS cables I purchased from Event Horizon (http://bit.ly/13vEEeu). These are great cables which I highly recommend. That being said, the Alesis speakers do have a hiss to them. I’ve learned that this is from the transformers that are used in the amplifier circuitry. Darn.
My other set of monitors are unpowered Samson Resolv 65 speakers. I use a Lepai amplifier to power them. Here’s a link: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=310-300&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=pla. I am using cables from Event Horizon for these speakers as well. This setup has no hiss whatsoever.
Hope this helps!
I built my own standing desk adapter… Out of a pair of $20 TV stands (black) I bought at Target. My regular desk was already 29.5 inches tall. So I figured I only needed something 14.5 inches tall to add to the height. The Target TV stands are exactly 14.5″ without casters, and assembled in 15 minutes total. $40 + tax and one trip to Target and I had my standing desk! Plus, it matches my black desk almost perfectly.