I have finally entered the world of DIY and built a desk based on the design of a coffee table we bought. Unfortunately it wobbles from front to back as you are sitting at it to the extent I can't really work at it and am concerned I'll weaken it further. Think the issue is where the top of the legs are screwed horizontally into a horizontal piece that sits beneath and across the top boards and is screwed vertically up into these (I.e. the legs are not directly attached to the top boards). Would a diagonal support at each corner from the leg into the cross board help do you Think? Any suggestions much appreciated!! desk


  • what kind of glue did you use on the wood?
    – dandavis
    Feb 12, 2021 at 13:11
  • I just reread your post... One thing you'll need to consider is wood expansion. You have a piece of wood running with the grain across the three top boards with their grain running at a 90° angle. As the top expands with temp & humidity, it will pull at the screws from that attachment cleat, pulling the screws out or worse, cracking the top boards. See here for a very long explanation & resolution. Odds are, though, that your leg/top attachment are not the problem. Also, see Woodworking for your future furniture building questions!
    – FreeMan
    Feb 12, 2021 at 14:18
  • Thank you for all the suggestions. In answer, I didn't use any glue which I realise will have added to the issue. Also that certain joints aren't sitting plush. My next step is to try some short diagonal struts with some leftover scaffold board in each corner and see how that goes. If it's still an issue I'll try one of your suggestions Jasen and Freeman. Both make sense cheers
    – Owie D
    Feb 12, 2021 at 15:05
  • 1
    You could back out the screws a bit, add wood glue (like titebond II) between boards, then re-tighten. Unlike fasteners, glue joints don't/can't wobble, and it's actually stronger than the wood believe it or not. Might be the simplest/cheapest/easiest fix, though I do like the idea of add backers to the shelving for mechanical stability.
    – dandavis
    Feb 12, 2021 at 16:31

2 Answers 2


Yes, put some panels or diagonal bracing behind those end shelves.

eg: bottom of left rear leg to top of left front leg, and the same on the right.

  • 3
    Even better - make it so that books, etc. don't fall off the shelves by putting a complete back on the inside of each "bookshelf" portion of the leg. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, and, frankly, solid wood would be much more difficult for a beginning woodworker. Something simple like 1/4" plywood or even 1/8" hardboard (Masonite™) would provide all the anti-racking strength necessary and would turn this into a very stiff table.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 12, 2021 at 12:57
  • yeah, panels. like I said
    – Jasen
    Feb 12, 2021 at 21:57

Install some desk levelers on the legs similar to the ones shown below. (The picture is from Amazon and I have no business interest in them).

enter image description here

  • Excellent point that I hadn't thought of! My FIL simply installs a 1 - 1.5" lag bolt. Adjustment is the same, and with the OP's carpeted floor, it should slide just fine when it's time to move the desk. The bolt isn't quite as elegant, but it's dead easy to install and cheap.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 12, 2021 at 14:20

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