Yesterday I finished building a corner desk for my home office. I have no previous experience with woodworking, but I thought it would be a fun project. The end result is actually pretty good, the desk looks nice and is very close to what I was expecting. Here are a couple pics for reference:

Custom desk 1 Custom desk 2

The wood is 15mm MDP, and the base is made of five 25mm x 25mm steel bars. It is pretty solid, with no noticeable movement when I try to shake the desk.

The problem is that when I type, there's a slight vibration that transfers to the bigger LCD screen, making the screen shake a bit. It's not a huge deal, but it is bothering me. My previous desk did not have this problem - it was made entirely of wood and feels more solid than the one I built.

Is there a way I can stop this vibration? Maybe changing something on my design to make the desk more solid... I'm open to suggestions.

  • 1
    Now that you've accepted an answer, it would be nice to see a pic of what you ended up doing, for anyone in the future that has a similar problem and finds this.
    – gregmac
    Feb 25, 2011 at 21:12

3 Answers 3


The picture helps. I'm guessing that the likely culprit is the slenderness of the legs.

I'd probably try to put some sort of bracing across the "rear" three legs, and see if that helps. You might also try some diagonal bracing, as a little give in any of the bolted holes will allow some pretty significant movement at the feet.

I'm going to assume that you've verified that you have the feet all in a constant plane-- if you push down on each of the five corners, it doesn't tip slightly, suggesting that one of the other leg's a little too long.

  • Yes, the feet are all same size, and all five are touching the ground at the same time, not moving if I try to push them. The wood I used to support the legs (perpendicular to the desk top) is 10cm (~ 4 inches), so maybe I could use a bigger size to make it more solid? Feb 7, 2011 at 3:44

Is the ledge that the monitors are sitting on actually attached to the desk? It kind of looks like it's just resting on the speakers (Btw, I swear I had those same speakers like 15 years ago). Since there is some natural bounce in any kind of wooden surface like you have, my guess is it's transferring to the upper support which will naturally be prone to movement due to not being attached. If you add at least 3 supports so it can stay up on its own (not relying on speakers) I would guess most of the movement will go away.

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    The ledge is indeed resting on the speakers, but it does look like it's vibrating together with the rest of the desk. I'll try to put the monitors directly on the desk to see if it changes anything. Btw, the speakers are actually about 15 years old, so they may be the same you had. Still sounding great after all these years :) Feb 7, 2011 at 15:33

You have material flexibility (in the legs and tabletop) that you may not even be able to see or feel, but it's there. You want to damp (lessen or eliminate) the vibration by introducing a thin layer of stiff rubber at every support point. This can be done under the feet, but that's not the good way. When you clean your floor, you can push the rubber out from under the feet.

A better way is to deconstruct the desk, and put thin rubber washers at every point where you have joined the steel support frame to the tabletop.

The result you want is not a "more solid" desk, but a more "vibration-tolerant" one. If you use a level and lots of rubber washers, possibly of varying thickness, you will end up with a desk that feels solid but can tolerate induced vibration, either from typing or from small earthquakes, heavy footsteps on the wood floor, traveling vibrations from your hot water heater in the utility closet nearby, an air-conditioning unit that is mounted on the same piece of vibration-vulnerable floor.,...

Thicker wood will not fix the problem. Wood, is organic, water-filled, material that will never be "solid."

  • Making the desk more solid made sense to me because my previous desk is solid as a rock, and I never had problems with vibration. I'm not thinking about thicker wood, but maybe a longer piece under the desk to better support the steel feet that may be too slender, as Joe said. But I guess I can try some rubber washers and see if it works... Feb 7, 2011 at 15:29

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