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This is my first major woodworking projects and I'm having a bit of trouble. I have built this custom music studio desk and it keeps wobbling side to side.

It does have a lot of weight on it so it needs to solid. The 'open legs' are 19 inches apart and made from 3/4" inch plywood and the table top is 2 inch thick White Pine as well as the shelves that hold the speakers. There are 6 2x4 beam supports between each leg keeping the 2 sheets of plywood together at 19 inches apart and L brackets on the top and bottom connecting the beam and plywood side together on all sides. The table top is screwed in from the bottom up and that's it.

I chose this design and how to screw it in based off the necessity of needing the space between the legs to be open to host the rackmount equipment. I am pretty limited on what I can do because I need the space to be open as much as possible.

Here is a picture of the desk so far.

Any suggestions will help!

Thanks! Studio Desk

back of leg

  • Welcome to WW.SE! Can you post a clearer photo, showing the legs in more detail, as well as how the top attaches to the legs? And/or a sketch showing how things are put together? As it is now, it's hard to see how it's joined, and where there might be room to add supports / bracing. – mmathis Dec 21 '18 at 20:49
  • @mmathis Thanks for the reply! im currently at work will be home in 45 mins and provide more pics, thanks! – Michaeldarolfi Old Channel Dec 21 '18 at 21:14
  • I've edited the title so it doesn't look like a call for opinions (not on topic here) and cleaned up the formatting slightly to make the main body of the Question easier to read. Two points I wanted to make that you haven't asked about, the "L brackets" you mention are shelf brackets actually and these aren't particularly rigid (they can flex) which is partly where your issues stem from. Second thing is about wood movement which is much more serious, and I'll cover in the next Comment. – Graphus Dec 22 '18 at 7:35
  • Wood expands and contracts naturally across its width, and in much furniture it needs to be accounted for/allowed for, i.e. you don't want to try to restrict it or stop it. The way you've screwed the top to the plywood legs doesn't really allow for widthways changes in the pine slab (although the flex in the brackets may help you here). How stable the conditions are where the desk is placed is a major factor however, if where you live is pretty consistent as to temp and humidity, or just the studio is fairly well climate controlled, you should have no problems and you dodged a bullet there :-) – Graphus Dec 22 '18 at 7:43
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    Just wanted to add, your desk looks awesome well done! – Graphus Dec 22 '18 at 7:46
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Moving from side-to-side like this is called "racking". It involves the piece going out of square. Essentially the joints you have between the top and the legs do not provide sufficient support against the pieces pivoting relative to each other.

Typically you'd prevent this by having some sort of diagonal bracing. This could be just a small bracket, or it could be a brace (or even wires) going from corner to corner. Two typical things that prevent this without being obvious "braces" are aprons and full backs on cabinets.

Given this design I would personally probably add a plywood back to the cabinet on the left with some openings for cabling and some kind of diagonal brace or bracket attaching the right side to the top.

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    Great info, thanks! ive added a picture of the back of one "leg" if you would call it that. If i add a plywood piece were the red faded squares are, would that work? I need that space in the middle to be able to add or change cables. – Michaeldarolfi Old Channel Dec 22 '18 at 2:44
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    @MichaeldarolfiOldChannel, yes that should work as long as the two pieces are attached sufficiently well, so they can't shift. Use thin ply or hardboard (1/4" isn't necessary but use it if you can get it) and tack it on with plenty of small nails/brads/panel pins. – Graphus Dec 22 '18 at 7:29
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    An option for attaching the plywood backing would be using pocket holes. The benefit of them is that you wouldn't have to have any visible fixings on the outside of the leg sections. – Stuart Dec 22 '18 at 8:54
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    @Graphus Thanks for the reply everyone! i did what everyone has suggested and it helped for sure but unfortunately still a bit of wobble. I ended up putting 2 1X3 boards making a X across the back which solved the issue 100%. doesnt move a inch anymore! The 3/4 plywood made it stiff but just not enough. I should have taken this into consideration when building the desk. Thanks for all you help! – Michaeldarolfi Old Channel Dec 24 '18 at 16:10
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    @AloysiusDefenestrate Thanks for the reply! Followed what you aid and it helped for sure! Unfortunately it wasn't quite enough stiffness as i do have gear in between the legs and cant allow them to move at all. I ended but using 1X3s to make a X across the back and it solved it indefinitely – Michaeldarolfi Old Channel Dec 24 '18 at 16:12

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