Options other than butting together two long plywood panels to make the desktop?

Working remotely and need a double desk for my wife and I. We have a great wide window at the end of a room that is ~11' wide and were thinking of a full length 11 deep 2' wide top with drawers on each side and a center cabinet to store our printer and provide support to the desktop.

As always price is a factor as well as aesthetics.

Wife wants a dark wood(e.g) top and painted drawers/cabinet.

Considering birch plywood for the drawers/cabinets(which will be painted) and a nice grade hardwood plywood for the top. Problem: I recognize that sheet goods are 8x4 and I'm worried about having regrets if I butt two long pieces together end to end and have a seam in the middle. I looked into hardwood veneer but it would need to be custom ordered and I'm nervous about getting a good adhesion.

Just deal with the end to end plywood joint? Other options I should consider?

Have limited shop tools (table/drillpress/router/small jointer&planer/hand power tools). Small budget for any other necessities.

Thank you

  • Are you looking for something that looks like a formal desk? I can imagine two rehabilitated doors screwed together with glass on top. Or reclaimed lumber, again with glass. Having said that, it's not hard to make a nice joint in plywood, so I wouldn't worry about that too much. Plus, your size lends itself to using only a single sheet where you're exploiting factory edges, so you've got that going for you. Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 1:13
  • Are you committed to using plywood or are you open to using solid wood boards? Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 15:53
  • Plywood is available in longer lengths, i purchased a 10' piece to build a darkroom sink. I built a desk with a plywood but-joint and it was hardly noticeable, except for the change in direction of the grain, but the joint is smooth. Your desk will be straight so no need to change grain direction. diy.stackexchange.com/questions/114905/…
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 16:10
  • 2
    You could rotate the plywood so that the grain is perpendicular to the 11' width using three plywood panels to achieve the width. The joints would also be less visible butting with the grain than end to end..
    – Ashlar
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 16:17
  • I second (or third) the idea of using boards...either hardwood or softwood. I think you're likely to get a more visually pleasing and structurally robust result.
    – gnicko
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


As mentioned above solid lumber can be had in long lengths, also plywood can be had in in longer lengths a 12' would be difficult and expensive to get. Turn a problem into a feature use an 8' piece with 2' cross grain (bread broad like) on the ends.

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