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I'm looking to make a desk for myself. For the surface, I'm planning on using an oak kitchen surface (either 30mm or 40mm thick) and I'll have 4 60mm holes cut to support desk grommets for cables, usb ports and a wireless phone charger.

My plan was to put the holes 50mm from each edge (or 80mm to the center point of the hole) but I have some concern about whether I'll be undermining the structural integrity of the back of the desk too much. If I mount monitor arms to the back of the desk (2, around 10kg weight on each), is the back likely to snap off under the load?

My initial thought here was to model the back of the desk as a 1600 x 50 x 40 shelf with a 20kg load. http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator tells me this will be fine but I'm unsure if that's the best way to think about the load here - I think I need to be more worried about the stress on the wood between the holes?

Top view

Oblique with monitor arms

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  • Nice question! I can't imagine that you'll have undermined the strength of the desktop that much with those holes. The only consideration might be is if the holes go through the glue seam of that last piece of wood. However a properly done glue-up will have glue joints that are far stronger than the wood itself. Is this a table you're making, or is it a slab you're purchasing. (You must have a lot of cables to need that many holes!) – FreeMan Jun 27 '20 at 17:32
  • For the wood, I was planning on getting something like worktop-express.co.uk/wood_worktops/oak_worktops.html. I have a perpetual problem with cables! The front hole will be taken up with a phone charger e.g. amazon.co.uk/JE-Furniture-wireless-Certified-Qi-Enabled/dp/… one of the back ones will be USB ports and the other two will take the cables from the monitors and my many, many peripherals! – Ben Jun 27 '20 at 17:48
  • The desk i am sitting at now is a piece of 5/8" plywood, i drilled several oval cord management holes along the back side and no problems as of yet ( two years on ) – Alaska Man Jun 27 '20 at 17:51
  • The 22 mm thickess would be plenty thick for a desk. – Jim Stewart Jun 27 '20 at 17:54
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    You could drill dozens of holes in the butcher block top you linked to and not compromise it. Here is nicer desk i built for a client, same size holes. diy.stackexchange.com/questions/114905/… – Alaska Man Jun 27 '20 at 18:00

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