Sunday DIY: Study buddy saves space

By Greig Morgan

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Need a cool school desk? Greig Morgan has the answers

Score top marks with your children by installing an attractive and useful desk. Photo / Doug Sherring
Score top marks with your children by installing an attractive and useful desk. Photo / Doug Sherring

Bay window seats in kids' rooms can end up as messy dumping grounds. This teenager needed a decent desk to study at, so we decided to make the most of the bay window space and custom-build one to fit into it.

I chose to use pre-cut melamine panels instead of using a couple of full-size sheets, as there was a lot less cutting involved, and the edges had edging tape on them already.

However, with this desk we had to cut an angle to create access to the wardrobe, which meant still having to use a bit of edging tape.


Step 1 - Make a template by neatly joining enough sheets of newspaper together, or find a piece of cardboard big enough, to place against the wall. Then carefully fold the outer edges to mould to the angled shape of the bay window.

Step 2 - Place your template on your panel and trace around it with a pencil.

Step 3 - When cutting any of the panels to shape or length, first measure and mark the distance from the inner blade to the edge of the table on your skill saw.

Clamp a straight edge to the marks as a guide to run the skill saw along. Cut along the waste side of the lines.

Step 4 - Place a front panel flush at one edge so you're able to butt another panel to it. Mark it in line with the same outer angle as the bay window (in this case on the side that gives access to the wardrobe), and cut to this line.

Step 5 - Heat your clothes iron, then cut off a length of edging tape slightly longer at both ends than required. Place the tape flush with the top edge of the panel and run the iron along, melting the glue as you go. Using a scrap piece of wood, rub the tape to help it adhere, before filing on an angle in a downwards motion to remove overhang from the ends and underside.

Step 6 - For the legs, cut the panel to length at either end, and to the same width as your top. I cut mine at about 700mm.

Step 7 - Pre-drill using a 2mm drill bit and fix your angle brackets using the appropriate screws, flush at the top and about 80mm in front and back of the legs.

Step 8 - With the brackets facing inwards, line up each leg flush with the top outer edge, then pre-drill before fixing the top down.

Step 9 - Measure and cut a 200mm-wide bracing panel to fit between the legs, flush at the back and supporting the top. Fix together using angle brackets.

Step 10 - Measure and fix support angle brackets to the studs in the wall of the bay window area, at the same height as desk. I also used offcuts of panel pieces fixed to the top underside to help strengthen and support the joints.

Step 11 - With the bay window desk area now complete, measure the distance from the fixed desk to the outside wall, and cut a panel to this measurement.

Step 12 - Measure and cut two legs and fix using the brackets as before. You will need to fix the leg closest to the wall in enough to allow for the skirting board, before following step 9.

Step 13 - Place the two parts of the desk together. The two legs in the middle should be nice and flush with each other. Pre-drill holes using a 5mm drill bit, then fix using 25mm screws.


Materials
• Melamine panels 16mm
• Edging tape
• Angle brackets
• Screws 16mm
• Screws 25mm

Tools
• Skill saw
• Clamps
• File
• 120g Sandpaper
• Tape measure & pencil
• Clothes Iron
• Square
• Screw gun
• 2mm drill bit
• 5mm drill bit

- Herald on Sunday

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