December 11th, 2017

PlanetKeene Desk Instructions

I am posting the following instructions to accompany a great video which was posted by PlanetKeene on YouTube. I followed these instructions myself to help build the desk. The source video is embedded below:

Tim (aka PlanetKeene) is sadly no longer with us. He died suddenly this past New Year’s eve. His wife and friends want to continue to send out the instructions for the desk. To assist in this effort, I have posted the full detailed instructions (which Tim emailed me) here on my blog for those who might want them.

The instructions, directly from the author of the video:
These instructions are rather specific, but that was because I wanted the hutch openings to hold rack-mounted units. You may not want to do this, so your measurements could vary as much as necessary. Below is the majority of the information for this desk. There are some time markers in parenthesis to see what that instruction relates to. You might want to print this email out, and use the measurements to draw up your own plan.

The desktop measures 70 1/4″ x 27″.

The top of the hutch measures 60 3/16″ x 12″. This allowed for the three openings to measure exactly 19 1/16″ to accommodate rack-mounted gear.

The hutch dividers measure 5 3/4″ x 12″. This allows for 3 rack-mounted units stacked in each opening.

The long 2″x6″ measures 68 3/4″. It should be held in 3/4″ from each end of the desktop, and it should be flush with the back of the desktop. This allows for the top of the cabinet to cover the 2″x6″ framework, as well as a lip edge on both ends that the desktop (See 1:50 to 2:00) will set upon.

The four 2″x6″ under the desktop measure 25 1/2″ to the long-point of a 45° cut.

Each cabinet side measures 30 1/4″ x 21 1/2″ (See 4:34 to 4:44). With the 3/4″ plywood on top, your desk will be 31″ tall. You can change the long measurement here if you want the desk taller or shorter than 31″.

For the framing at the bottom of each cabinet (See 10:32 to 10:49), I cut three pieces of pine 1×4. One piece 19 3/4″ and two pieces 12″. I suggest you use a piece of the plywood left over and cut a piece, with the grain, that is 3 1/2″ wide and19 3/4″ in length. You will locate this piece as a kick plate in the front of each cabinet. You can see where you need to locate this piece of plywood here (See 10:09 to 10:13). At the bottom of each cabinet, measure in 3/4″ from the back, and 1 1/2″ from the front. Put the long 1×4 on the marks, flush with the bottom of the cabinet, and attach using six #8 1 1/4″ wood screws (See 4:55 to 5:03).

Nail the 12″ pieces to the two 19 3/4″ pieces you just attached (See 5:08 to 5:20) using three #8 finish nails. You should drill pilot holes for these nails. I use finish nails here because using screws near the end of 1×4 material can cause it to split.

For the middle shelf, I cut two pieces of 1×2 measuring 21 1/2″. Attach one to each side, using three #8 1 1/4″ wood screws. You can place this shelf about midway, or at whatever height is best for you. You could probably leave one middle shelf out, but they do tend to stabilize the desk fairly well.

Cut two shelves measuring 12″ x 21 1/2″ from your remaining plywood. Drill pilot holes, countersink optional, and attach through the cabinet side to the shelf using three #8 1 1/4″ wood screws.

You will need to cut a 1 9/16″ x 5 9/16″ notch on the upper, back corner, on the inside of each cabinet (See 10:25 to 10:29). This is to allow the long 2×6 to be flush with the outside of each cabinet. You can also see this notch here (9:31) and here (See 10:01 to 10:07). After you align the cabinets, you can rest the desktop on this notch before you ease it down into place.

Secure the lower shelf using the instructions for securing the middle shelf above. You will do all of this twice, once for each cabinet.

You will need to cut a 1 9/16″ x 5 9/16″ notch on the upper corner, on the inside of each cabinet (See 10:25 to 10:29). This is to allow the long 2×6 to be flush with the outside of each cabinet. You can also see this notch here (9:31) and here (See 10:01 to 10:07). You can rest the top here before you flip it down.

You can see how I attached the hutch here (11:25 to 11:52). I only used two T-Plates, but you can use four if you like. Once you put your first rack-mounted unit in place, this will help in keeping the hutch just that much sturdier.

