standing table base

similar desk used

Hi, I'm trying to raise my work desk to use as a standing desk to help with back pain and concentration as cheaply as possible with minimal cutting. I'd like for it to last at least a year. Expecting load to be around 60 lbs + occasionally resting an arm on.

In the diagram, the pieces color coded the same are the same in dimension. The vertical white blocks are 3.5 inches in thickness in x-y. The horizontal pieces are 1.5 x 3.5. I'm planning to stick a few nails in the ends. The cyan rectangle on top is the footprint of my desk with wheels removed.

I'm most concerned with lateral movement at the moment. I'll have 2 monitors on top with 1 being my work monitor(lcd tablet) which I really don't need breaking on me due to failure in the base :D

My rational is that the red blocks being directly on top keeps me from having to worry about joints breaking loose from the weight of the set up. The green blocks adding stability going downward and between the thick blocks in case weight shifts forward and backward(green/red blocks facing forward and backwards). The pink blocks...I'm not too sure of but it seems like it could help with lateral stability by making an overall wider base and dispersing any lateral shift between the 2 thick blocks??

I don't know what kind of wood it is. Hurricane Michael gifted me with lots of free wood from my destroyed garage. haha I'm pretty sure it's still strong enough for this use though

Am I on the right track? Thank you

  • How long do you typically work at your desk? Reason I ask is that while sitting is obviously giving your back some difficulties standing for long periods doesn't do certain other parts of the body any favours! If you switch you may find it takes as long as a year to feel comfortable with the new posture when working and along the way in addition to greater overall fatigue expect some sore feet, cramped calves, stiff knees and possibly one or two other aches and pains further up the body (all typical ailments of those who stand for extended periods).
    – Graphus
    Dec 13, 2018 at 5:18
  • Now re. your design, you can ditch the green pieces here, if you do the rest of the joints properly they're completely redundant. You can move the front purple 'stretcher' inboard of the legs to provide more standing space while retaining it for rack-resistance. Note that this will shorten the red pieces. BTW I'd recommend you both glue and screw the purple pieces to the legs, if you don't want to use glue use 4-5 screws to attach them to each leg and they need to be long enough to go deeply into the legs (at least 1/2 their length, 2/3 if possible).
    – Graphus
    Dec 13, 2018 at 5:28
  • Go to the orthopedist, he will expel your back and explain in detail how it will be more convenient for you Mar 20, 2019 at 12:49

1 Answer 1


I'd actually advise against this design, because it is going to be hard to stand at. Your shins are going to constantly hit the purple members. And, as pointed out in comments, the green members don't do anything useful.

Maybe consider a "trestle" design, because there aren't much racking forces here. Similar to the design of the desk, where the stiffness comes from a few horizontal struts, the lowest of which is recessed way back to give your legs some room. Even standing, you need room for legs and feet.

Most of the racking forces are going to be in the desk itself, and that is unlikely to be transferred to the base in any significant manner. Even if you fasten the desk to the base in a manner that makes it safe (i.e., keeps the desk from sliding off the base), it won't be a stiff enough connection to have the metal legs and base actually be a single moving mass. All you are doing here is artificially raising the floor level locally.

2x4 or 2x6 construction is probably more than enough, and with static forces like this the lumber is probably stronger than much of the metal joints in that desk. The 4x4s are going to take most of those forces directly to the floor, so all you have to do is make it stiff enough to assist with that.

Any significant racking forces are going to shear off whatever you use to fasten the metal desk legs to the base (or shear the metal joints in the desk). Even beefy nylon straps (or velcro wraps) would be good enough, in my estimation, because (again) all we can do here is make sure the desk doesn't slip off.


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