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Wood type and fixings suggestion

Discussion in 'Wood / Woodwork / Carpentry' started by mcdermottc, 26 Jan 2012.

  1. mcdermottc

    mcdermottc

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    HI all

    I am attempting to build a floating desk to fit into an odd shaped alcove in my house.


    I wondered if somone could suggest the best kind of wood and fixings to use for this project.

    I was thinking of creating a support ledge on three walls screwed into wall studs (red ledge on diagram) and then sitting a worktop on top but am unsure as to whether this would be suitable to support the weight specifically:

    1. Would the support ledge be sufficient to hold the weight of the desk (likely to have a monitor and bits and bobs on only) without any sagging. I would prefer not to have a support leg in the middle as I would like the whole length to be available to 2 people can sit under the desk at the same time. I am not sure whether 166cm is too far a distance without support in the middle and the result may be sagging of the worktop in the middle ? Could some form of brackets be added underneath that add support but not be seen ?

    2. I have considered the following for the worktop

    A solid wood (Beech) - ( http://www.diy.com/nav/rooms/kitche...ops/Natural-Solid-Wood-Worktop-Beech-10927894 )

    Timberboard - ( http://www.wickes.co.uk/timberboard/invt/110159/ )

    What are the pro / cons of each and which would be the best for a worktop. I had thought:

    Solid wood - heavier, expand/contract with heat,
    Timberboard - lighter, but may dent easily as softwood

    I had considered MDF and a cheap laminate worktop but as people will see the desk I would like it to look good as well as be practical.

    Finally I would like to build some shelves above the desk so would either solid wood or timber be best for doing this (obviously I would like the shelves and desk to match)

    if anyone could give me advice about this project I would really appreciate it.

    many thanks

    chris
     
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  3. big-all

    big-all

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    heeelllooo and welcome mcdermottc :D :D :D

    if i was building it i would support the center with a unit about 12-14" wide with drawers/shelves /disc storage going 300 to 500mm back also set back 25-50mm from the front edge then any material 18mm plus will do the job
    even 12mm ply fronted with 2x1 par[20x43mm] with a 12mm rebate thick edge showing
     
  4. mcdermottc

    mcdermottc

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    I did really want the whole length open for leg space etc.

    Is it unrealistic to expect that distance 166cm with support leg in the middle ?

    Do you have any thoughts on the solid wood vs timberboard

    many thanks for your advice

    chris
     
  5. maltaron

    maltaron

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    I would avoid the Timber board, it can twist and warp. Use the timber worktop and screw a 4 x 2 cls timber under the front edge, supported on brackets or bearers at the ends.
     
  6. foxhole

    foxhole

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    You could use 18mm oak blockboard and double up the front edge, no support below would be needed.Looks like this.
     
  7. mcdermottc

    mcdermottc

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    thanks maltaron

    I had wondered if this might be ok, I could have a front piece cut from the beech solid wood worktop, which could then hide the timber support underneath.

    Would I need to leave a gap around the edge of the solid wood worktop for expansion / contraction ? or could I but right upto the wall ?

    cheers

    chis
     
  8. mcdermottc

    mcdermottc

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    thanks foxhole

    do you mean create a two layer worktop like you show support on the three walls by the timber supports ? sorry im a bit thick when it comes to DIY sometimes

    cheers
     
  9. foxhole

    foxhole

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    Yes , double layer only needs to be at front, maybe 100mm wide to add support and just sit on batons all round.
     
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  11. misterhelpful

    misterhelpful

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    If you choose to use a thinner top like the timberboard or MDF, you can cut a couple of notches in each side support batten to put 2 lengths of 14mm steel or threaded rod (threaded could be a bit rough on your legs if the shelf is fairly low) across the span so they finish flush with the top of the battens. Set the front one back just far enough so that it's not visible and the other one at the mid point.
    These should give more than adequate support for a monitor and other lighter bits and bobs to sit on the shelf without it warping. I did this in the alcove in one of my nephew's bedrooms with an old side panel of a wardrobe (approx 1500mm wide 500mm deep and 15mm thick) and it supported a 20" CRT TV with built in video recorder, 2 games consoles and the associated clutter without any signs of warping and was there for a good 5 years. Only took it out last summer to fit a drum kit in the bedroom! :eek:
     
  12. mcdermottc

    mcdermottc

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    Thanks misterhelpful

    Thats a good idea about having the extra support underneath ! think thats the way to go.

    If I used the solid wood finish would I need to leave a gap around the 3 edges to allow for expansion ? I read somewhere that solid wood is likely to expand in homes with central heating.

    Also on a slightly seperate topic - I am likely to have a fair bit of the worktop left over and wondered if these could be used for shelving above the desk. Is solid wood a good idea for shelving ?

    If I did this I would prefer not to use brackets but create some kind of floating shelf. Traditional alcove shelving would use a similar support batten on the 3 walls - is this the best way to go or is there better/easier options which would give a floating effect

    Could I just cut some battens out of the worktop to keep it looking all the same ?

    cheers
     
  13. foxhole

    foxhole

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    2mm is enough on the length for expansion nothing on the width as it's not enclosed.Simple way to install shelves in alcove it to put screws in wall , leave them protruding 10mm and tap shelf on to them, this marks them, remove and cut a small slot at each position, then drop shelf back on and screws with disappear into underside of shelf, this method requires shelf to be at least 25mm thick to work.
     
  14. mcdermottc

    mcdermottc

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    Thanks foxhole

    How much weight could the shelves using solid wood using this method take

    Cheers
     
  15. foxhole

    foxhole

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    Depends on timber depth, it's no weaker than using batons since the force on the screw is the same.A 30mm thick timber will take you sitting on it, assuming you are not a super heavyweight. ;)
     
  16. mcdermottc

    mcdermottc

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    Hi

    I have finally got round to starting this project and started tonight marking out where the wall studs are for screwing timber supports to sit the desktop on.

    The main problem I have (as ive tried to show in the picture with studs marked by red circles) is that the studs on the rear wall are right in the corners (as expected i guess) and so are the studs on the side wall. If I screwed the rear wall timber support into the studs I wouldnt have room to screw into the studs on the side wall (nearest the rear wall) as the screws would be right at the end of the timber support and could split the wood.

    Can anyone suggest the best mixture of where to screw into studs and where perhaps to use toggle bolts (where studs are not located).
    I was thinking of screwing into the 3 studs on the rear wall and the front 2 studs on the right wall and then using a toggle bolt on the right wall (towards the back). On the left wall I was thinking of screwing into the stud at the front and then again use a toggle bolt on the left wall (towards the back)

     
  17. big-all

    big-all

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    the side supports are the most important in this instant
    using a bradawl or small screwdriver find the edge off the timber on the back wall
    if theres not enough meat to go in at right angles go in at 22 or 45 degrees

    also a plasterboard plug every 300mm/12" will give you more than enough support to the back edge as long as the ends are well supported
     
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