If you use a countersink bit, be careful not to drill too deep. You only need to break the surface of the plywood so that the screw head will be counter-sunk enough to allow a decent amount of wood putty.

You can put as many coats of polyurethane as you like. I only used two, but three might be just a bit better. Also I only put poly on the top, sides, and trim of the hutch, and the desk top itself, you might consider doing more… Cabinets and trim, keyboard shelf, etc…

[The instructions that follow are for the keyboard shelf that I installed using under-desk mounted gliders. I will very likely replace these with side-mounted glides on the sides of the cabinets. I might suggest that you use the runner/glides that attach to the sides of each cabinet for a bit more clearance if you want. I liked the looks of the under-desk brackets is why I used them, however, I think that the side-mounted type would be more practical. I think all of these desks, that I have links for below, have side-mounted keyboard shelf glides. If you haven’t purchased yours yet, you might want to consider these as a slightly better option than the under-desk mounted type I used in the video.]

I lowered the keyboard to accommodate my Oxygen49 MIDI controller. I did this by cutting eight blocks of wood from my remaining plywood. You can use any one-by material that is 3/4″ wide. The blocks measure 2″ x 5″.

For the keyboard shelf, determine the location of your glide brackets (See 12:37) under the desk. Attach four blocks under the desk, centered for the glide brackets to be attached to, using #8 1 1/4″ wood screws. Attach another block to the first blocks, using the same type wood screws (See 12:46) This will give you an additional 1 1/2″ of clearance.

Parts List:
Materials List for “How To Build A Home Recording Studio Workstation”

(2) 4’x8′ 3/4″ Oak Hardwood Plywood ~ $89.94
(1) 10′ 2″x6″ Pine ~ $6.23
(1) 8′ 2″x6″ Pine ~ $5.12
(2) 6′ 1″x4″ Pine ~ $7.42
(1) 8′ 1″x2″ Pine ~ $4.45
(1) 2’x4′ ¼” Luan Panel ~ $5.89 (cut to fit on back of side cabinets)
(8) 3″x1/2″ Carriage Bolts, Nuts, & Washers ~ $9.76
#8 1 1/4″ Wood Screws ~ $5.58 (1 Box of 100) Attach 1″x2″ and 1″x4″ material to cabinet sides, and sides to middle and bottom shelf.
#10 1 1/2″ Wood Screws ~ $3.88 (2 Boxes of 20 ea.) Attach top to 2″x6″, and hutch top to dividers.
3″ Coarse Drywall Screws ~ $0.00 (I had these on hand, and used them to attach the long 2″x6″ on the back to the four 2″x6″ underneath the desktop.)
Assorted Sandpaper Pack ~ $4.97
Minwax Cherry Stain ~ $7.56 (1 Quart)
Minwax Pre-Stain ~ $5.98 (1 Pint)
Elmer’s Wood Filler ~ $3.27 (Small 4 oz.)
Minwax Polyurethane Semi-Gloss ~ $10.46 (1 Qt.) You won’t need this much, but it lasts a long time and was a better buy than a small can.
(1) Set of 16″ Keyboard Glides ~ $6.40
(2) 3″x3″ T-Plates ~ $5.56 (This is two packs of two each. I installed two additional T-Plates, for a total of four, though it is not shown in the video.)
44′ Screen Mold ~ $16.31
(5) 3″ Foam Brushes ~ $4.35

TOTAL = $203.13

OPTIONAL ITEMS
Countersink Bit ~ $8.27
Corner Bracket Levelers ~ $20.48 (2 Sets from local Woodcraft store)

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Susan // Jan 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Doug, thank you so much for doing this. You really have no idea how much your kindness has touched me. Thanks again.
    “Mrs. Planet Keene”

  • 2 giovanni rivera // Feb 2, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Great tutorial…thanks so much, You hade ne here studing this for over 6 hours taking notes and drawing pics to go to Home Depote to buy all the wood cot off already since i dont have space to do the jo and also dont have any tools…but i still gonna try this i need this for my online radio station equipment…once again Thanks so much
    i will send you a pics when i finish and set up….God Bless!

