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Looking for suggestions for a desktop -- to go on top of standing desk frame

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[OP]
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Jun 3, 2010
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Looking for suggestions for a desktop -- to go on top of standing desk frame

Hi everyone. I'm thinking of getting a standing desk since I am going to be working from home moving forward...I am leaning towards just buying a dual motor frame (probably a MotionGrey) and attach a desktop on top of it.

I'm thinking this gives me the most versatility in terms of desktop size, as I do not need to be confined by the preset sizes that companies sell.

Of course, this leads me to my question....WHERE do I go and buy this desktop?

Some of the people here on RFD has suggested buying the Ikea countertops, which seem pretty nice, except they are like 60" and larger. I only have space for 48" x 36" max...So I need something significantly smaller.

I know it won't necessarily be cheap...but I am hoping to find a desktop that I will like. If it is half decent, I don't mind spending some money on it. I have thought about custom build too...but that might be too much money to pay...

I have a dual monitor setup (2 x 24" Dell P series) on a dual monitor stand that is clamped onto the desk -- current setup. I want to find some desktop that could handle the prolonged weight of the two monitors on it without sagging / warping too much. So any suggestion on materials would also be appreciated...would MDF be OK, or do I need to stick with solid wood?

Other than the two monitors, the desk will be basic stuff...a desk lamp, laptop, keyboard, mouse, phone...so minimal weight otherwise.

Thanks for your suggestions....
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Jun 26, 2019
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toram23901 wrote: Some of the people here on RFD has suggested buying the Ikea countertops, which seem pretty nice, except they are like 60" and larger. I only have space for 48" x 36" max...So I need something significantly smaller.
How handy are you? Assuming you are in RH you could drop into CML (Century Mill Lumber) and get them to joint up a 48" x 36" table top for your in any lumber of your choice. Would be the cost of lumber maybe + $100 to dress it and cut it to size? Could ask them for a quote.

Then you could get them to do more maybe, or if you have a handheld router can finish the edges and then can finish it with a hardwax/oil thats pretty simple.

Or could just go with ikea and cut it.
[OP]
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SubjectivelyObjective wrote: How handy are you? Assuming you are in RH you could drop into CML (Century Mill Lumber) and get them to joint up a 48" x 36" table top for your in any lumber of your choice. Would be the cost of lumber maybe + $100 to dress it and cut it to size? Could ask them for a quote.

Then you could get them to do more maybe, or if you have a handheld router can finish the edges and then can finish it with a hardwax/oil thats pretty simple.

Or could just go with ikea and cut it.
Was going to say "not very handy", but the truth is that I am not handy at all. I am all about the tech, handcrafting is really not my forte. Not having the tools and space to "finish" off the table top would also be a problem. Not really interested in buying more tools to be used once. I have the basic tools to fix up things around the house...but woodworking / carpentry, I don't have those.

I'm probably thinking that there is probably a place that will "finish" it for me as well. Custom built table top...like they do custom glass.
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Can go to CML and get a quote for a full finished product. That might be your best bet for quality and bang for buck for a custom job.

Although its a small project, I just don't have time.

Maybe ask @Jon Lai . I think he does custom stuff and is in the RH area?

Edit, failed at tagging, trying again.
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Sep 1, 2005
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IKEA skratch and dent is good place to look for a top for your desk.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
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Structube sells them. I bought my dual motor lift from PrimeCables (great base) and I was lucky enough to find a used Structube desk top for $20 on Kijiji.

The holes in the desk top for screws lined up 100% with the desk from Prime Cables making the install a 5 minute exercise.

They come in a couple of different sizes and colours.

https://www.structube.com/en_ca/lifttop ... ?pid=26515
[OP]
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Thanks for the suggestions people. I think the desktop size I had in mind is just not standard. 48" wide isn't too bad, but a depth of 30" or a little more seems to be the killer measurement for finding ready made tops. A lot of them are 24" - 26" deep.

The current desk I am using is 39" x 24". It's usable, but on the cramped side when I put my stuff on top. Between the two monitors, docking station, laptop, writing tablet, desk lamp, phone, external keyboard and mouse, and a cup of coffee...that's pretty it for real estate.

I think I will have to look into custom work and suck it up in terms of pricing.
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toram23901 wrote: Thanks for the suggestions people. I think the desktop size I had in mind is just not standard. 48" wide isn't too bad, but a depth of 30" or a little more seems to be the killer measurement for finding ready made tops. A lot of them are 24" - 26" deep.

The current desk I am using is 39" x 24". It's usable, but on the cramped side when I put my stuff on top. Between the two monitors, docking station, laptop, writing tablet, desk lamp, phone, external keyboard and mouse, and a cup of coffee...that's pretty it for real estate.

I think I will have to look into custom work and suck it up in terms of pricing.
You might want to consider a custom (wide) keyboard tray. I find it's good for standing desks as you gain that space on rdesk and ergonomically everything just said better ie eye height in monitor and arm position for keyboard. If you do that 24" might be fine.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

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Jun 30, 2009
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Very interested in a similar setup. I’m good to do some sanding and staining g myself. What did you end up doing OP? Did you get a quote from century mills? I love some of the hardwoods they have
[OP]
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So getting back to this topic....I finally reached out to Century Mills Lumber. Basically I am looking for a 30"x50" desktop. This is the quote I was given - for Birch.

Baltic birch plywood

¾”x5’x5’ - $125.00+HST (will be cut to size)

$5.00 cut fee for extra cut (first cut is free)

Edge banding - $21.50+HST

Total = $151.50+HST


Birch 4/4

¾”x30”x50” (1”x36”x84”) = 21bdft x $8.25+HST/bdft = $173.25+HST

Shop time of 2 hours at $120.00+HST/hour = $240.00+HST

Total = $413.25+HST


To be honest, the price isn't too bad. I would lean towards just plywood because I honestly don't need slab wood for my desk. But what I cannot do is the sanding and staining afterwards. I was hoping that they would be able to finish it...but they don't do that work.

