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Building a Modern Desk Prototype

So as most of you probably know, our business plan here in Houston is to sell closing gifts to Realtors who will deliver our packaging and advertisements to a homeowner with a big, new, empty house. That homeowner will then see our marketing and know that we build quality furniture!

Our problem is, we only have 1 piece of furniture up on our website right now for them to buy (a farmhouse coffee table) so we decided to remedy the problem...

Since so many people are still working from home and may continue to work from home for a while, we decided our next piece of furniture should be a nice desk!

We want all of our furniture pieces to utilize interchangeable parts as much as possible. We want to be able to use one dimension of leg glue-ups for multiple designs - where all we have to do is cut the glue-up to the length we want. We also want to have standard table top sizes that can be used for desk tops, coffee table tops, and kitchen table tops.

This was a design for a smaller version of the farmhouse modern desk that we started with.
This was a design for a smaller version of the desk that we started with.

That's what this prototype was really for...not to test out a design necessarily...but to test how many opportunities we had to use interchangeable parts from our coffee table, and eventually our kitchen table!

As we were building, we ran into an issue of how we wanted to attach the legs to the desktop (72"x28" and made from 8/4 Ash). There weren't any runners to drill right into like there were on our coffee table design, so we had to come up with another solution that would also be do-able for attaching kitchen table tops!

The solution we came up with was a thin rectangular piece of metal with 4 holes drilled through it. Two of the holes would be used to attach the metal piece to the legs using screws and the other two holes would be used to attach the metal piece to the table top using screws. We made our own metal pieces from some steel we got at the hardware store, but once we learned that this method worked REALLY well, we had Richard from 42Fab make us 100 of them a couple weeks later!

These little metal brackets were the start of the show! After this they got a little spray paint.
These little metal brackets were the star of the show! After this they got a little spray paint.

AND THEN. When we were a day away from final assembly and 3 days away from delivery....the biggest winter storm that Houston has seen in decades hit and took out our power. For days. If you want to read alllll about how we handled the storm, check out the blog post we did all about it.

We couldn't even unfreeze our pipes, let alone finish an entire desk build. But the situation got even more complicated! As soon as our power came back on after a few days, we had to leave for 2 weeks to go fly with our Air Force unit! We had lost 3 weeks for this build just like that.

Once we FINALLY got back, we assembled the desk, sprayed it with finish, delivered it, and got some awesome pictures to put up on our website! Now we've got several pictures and options for our clients to view as they're making their purchase online.

This is the finished solid ash desk that we made as a prototype.
This desk looked awesome in a work-from-home office!

Overall, we learned a lot from this prototype! We learned that our little metal brackets are perfect for attaching table tops. We also found a nice, efficient way to build angled legs! This doesn't mean the prototype is completely finished, though. We still need to optimize certain measurements for production and make them nicer, round numbers. However, for a first iteration, this desk build went pretty well!

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

This post may contain affiliate links for products we used to create this project! If you’d like to check them out, we do get a small percentage of the sale and they are of no extra cost to you! It all goes towards supporting the content creation of Jennie and Davis. BUT – we do not take tool sponsorships and there were no tool endorsements. Just our honest opinions!

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