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I wanted to have my desk not too thick so I had opted for a 2” frame + 3/4” thick desk top (the reference blogs had various thickness down to a 2x2 frame). The width is about 68” and will be 16” deep.

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However, now that I am looking at it in progress, I’m worried that it will not support the weight or be sturdy enough. And I originally though I bought 2x2 furring strips for the frame but it was only 1 3/8” so it’s not that thick.

My desk will be supported by two walls with studs and we are only using the desk sporadically when we need to take a conference call in that room (we’ll just have our laptops on it and maybe the weight of us typing on it).

Do I need to redo the frame? What’s the minimum thickness of the desk frame if I’m trying for a thinner look?

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  • take a 2x2 8 foot long and push it in the middle. Does it bend ? Now take 2x4 8 foot long and push it at the 4 inch side, no bending
    – Ruskes
    Jun 13 at 1:51
  • However, the top board is what, glued or screwed, that might add some stability
    – Ruskes
    Jun 13 at 1:54
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    Google "torsion box". Build it, and if you don't like it, you have options: angle iron, a support bracket in the middle, ... Jun 13 at 2:26
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    Adding a sheet to the bottom (and perhaps a bit more lightweight fill) will do significant things for your structure. As @AloysiusDefenestrate doesn't quite say, you're almost 2/3rds the way to building a torsion box. And torsion boxes are some serious structure.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 13 at 13:09
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    "we’ll just have our laptops on it and maybe the weight of us typing on it" - you can't make this assumption. Someone will sit on it or put all their weight on it in some way eventually. It has to be rigid enough for that. Jun 15 at 14:37

2 Answers 2

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First of all, you'll need some way to hold up that free-floating corner. And this is a fairly difficult task. The design you have isn't going to cut it, even if you use much bigger supporting members. The problem is that the desk will act as a big lever cranking on the joints between the wall and the desk. One way to deal with that is to use non-bending metal supports attached to the wall studs. Search for "floating countertop bracket", you should see several different designs. Here's one:

enter image description here

You want a simple solution? Put a leg in that corner. I know that's what you're trying to avoid, but it really is the most reliable design.

Secondly, you want the longer edge of the table to resist sagging in the middle. A 2x2 (which is actually 1.5x1.5) is not enough. For a table apron, 3 or 4 inches is the typical height, so that's what I'd use. Pick a board without large knots - unlike the one in your photo. And since the apron will be very prominent, I'd use something nicer-looking than structural lumber. Maybe 1x4 maple, oak or birch.

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    I'd use heavy shelf brackets rather than a leg. See the answers I posted in my comment on the question .
    – isherwood
    Jun 15 at 14:27
  • @isherwood Heavy-duty shelf brackets (screwed to the studs, of course) wouldn't be as strong as the bracket in my photo. But now that I think about it, they might be strong enough. Especially for a writing desk that's only 16" deep. And they won't require tearing the wall apart, so that's a big plus. Jun 15 at 15:15
  • Fastcap speedbraces are supposed to carry 500# each. 4 of those equally spread, and you could park a truck on the desk. Plus, no sag issues. fastcap.com/product/speedbrace?cat=4 (In this case, I endorse these, though the flow of money always goes from me to fastcap; never the other way around...) Jun 15 at 20:14
  • @AloysiusDefenestrate Those could work, sure. And if there are 4 of them, then sag wouldn't be an issue, so the height of the apron could be reduced. (I'm not sure if the 500# rating means anything, since the weakest point will be the screws attaching the bracket to the wall, not the bracket itself.) Jun 16 at 14:16
  • A few screws, properly hitting a stud, will hold way more than 500#. Jun 17 at 0:14
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Yup.. that structure ( for the depth) seems strong enough. the plywood you have selected also seems strong enough if your system is built well enough.

  • make sure the ply is glued to the frame ( and even use a few bolts to make the structure as rigid as possible.
  • glue the cross members well ( even could use some long nails into the cross-members)

What may not be strong enough is the Fixture position onto the wall - as stated earlier - get some good brackets

  • Best would be to use at least 3 shelf brackets - but the issue with this is that they are not invisible, since you will see them below the table.
  • if you want to go hidden shelf/table -- then make sure the bracket is super strong ( and involves a bar that goes into the table )
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  • I’m still new to this, can you elaborate what you mean about fixture position on the wall? Jun 16 at 19:02
  • sorry.. bad wording. basically, make sure its attached to the wall well enough. the image above uses a vertical beam, attached perpindicular to the load (very good), an l bracket spreads the load, but the fixture points are the same axis as the load, so they will pull out, if not strong enough.
    – Hightower
    Jun 19 at 22:42

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