Chase Desk

Hi there! I’m pretty excited about today’s project! Our little guy, Chase, has been asking me to build him a desk for quite awhile, and I finally got around to it 🙂 I had seen a similar desk on etsy, but you know I’ve got to build it myself, right? What I love most is that I figured out a way to build the whole desk, plus the little storage seat using only one sheet of plywood! Perfect for the #KregOneSheetContest ! So much storage, too! The seat opens up for storage, plus the desk top opens up, and there’s a storage area down below. With 4 kids, I’m always looking for furniture that does double-duty! I also added a dowel up top to use as a paper roll holder, and to keep the lid from over-extending. I hope you love it as much as we do 🙂

First up, you’ll need-

1- 4’x8′ sheet of 3/4″ plywood

1- 3/4″ dowel (31″ long)

1- set of 1″ hinges for the seat

1- set of 3″ hinges for the desk lid

Several 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws

1 1/4″ Finish Nails

Wood glue

Finishing supplies as desired- sandpaper, stain, poly, paint, etc.

One of these winters, I’m going to sit down and make myself learn Sketchup, so I can give you real, printable plans- but for now I hope this explains it well enough for you to build your own if you want to 🙂 

Here are the cuts you’ll need from your plywood-

2- 24″x30″ Sides- will cut curves with jigsaw

2- 6″x24″ Desk front and back

1- 20″x24″- Desk Bottom

1- 5 3/4″x24″- Lower Storage Front

1- 8″x24″- Lower Storage Bottom Support

1-19″x23 3/4″- Desk Lid

1-3″x24″- Lid Hinge Support

1- 12″x24″- Lower Storage Back Support

1-5″x24″ Lower Storage Divider

2-9″x12″- Seat Sides

2-12″x17″ Seat Front and Back

1-18″x11 1/2″- Seat Lid

1-10 1/2″x15 1/2″- Seat Bottom (I like to cut this to fit once the rest of the seat is assembled)

2- 1″x12″- Lid Support- use scrap from seat front and back pieces 

Optional- use scrap pieces for inside desk dividers

There are a lot of ways to cut plywood! My favorite is to do the bigger cuts with my Circular Saw and my Kreg Rip-Cut! Then, I do smaller cuts with my miter saw.

Once you’ve got all your pieces cut, you need to cut the circular pieces in your sides. Cut one of the sides out with a jigsaw, then lay it on top of the other and trace the first cut so that both are the same 🙂 I hope you can see well enough from the drawing above- but you can eyeball it. I used a pencil and just drew and erased til it looked right. It helped to line out the desk pieces and trace around where they would end up so that I didn’t take too much off. Remember that these will mirror each other, so keep that in mind so you have the nicer sides of your plywood facing out.  Then we’ll cut the holes for the dowel and handles. For the dowel holes- use a 3/4″ bit centered 1 1/2″ from the top and back of each side. The best way to avoid tear-out is to drill your hole almost all the way through on one side, then flip and finish on the other side.When you can just see light coming through that little hole- flip and finish from the other side. Then, swap to a 1″ bit for your handles. I drilled two 1″ holes, then connected them with my jigsaw. One hole is centered 7 3/4″ from the back of the side, the other is centered 11 1/4″ from the back, and both are centered 2″ down from the top. I went too fast and went all the way through 🙁 now you can see why I like to flip the board and finish my holes that way 😉 Once you’ve drilled both holes, draw a line connecting them on top and bottom, and jigsaw them to create a handle 🙂 I did one, then set it on the other side and traced so they’d match.Now, sand your edges before moving on.Okay, the hardest part is over 😉 Now, for the pocket holes! I use my Kreg Jig for almost every project! Since we’re working with 3/4″ plywood, you’ll want to drill 3/4″ pocket holes for everything 🙂 Here’s where I drilled all my pocket holes for the desk, I’ll show you the seat later-

I also drilled pocket holes in the sides, front, and back of the lower storage bottom, and pocket holes in the sides of the lower storage back support. Make sure and place your pocket holes on the non-showing sides.

Now, we’ll start putting this together! I used 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws and wood glue to attach everything.

Start with one of your sides inside facing up on your work surface, and line out where everything goes. The bottom of the desk bottom should be 11 1/2″ from the top of the sides. The desk back sits on top of the desk bottom, flush with the back of the sides.The desk hinge support (3″x24″) goes on top of the desk back, flush with the back of the side, and parallel to the desk bottom.

The desk front will sit in front of the desk bottom, bottoms flush. This gives a little slope to your desk lid, and covers the front edge of the desk bottom. 
We will add the desk lid later. So, let’s work on the bottom storage area 🙂 Add the lower storage Back Support, flush with the back of the side and with the bottom of it 3″ up from the bottom of the side. 

Next, add the lower storage bottom support. The bottom of it should be flush with the bottom of the back support- 3″ up from the side bottom.
Now, add the lower storage divider on top of the lower storage bottom. You can space it however you’d like- I left enough room for books in the back and mason jars in the front.Then, add the lower storage front, covering the front edge of the lower storage bottom, like we did on the desk.We’re going to add the other side now! I found it easiest to line out where everything needed to match up on the other side, then adding glue to the ends on the first side and flipping it over onto the second. Join things up again and add your screws.

It gets pretty tight in some spots, so until I get a right angle drill, here’s my little trick for reaching tight spots. I put my pocket hole bit into a screwdriver handle and go to work 😉
Looking good! Now let’s work on the desk top!Set your desk top in place and draw a line along the top edge on both sides.Now, remove the top and grab those 2 scrap pieces (1″x12″). Line one scrap piece along the line you just drew and trace along the bottom of it. This will allow for the thickness of the desk top, so we can add the supports in just the right spot.Hold one scrap piece just below the bottom line and nail it into the side using 1 1/4″ nails. This will help support the desk lid. Repeat on the other side.

You can add any dividers you want to the inside of the desk now, too 🙂

That’s it for the desk! Now for the seat- You can add handles to the sides of the seat, just like we did to the desk. I made them a bit smaller- so I drilled 1″ holes centered 2 1/2″ down from the top of each side, and 3 1/2″ in from each side.
Then connected them with my jigsaw.Next, add pocket holes to the sides of each side. This is going to be another tight squeeze! I added the front to one side, and the back to the other side, then set one on top of the other and screwed it all together. Use 1 1/4″ screws and glue 🙂 I cut my bottom piece after assembling this to make sure everything was just right. Then, you can drill holes all the way around the bottom and screw it in place.We’ll attach the seat top and desk lid after sanding and staining- but it’s really looking good 🙂  I used my fave stain in Dark Walnut, then added a coat of Triple Thick poly and Chase showed up to check my progress. I think he likes it 😉  

We just need to attach hinges and we’re done! Use the 3″ hinges on the desk top, and the 1″ hinges to connect the seat lid. It’s definitely best to pre-drill your holes here.

I thought I got pictures of attaching the seat lid, but can’t find them. It’s easiest to set the seat upside down on top of the lid and attach. 
Now you can slide your dowel in and you’re done!  I just love all the storage! 

What do you think? 

2 Replies to “Chase Desk”

  1. Awesome desk, Heather!!! Chase will be a smart student with his new desk. You did an great job
    explaining all the directions!! Wish I had a nice building to work in like yours. You amaze me!!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Judy!! I hope someday we can build together 🙂

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