  • 3 Doug // Feb 9, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Giovanni, I appreciate your efforts, but you may not realize that I am not the author of this video. I have updated my post above to make it clear that the reason these instructions are here on my blog is that Tim (aka PlanetKeene) actually passed away. To help his wife continue to provide the instructions, I am posting these here so they may be linked from his video. Good luck on your efforts!

  • 4 Mars // Feb 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing these instructions! I’ve been dying to build a custom made studio desk for over 6 years now, but I never got to it since I have no carpenting skills whatsoever. This gives me a chance to finally make one! And to Mrs. Planet Keene, I’m greatly sorry for your loss.

  • 5 james // Mar 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    great work..really just amazing. Does anyone know how far the 2×6’s under the main desk are spaced apart? (The 2×6’s with the 45 degree point under the main desk)

  • 6 A friend // Mar 15, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Tim was a great person such a special voice. I will never forget him and his wonderful smile

  • 7 francisco paez // Mar 25, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Thank you Tim, from Guatemala.

  • 8 R.B // Mar 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    That’s for the wonderful tribute to Tim. Tim was a wonderful person. I have been watching his music videos they are so iinspiring. Tim was a precious gift and left behind many precious gifts.

  • 9 Victor // May 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you so much for this wonderful DIY project. My church has asked me to build a audio mixer table, and thanks to you, I am more than confident in doing so. God bless you family. PlanetKeene lives on. I appreciate the gift in the man and of the man. Thank you for sharing the gift.

  • 10 Sammy // Jul 25, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Thanks Time Really Beats the Purpose You Rock even though your Gone, want you to know you did Great living in Earth Bro!

  • 11 Tony // Dec 30, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    i don’t know what to say. I came upon this video a few months ago wanting to build a studio desk and not pay outrageous $$$. I when I first saw it I said “There has to be an easier way!” Then I let the fire die as the issues of life clouded my ambition. Having acquired reference monitors I have been coveting for a while, I can no longer put off a studio desk. So here I am back at this site. I have read that the creator of this desk is no longer with us. I am deeply saddened. I have never met him, but he has inspired me to get off my lazy duff and get this done. His attention to detail while being thrifty is amazing! May God bless his family. I share your grief for the loss of your loved one. I’ve never met him, but he has touched and inspired me. Thank you for keeping this DIY up that others may be inspired!

  • 12 Pascal Scherer // Jan 8, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Hi

    I am very interested in building my desk from this plan because it just looks perfect, Just wanted to know, are the space between the desk and screens tablet good for rackmounts or is it too wide ? Thanks so much, email me please !

  • 13 Pascal Scherer // Jan 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Oh never mind, didn’t see you had rackmounts in your video ! My bad

  • 14 LeRoy // Nov 19, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Thank you for continuing to show this fantastic instructional video. Just the right audio desk I needed. Tim seem to enjoy working on this. I too am saddened at his passing, An all time favorite video,

  • 15 Anthony Spencer // Apr 8, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    the four 25 1/2 pices under the main table which attaches to the long back frame, what are the distances between those 45 degree angle pieces? looks like two ends are a foot apart from the inner piece am i correct?

  • 16 Doug // Apr 8, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Anthony, it’s been a while since I built mine, but look at 9:33 in the video and notice how the two edges fit perfectly inside the walls of the cabinet it is setting onto. So the OUTER edge of the 2×6 will be the exact width of the shelf in your hutch. Put another way, if your shelf is 12″ wide, and since a 2×6 is really 1.5″ in width, then each set of the two 2×6 braces will be 12 – 1.5 – 1.5 = 9″ apart. Just verified with my own desk: yes, they are 9″ apart. Maybe I could have started there. 🙂

  • 17 Sonny // Mar 30, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Hi, I have a quick question….I don’t understand this part, why only cut 3 pieces? “For the framing at the bottom of each cabinet (See 10:32 to 10:49), I cut three pieces of pine 1×4. One piece 19 3/4? and two pieces 12?. I suggest you use a piece of the plywood left over and cut a piece, with the grain, that is 3 1/2? wide and19 3/4? in length. You will locate this piece as a kick plate in the front of each cabinet. You can see where you need to locate this piece of plywood here (See 10:09 to 10:13). At the bottom of each cabinet, measure in 3/4? from the back, and 1 1/2? from the front”

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