As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.  

Walking Desk

 

 

One of my friends asked for some help in building a "Walking Desk" for his office...

A walking desk, is basically a standing desk, that is built to fit over a treadmill, so that you can work while you walk.

What made this project manageable, was the particular treadmill that my friend found. He found information on a forum that directed him to this treadmill on Amazon. (Link below) This is a pretty basic treadmill, but the big advantage is that the control box is easily removed from the upright arms. So you can assemble the treadmill without the arms. All we have is the basic treadmill at floor level, and the control box is attached to it just via a wire.

In terms of measurements the length doesn't really matter. The width and the height are the important ones. This treadmill was about 20" wide, and about 4" tall.

My friend wanted a fairly compact design, his goal was something about 18" deep and 24" wide. I needed to make it a bit wider, to accommodate the width of the treadmill. In terms of height, we found some online guides that stated that a stand-up desk should be roughly elbow height, so if you stand with your arms bent, they should rest easily on the desk. We started with this measurement, based on my friend's height, and added 4 inches to that, to allow for the height of the treadmill, and ended up with a table height of 49".

At the bottom of this page is a second video in which I walk through the entire process of designing this desk in Sketchup.

In terms of material, I intended to make most of this out of reclaimed material. Another friend gave me some large slabs from old church pews. So I had these big wide flat panels to use for the top and other structure. I also had some 6/4 ash (in the right side of the photo) to glue up for the legs.

I jointed the ash and then glued them up to make thick leg blanks. I jointed and planed the resulting leg blanks.

I then ripped them down into 2"x2" blanks.

... and cut them down to length, clamping them together to make sure that they all were exactly the same length.

There were a few knots in the legs that I wanted to fill with epoxy. This is going to be a stained project, so I also added a few drops of stain to the epoxy to try and give it a bit of a more darker look.

I decided to taper the bottom 12" of the legs, on the two inside faces. In terms of woodworking styles I generally prefer Shaker and Mission types of furniture, and tapering the legs is from the shaker style.

A lot of people use a tapering jigs for this sort of cut. I don't have such a jig, and I just freehand these cuts through my bandsaw.

I then sanded the tapers flat on the stationary belt sander.

The next step was to break down the old church pew to make the top and the crosspieces.

 

I needed to strip off the old finish, as it was too dark and too brown. I hooked the sander up to the shop vac, put on a respirator, and started using up all kinds of 80-grit sandpaper disks.

And then things fell apart.

literally.

As I was nearing the end of sanding the piece for the top, I noticed a hairline crack in the piece. I stopped and gave the panel a little twist, and it completely broke apart.

That was a good time to take a break for lunch and get out of the shop for some reflection.

I decided to make a small change in direction, and I pulled out some nice oak plywood and cut it up to make a new desk top. (I did have some more pieces of the pew, but I did not want to through another long sanding/stripping session...)

I also ripped some strips of ash down to make 1/4" thick edge banding for the plywood, and glued and pinned them into place.

I put the smallest roundover bit in my router table and I rounded over all the edges of the desk legs. This gives it a much gentler feel, and it makes it easier to apply finish -- sharp edges are very hard to finish.

I love my dowelmax jig, and I used it again on this project. I used three 1-1/2" x 1/4" dowels at each joint.

Assembling the leg assemblies.

I normally prefer a clear coat, but in this case we needed to try and match some bookcases that were already in the office. So I selected the closest matching stain that I could find and stained all the pieces.

After the stain was dry and cured I gave it a very light sanding with 220 to knock down the grain and then applied four coats of wipe-on polyurethane.

I finished the top separately from the bottom, to make my job easier. When the finish was dry I attached the top to the base using pocket holes.

Here below are some photos of the finished desk installed in my friends office with the treadmill in place. If you watch the video above you can see him walking on it.

 

 

Thanks for reading!

See Also:


Office Side Table


Writing Desk in a Weekend