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Photographers Standing Desk

A simple pipe-based standing desk

September of last year my wife and I moved back from China (here, here). During the first few weeks of transition (read: no office, no studio) I found myself working in some interesting spaces. The most surprising space was on top of an old dresser my wife had from childhood. It was a stand up solution and since I’d been wanting to try a standing desk for quite a while it this was close enough.

After two weeks of standing my wife had two comments.

1.)   You’re  focused and productive standing up.
2.)  Get your crap off my dresser.

Fast forward five months later and a few office changes, I decided to build my own based off an idea that had been rattling around in my head for a long time.

THE BASICS (THE BEST I REMEMBER THEM):

  • The desk is 80″ x 32″ and about 50″ high. (I’m 6’5″+)
  • All of these parts are the pre cut standards at Lowe’s because I was short on time
  • 2x  - 80″ x 32″ hollow doors
  • 1x – 10″ x 6″ x 1″ board
  • Full piece of plywood
  • Full piece of trim, any wood that looks nice
  • All pipes are 3/4″ Black Pipe (with sections of galvanized)
  • 4x – Floor Flanges
  • 4x – Unions
  • 9x – 4.5″ nipples
  • 14x – 10″ threaded pipes
  • 4x – 5″ inch nipples
  • 11x – T-joints
  • 1x – close nipple
  • 13x -couplings
  • 3x – 72″ threaded pipes
  • 2x – 36″ threaded pipes
  • 2x – cross joints
 ________________________________________

Because about a dozen people emailed, instagrammed, and tweeted me for more details, I decided to write up an abbreviated form of how I did it.  If someone wants more information about the details of the build I will be happy to add information to this post or I can add a specific picture of a section you want.  But for now I think creative and critical minds can put the pieces together as to how it was built (and on how to improve it!).

If you are interested, see my build notes in the expandable section below.

 

BUILD NOTES:
  • The actual table top is built out of two Lowe’s stock hollow doors with cross cut 2″ x 6″s in between the two between the 32″ in length like a sandwich.  This creates a hallow space that allows me to store cables actually inside of the table top itself. I can run a cable anywhere under the table surface I want and only have a few chords showing.
  • The top is just nice trim board I bought (80″ x 32″).  I glued and nailed it to the doors on the top to add extra strength and also a surface I’d be comfortable working on.
  • Under the table I added a cheap piece of plywood to screw the floor flanges into.  This is important because the tables two hollow stock door surfaces won’t take the wood screws and if there is any torque applied to the desk you don’t want the floor flanges separating from the table top.
  • I recommend using four cross beams under the table because it gives you the ability to stack things under the desk.  With the size of the desk and using a thinner pipe, this was important.
  • The unions are needed because any plumber will tell you that if you are building ‘circles’ or closed loops, you will end up with two lengths of pipe facing each other and no way to really connect them tightly.
  • One of the bottom cross beams is two 36″ pipes connected with a T-joint in the middle (with a supporting section going to the ground).  Because of this the second cross beam needs a coupling + the short nipple on it to make of the for the length added to the length of the table.
  • If you’ve ever worked with black pipe, you know it’s greasy.  Make sure you clean it all off or use gloves.
  • Make sure you add couplings to the bottom of each leg.  This does three things.  1) You can add height if you want/or need by adding another length of pipe.  2) It helps not scratch the floor 3) You can tighten or loosen the couplings in order to level the table.
IF I HAD TO DO IT AGAIN:
  • Don’t use hollow doors.  If you have the time there are better solutions out there (like solid wood!).  This was a project I had to finish quickly in order to get back to work, so I made due with what I could buy at the hardware store.  Again, be different.  Improve on what I did.  You won’t have to add the plywood or trim top if you don’t do it the way I did it.
  • Go to a local, smaller hardware store.  They are cheaper and generally more interested in your project
  • I would have built a platform on top of the desk for the monitor stands vs. stacking lumber
  • Buy your floor flanges online.  Lowe’s or Home Depot will cost you about $8+ per flange.  You can get them for ~$4 online.

 

    

 

  • http://www.facebook.com/israel.jernigan Israel Jernigan

    I love custom built desks! Hand building and creativity go hand-in-hand. ;)

    • brianhirschy

      So true!

  • Ray Liu

    Looks like a studio in 798. 春节快乐!

    • brianhirschy

      我是艾未未!春节快乐