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I have built a very simple desk out of laminated panels; two legs connected with a back board held by L brackets.

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Problem is it is still quite wobbly horizontally and I was hoping the back board would prevent it and it does, but not as much as I would like.

The top is not yet connected because I don't want to move further without a proper way to fix the wobble.

The connections have no play and they are flushed together, so I ruled out the possibility of the back board being kind of loose at the L connections which means I will have to add more support.

Problem is I can't see which is the ideal way to fix this while occupying the least amount of space.

I assume that just mounting the top will not prevent the wobble because this wobble is horizontal and the top will only prevent the legs from skewing, which is not related to the horizontal wobble.

enter image description here

So far I have thought about adding corner brackets between the legs and the top

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But I also thought the back board would be enough, so I might be wrong here and would like some help before moving on. Does anyone know how can I fix this horizontal wobble while occupying the least amount of space? Do take into account that there has to be space left at the front for the legs to come in while sitting, this is not a standing desk.

  • I'm certain @LeeG is right and once attached firmly the top will solve the problem with wobble. I'm so sure because I have an old desk which is built basically in exactly this way! It was a bit prone to wobble during assembly but once the top was attached it became very much more rigid. To attach the top you can use more of the same corner brackets although on mine dowels and glue were used. – Graphus Dec 30 '17 at 9:49
  • Incidentally if you used a pair of the metal brackets here on each side of the back this would immediately become much more solid and less prone to flex. – Graphus Dec 30 '17 at 9:49
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In the drawing there is already a back panel.
I see two options:

  • use another one on the down side of the side panels (but this can annoy when you use the bench)
  • you can try to use a bigger back panel, ideally it should have a height of at least half the side panels, from the top.

Also, personally I whould avoid the L shaped connectors: I whould screw the screw directly on the wood to be able to use some longer screws, as you probably have done for the top.

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  • I believe you might be right. After looking at similar simple desk designs using the same kind of panels I noticed that the back panel is at least half the leg height. I will try to add a taller one to see if the wobble is significantly reduced. – Shadow Dec 31 '17 at 20:23
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If the top is affixed to the sides and the back, it should prevent the wobble. All four of the pieces interlock to make it solid - if any one is missing, it will not be as stable. If you had an extremely rigid connection between the top and the two sides, that would be solid enough right there. The problem is that it is difficult to achieve that connection with a thin piece of wood. The back piece you added effectively forms triangles to provide this extra needed structure.

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  • The top is planned to connect all 3 pieces together below (legs and back), but all of them are indeed thin pieces of wood (I think the correct name is particle boards, so not even sturdy on their own compared to solid wood) and thus my fear of this connection not being enough to assure a more stable result – Shadow Dec 30 '17 at 3:45
  • What tools do you have available? How thick are the boards? Is there a melamine coating on the boards or what other finish? – LeeG Dec 30 '17 at 3:56
  • It is a 16mm or ~0.63" laminated particle board. Tools are basic, too many to list, but enough to do basic wood working jobs like assembling this desk. I'd prefer to avoid glues and similar methods outside screws and dry connections. – Shadow Dec 30 '17 at 4:13

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