DIY Live Edge Wood Desk

If you read my post last week, I mentioned the boys room as a project I wanted to cross off my to-do list this year. It’s pretty much done – I only have a few smaller things to add and finish up. But I decided I’d start sharing a few of the finished projects before the full room tour…because who knows when I’ll feel ready to share that! I shared the rattan light that we made last fall, as well as the DIY for the hanging paper roll. So many of you loved the desk that we made for their room so we’re sharing the DIY behind that today! (And yes, for those that are observant, the wall color changed behind the desk. 😳 I had it black for about a year, and while I loved the color and how it looked, I just really struggled with picking out decor items for a dark wall. I tend to like a lot of dark greys and blacks, so everything I was finding just blended into the wall and I was feeling really frustrated with that. Plus the black brought out more of a yellow tone in the wood of the desk, so I wasn’t loving that either. So Mike repainted the wall – what a guy!). We also have 2 chairs for the desk, the boys share it; but I took one out for the shoot so you could see the desk in all it’s glory, since that’s the shining star today.
It’s not always easy (or cheap!) to obtain large wood slabs, but we came up with a way that might make getting one giant wood slab a little easier. This is actually 2 smaller wood slabs, glued together to form one piece. Smaller pieces tend to be a little cheaper, as well as easier to find. Mike made our coffee table in the living room the same way a few years ago. After planning about a dozen different desk ideas for the boys room and changing my mind 100 times, we finally settled on a wall mounted desk, and still had some live edge pieces to use, so we used a couple of those to make the desk. (Our wood came from a dead tree out back that a friend of a friend was able to cut up for us). Mike also made the shelf supports underneath the desk; originally I ordered a set of black steel supports, but ended up running into issues with the company I had ordered from, so we made our own. I didn’t intend to share those as a DIY, because I thought we’d be using steel ones eventually, so there’s no step photos for that, but the how-to steps for that are included below. (You can also tell from the step photos how long ago we shot these photos – green grass!)DIY Live Edge Wood Desk @themerrythoughtDIY Live Edge Wood Desk @themerrythoughtFor the desk:

What you need:

– 2 wood slabs (we used spalted maple)
– straight board (to use as a cutting guide)
– circular saw
– power planer
– wood glue
– clamps
– orbital sander
– clear polyurethane finish
DIY Live Edge Wood Desk @themerrythoughtDIY Live Edge Wood Desk @themerrythoughtDirections:

Decide which edge of the two boards you want to be the front edge.

Clamp a straight board as a cutting guide, setting it so that the blade will cut off the back edge of
the board. Cut with a circular saw.

Do the same thing with one edge of the other board.

Use a power planer to clean up both of these edges.

Push the two cleaned edges together and make sure they fit tightly together along the whole length.

Apply and spread glue along one of the edges, make sure to cover the entire edge.

Using clamps, clamp the two boards together checking for flatness; we had to clamp a board on top and on the bottom to keep it flat in one spot.

After the glue has dried unclamp and scrape off any excess glue.

Decide how deep you want the desk to be and using the straight board and circular saw, cut the top to that depth.

Cut the ends off square and to length desired.

Sand the top and apply finish.DIY Live Edge Wood Desk @themerrythoughtFor the supports:

What you need:

– maple boards:
2 pieces: 1” x 1-1/2” x 19”
2 pieces: 1” x 1-1/2” x 14”
2 pieces: 3/4” x 1-1/2” x 17-1/2”
– table saw
– dado blade
– framing square
– scrap wood
– drill + drill bits
– wood glue
– 2-1/2-inch screws
– clamp
– 5/16 x 3” lag screws
– 1-5/8″ screws – this size will be determined by the thickness of your desk top


Using a 1/2” dado blade on the table saw, set at a 45 degree angle, cut a dado across the 1-1/2” side of the 19” pieces of wood; 12” from the end to the long edge of the dado. The dado needs to be deep enough so that there is an 1/8” lip on the short side of the dado.

Cut a dado 11” from the end of the 14” pieces at the same depth.

On a flat surface, lay a 19” piece on its edge and a 14” piece perpendicular to it and even with the back of the 19” piece. With the 19” piece overlapping it, make sure the dados are oriented toward each other. Using a framing square, make sure that they are sitting square to each other and measure the distance from the bottom of one dado to the bottom of the other. This is the length that the two 17-1/2” pieces need to be cut to.

Using the table saw with the dado blade set back to 90 degrees, use a scrap piece of wood and set the saw to cut a rabbit 1/4” deep, and set the fence to be a 1/2” from the blade. Make the cut in the scrap piece of wood and check to see how it fits into the dado. Once you have the saw adjusted so that you get a snug fit, cut your cross braces (the 17-1/2” pieces) with the 1-1/2” side against the fence and the end against the table. Make the same cut on the other end, keeping the piece oriented the same way.

Drill two 3/16” holes on the top back of the 19” pieces, 1/2” in from the end and 3/4″ apart. Hold it in place against the top of the 14” piece and pre-drill for screws using a 3/32” drill bit.

Dry fit the pieces together to make sure everything will come together as planned. Spread wood glue in the dado’s, slide the cross brace into the dado and using 2-1/2” screws, fasten the pieces together.

Use a clamp to hold the cross brace tight in the dado’s until the glue dries, repeat with the other support.

Drill a hole through near the top of the 14” pieces that your lag bolt will go through and one below the cross brace.

Locate the studs on the wall you want to attach your desk to and mark a line at the height you want your desk to be minus the thickness of the desk top.

Place your support on the wall, and make sure the top is even with the line and that it is plumb. Pre-drill into the stud using the correct size bit for the size lag bolts you have.

Screw the lag bolt through the support into the wall and repeat with the other support.

Drill a 3/16” hole in the front of each of the supports, 3” back from the front edge and centered.

Set the desk top on the supports, and using the correct length screw (it will be determined by the thickness of your desk), fasten the top to the supports.DIY Live Edge Wood Desk @themerrythoughtDIY Live Edge Wood Desk @themerrythought
p.s. – did you notice that the hanging paper roll is slightly crooked?! It’s bugging me soooo much – but I could not get it to hang right and gave up on it being straight…but ughh! 😜


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