100% Reclaimed wood retro desk

I’ve been looking to make a piece of furniture for a while now and I’m excited to say I’ve finally finished my first major piece.  From all the inspiration on Pinterest I found the perfect design that I’d model my very own desk on.  The retro look is on a comeback at the moment and this desk just screamed style.  I also thought it would look perfect in my 60s house.  Not only that but the desk is made from 100% reclaimed wood thanks to my friend Martine for contacting me before disposing of her built in wardrobe.  It may only be pine wood but I think the end result is quite remarkable and should be quite durable with the several layers of protective oil I’ve added.

So here’s a quick guide and step by step of how I got this pile of pine to look like this.

Tool list:

  • Circular saw
  • Table saw
  • Router and router bits
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Hand saw
  • Ratchet straps
  • F clamps
  • G clamps
  • Wood glue

Reclaimed materials list:

  • Pine from wardrobe
  • Pallet wood
  • Handles
  • Left over laminate flooring
  • Drawer runners from old set of drawers

Step one.  Making the rectangle top section.  Before you start decide how wide and tall you want the desk to be.  The standard desk height is around 750mm (29 1/2 inches).  My desk is 1500mm (59 inches) wide.  I started by cutting the lengths required using the circular saw to make the mitre joints.  I used a piece of straight wood to guide the saw down the cut.  I then lined them all up and prepared them for glueing and tightening with the ratchet straps.  Using a couple of F clamps also helped produce a good contact down the length of the wood.


Step two.  The legs are made from the support sections of a small pallet.  I cut them into a tapering point using a basic jig on the table saw and rounded the corners with the router.  Using a thick piece of wood from the old wardrobe as the leg supports I cut out sections to allow for a strong anchor point.  To further strengthen the join I used wooden pins.

Step three.  The drawers were relatively straight forward.  The runners and the drawers had to be carefully measured to ensure a tight but smooth fit.  Using the table saw I cut the lengths and grooves for the draw bottom which was made from some spare laminate flooring.  All parts were glued together and the handles screwed into place.  I also wanted this desk to be suitable for the modern worker and hide unsightly cables behind one of the drawers.  Therefore I made the right hand drawer 100mm shorter than the other and built in a hidden shelf behind so that power cables and such could sit neatly out of sight.


Step four.  Painting and oiling the wood.  I wanted to leave a nice protective finish on all the wood so I treated to top with a dark stained Danish oil and finished off with 4 coats of Osmo Top Oil (Clear Matt).  The legs are painted with a white furniture paint by Rust-oleum.


Step five.  Fixing the legs to ensure a strong standing desk.  Simply screwing these legs to the top wasn’t going to leave a good strong join so I had to glue them.  I didn’t want the screws to be visible so I used a Kreg Jig to cut the holes and covered them up with dowel.


After a bit of sanding and retouching the paint the job was done.


It wasn’t all smooth sailing.  As I said, I’m new to this as my first piece so there were plenty of learning experiences to remember for next time:

  • Store all wood flat.  Over a relatively short period of time wood will warp if standing upright.  Thats what happened with this pine which made it difficult to work with as the wood had bowed.  All the remaining pieces I have are now stored flat on the floor.
  • When working with a mitre joint, ensure the cuts are perfect.  Try a couple of practice cuts before doing the actual cut.  My circular saw didn’t quite cut a 45 degree angle which made it impossible to get a good fit when glueing.
  • Take your time to ensure a good cut.  Some of the hand made cuts could have been better to ensure a nice clean join.
  • Measure twice and cut once.  I’m still not getting this right and making silly little mistakes.

Thanks for reading.  Please leave a comment or contact me if you’d like one of your own. I can make custom sizes to suit your requirements.  Also take a look at my other items on Etsy.

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