I am currently remodeling my office, a converted formal dining room, and I am stuck on what material to use for the desktop.

Currently I have a 1" thick Cherry Veneer particle board that is 6' wide x 30" deep.

I want to increase the depth slightly (I like to rest my elbows on the desk while gaming) and am finding it hard to decide on a good material for a 36" depth that has an attractive finish. I would be happiest with a black veneer on the top (non-shine).

Any suggestions, or even places to purchase or order in Orange, CA would be awesome.

I am not shy in building one either, if anyone has any suggestions on the construction of a strong top.

  • 5
    Perhaps kitchen worktop is the way to go - plenty of choices in finish, thickness and size. Jul 31, 2010 at 9:15
  • @Jeremy you should put that in an answer because it's a really good idea. Jul 31, 2010 at 13:12
  • As @Jeremy said a kitchen counter top would work great. If your desk is strong enough, I would go with a dark granite. The counter top manufacturer will even come to you to measure your desk and let you choose the exact piece of stone that you want. Jul 31, 2010 at 14:06
  • @Jeremy please respond as answer Jul 31, 2010 at 18:00

6 Answers 6


Perhaps kitchen worktop is the way to go - plenty of choices in finish, thickness and size. Durable and hardwearing, too.


Particle board or some form of fiber board or plywood will eliminate the issues you might have with solid wood warping. If you veneer the top surface, you should veneer the bottom as well to avoid the veneer warping the board if it shrinks or expands on only one surface. Remember to treat the top and bottom the same (varnish, oil, or other).

Another thing that helps reduce warping is strips or batons. When screwed through slots in the batons into the underside of the desktop, it will allow the top to expand and contract, yet still be held flat.


Ikea sells desk tops separately from the legs, perfectly suitable as building materials for your DIY super desk. They are reasonably priced and available in many sizes and finishes. There are several stores in the greater L.A. area.

  • 2
    Go with something from the Ikea benchtop range (try their kitchen benchtops). Very Cheap, dead easy, and a much better result than doing it yourself.
    – MGOwen
    Aug 19, 2010 at 4:16

Have you looked at getting some thick particle board and laminating on a veneer yourself? That will be less limiting in your color choices than trying to find pre-finished tops.


If you want to build your own you would need to use a hard wood such as oak, cherry, or walnut. You would then join all of the suitable length pieces together to give you the width you want (36" allowing for a little extra for milling). Then you would cut it to size and sand and finish it. Although this would take some learning/knowledge and also a fair bunch of new tools :).

  • 2
    Don't knock buying new tools! :-)
    – Peter K.
    Aug 1, 2010 at 18:06
  • New tools I can live with, patching it all together, I really don't want to do. Aug 1, 2010 at 20:05

I'm not a big fan of particle board. It's not all that strong and you need to paint it and make sure that if it gets scratched you fix it right away before any water can penetrate. The plastic veneer on top of the particle board from IKEA is strong and would work but doing it yourself isn't easy or fun.

I like plywood with a nice maple or oak veneer with a solid wood border made to whatever thickness you want to see. You can paint it black but that would be wood murder. If you want to paint then get a cheaper plywood and edge it with Poplar (pine would work too but it's not much cheaper and it's softwood).

  • Painting is evil /agree. The black I was thinking was more like a black oak, or a similar veneer. Aug 9, 2010 at 5:10

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