So, I've had this desk for a few years now, and I just bought a cable tray that needs to be screwed in. It would go under the desk

My fear is that the tray won't hold if I screw it in, or that it could damage/rip the desk top seeing that the top has a hollow core

Any advice?

  • This isn't really on-topic for this SE. Might be more appropriate for DIY. But I don't think you have the right hardware. That tray is for installation to a top that has pre-drilled holes ready to accept those "lag bolts". I'd go with (self-tapping or not) coarse thread screws, and install using those in pilot holes you drill yourself.
    – jdv
    Jun 24 '20 at 14:27
  • Wayfair lists the top as hollow core, so I would not recommend screwing anything into it.
    – Ashlar
    Jun 25 '20 at 22:43

You would not be able to use those machine screws to attach the tray directly to the desk.

You would either have to drill holes and insert a T-nut with a matching M6x12 thread, or you would need to replace the machine screws with an appropriate length x thickness wood screw.

Your concern about it ripping out if you mount it into the hollow-core section is absolutely spot on. You would, as Programmer66 said need to mount it along the back edge of the desktop where the solid wood (well, MDF) is located. To determine where the MDF ends, knock on the edge of the desk and listen to the sound, move in an inch or so and knock again, listening to the sound. Continue moving in until the sound changes - it should sound "hollow", or at least "different", somewhere toward the middle than it does at the edge. It is most likely that the solid filling takes up 1 1/2" in from the desk edge at most.

  • 1
    Excellent answer. The OP may also be able to use hollow core door anchors made specifically for the thin skin of hollow doors if the some of the holes do not line up with solid material. The weight of the unit and the cords should not tax the thin skin of the table if there are several anchors. amazon.com/TOGGLER-Toggle-Hollow-Door-Polypropylene-Fastener/dp/…
    – Alaska Man
    Jun 25 '20 at 17:20
  • Awesome, I didn't know such a thing existed!
    – FreeMan
    Jun 25 '20 at 17:24
  • For the t-nut, if i'm screwing to the bottom of the desk, the t-nut would have to go on the top? so i can screw in all the way? Would you recommend the hollow door anchors instead? I would be able to use 4 of them to spread the load Jul 8 '20 at 18:57
  • If I understand you correctly, yes, the T-nut is inserted into a predrilled hole in the bottom side of the desk surface (you will have to drill the hole, of course). Usually they're hammered in so the barbs will dig into the surface to prevent the insert from turning. Then you screw the machine screws into the T-nut. I cannot recommend for or against the anchors as I've never used one. I would think that its use may be curtailed by the precise construction of the desk top you're screwing into - if it's got a honeycomb interior, there may not be enough room for the anchor to spread.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 8 '20 at 19:19

Screwing the tray on the bottom flush with the back edge should not be a problem. Moving the tray away from the back edge toward the forward would become problematic depending where the hollow-core begins. Normally the edges are good for an inch or 1-1/2 in.

Don't expect to mount it down the middle.

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