So...just a follow up question here for the group...Anyone know of a service where I can bring in a piece of wood / board / desktop and have someone sand and stain it for me?
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toram23901 wrote: So getting back to this topic....I finally reached out to Century Mills Lumber. Basically I am looking for a 30"x50" desktop. This is the quote I was given - for Birch.

Baltic birch plywood

¾”x5’x5’ - $125.00+HST (will be cut to size)

$5.00 cut fee for extra cut (first cut is free)

Edge banding - $21.50+HST

Total = $151.50+HST


Birch 4/4

¾”x30”x50” (1”x36”x84”) = 21bdft x $8.25+HST/bdft = $173.25+HST

Shop time of 2 hours at $120.00+HST/hour = $240.00+HST

Total = $413.25+HST


To be honest, the price isn't too bad. I would lean towards just plywood because I honestly don't need slab wood for my desk. But what I cannot do is the sanding and staining afterwards. I was hoping that they would be able to finish it...but they don't do that work.

So...just a follow up question here for the group...Anyone know of a service where I can bring in a piece of wood / board / desktop and have someone sand and stain it for me?
Why can't you do it? $5 worth of sandpaper, $10 for a small tin of Minwax a few rags and a ventilated place to do the work is all you need. Wax on, wax off.
[OP]
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torontotim wrote: Why can't you do it? $5 worth of sandpaper, $10 for a small tin of Minwax a few rags and a ventilated place to do the work is all you need. Wax on, wax off.
Because I am a totally NON manual labour type of person. Smiling Face With Open Mouth

I have never been good in a handy way, so although I know it is not expensive to do....I would put this off for a long time and end up having the slab of wood sitting in my garage for a couple of years before needing to throw it out because I never got around to treating / finishing it.
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toram23901 wrote: Because I am a totally NON manual labour type of person. Smiling Face With Open Mouth

I have never been good in a handy way, so although I know it is not expensive to do....I would put this off for a long time and end up having the slab of wood sitting in my garage for a couple of years before needing to throw it out because I never got around to treating / finishing it.
No need to be handy to apply the finish. Just pretend you're wiping/cleaning the table with an old t shirt or something like that
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Sep 28, 2003
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toram23901 wrote: Because I am a totally NON manual labour type of person. Smiling Face With Open Mouth

I have never been good in a handy way, so although I know it is not expensive to do....I would put this off for a long time and end up having the slab of wood sitting in my garage for a couple of years before needing to throw it out because I never got around to treating / finishing it.
Then why don't you buy it with a tabletop direct from MotionGrey? Maybe it costs $100-200 more but you seem to want the finished product and that seems within your price range if you were considering the ~$400 solid wood.
[OP]
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Sarc wrote: Then why don't you buy it with a tabletop direct from MotionGrey? Maybe it costs $100-200 more but you seem to want the finished product and that seems within your price range if you were considering the ~$400 solid wood.
This then gets into the "I want this specific size" problem. If asked to custom it, I would say 30" x 50". The MotionGrey desktops are 47"x24" or 55" x 28". The depth for these are not enough for me. Well, maybe 28" would be OK, but it is really just a few inches deeper than what I am using now and my desktop is cramped (depth wise). 30" and maybe a max of 34" is more in the useful range of what I want in my desk layout.

Width ... 47" would probably work...and 55" is going to be on the large size for my space.

My whole train of thought behind all of this is basically...

If I am just going to buy a standing desk frame and table top separately...Why settle for a table top that is MDF. Why not look for a wood core desktop. I don't mind spending on quality...But it looks like I'll have to settle on just getting some particle board / MDF table top. The good thing about that would be that if it warps later on, I can just buy a new one to replace it. It's relatively cheap to replace.
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toram23901 wrote: Because I am a totally NON manual labour type of person. Smiling Face With Open Mouth

I have never been good in a handy way, so although I know it is not expensive to do....I would put this off for a long time and end up having the slab of wood sitting in my garage for a couple of years before needing to throw it out because I never got around to treating / finishing it.
How badly do you want a custom sized top versus not doing the finishing yourself? :)

I consider myself a techy person and felt exactly the same way when I first picked up woodworking - I felt very nervous screwing up something I paid a lot of money for. But once I got over that hurdle.. well the rest is history.

Watch some videos on Youtube and see how you feel about it. Once you try it, you'll realize it's not as bad as you think it is. And if you do happen to screw up, well it's now your one and only unique table that you have an ice breaker to talk about.
[OP]
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You guys ARE making me rethink this and doing it myself...

It does give me an excuse to buy an sander....That would be another "gadget" I can have that I would seldom use...unless this wood finishing becomes a thing.....Smiling Face With Open Mouth
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Dec 11, 2013
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toram23901 wrote: You guys ARE making me rethink this and doing it myself...

It does give me an excuse to buy an sander....That would be another "gadget" I can have that I would seldom use...unless this wood finishing becomes a thing.....Smiling Face With Open Mouth
Orbital sanders are $15/day or $60/wk to rent: https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/tool-a ... 09106.html
Still need to buy the sanding discs though. That being said, cheap sanders can be had for as low as $50. Use it and pass it on to a friend!

But there are people who specialize in finishing. Here's an example I got from googling richmond hill furniture finishing: https://www.wonderfinishing.com/
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I suggest Ikea counter top.
The one i got 2 years back come with a trim pcs. If you need to cut, you can glue the trim back on the cut side.
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