July 16th, 2024

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

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

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