How to Build a Desk With Threaded Pipe

With so many fittings and pipes to choose from, building a pipe desk is a good beginner's do-it-yourself project, though you may want to do a bit of fine tuning to get your perfect fit.
Pipes aren't just for plumbing.Pipes aren't just for plumbing.
Before starting, try out other desks until you find one that feels comfortable for your size and needs, then measure it carefully. Use those measurements to tweak this average-sized desk as needed by purchasing longer or shorter pipes or having the pipes cut and rethreaded in the store to your custom lengths.

Step 1

Assemble the legs by screwing together one 24-inch and one 3-inch pipe or nipple for each leg, using a tee to join the pipes together.

Step 2

Screw a floor flange to the top and bottom of each leg.

Step 3

Fasten one tee to each end of the 36-inch spreader pipe.

Step 4

Add a 6-inch nipple to one side of the tee on each end of the spreader, making sure both short pieces are on the same side of the spreader, then screw in a 12-inch nipple to the other side of each tee on the spreader. You should have an “I” shape at this point, with one side of the cross pieces twice as long as the other.

Step 5

Place a leg on each end of the cross-pieces of the spreader, and finish screwing them in so that the legs are perpendicularly to the spreader and with all the shortest pipes on the legs facing the same direction.

Step 6

Stand the finished pipe base upright with the short pipes at the top to test fit your chosen tabletop for compatibility. If it covers everything well and looks balanced and proportionate, you are ready to fasten the top.

Step 7

Turn the tabletop over on the floor or sturdy work surface so that the bottom side faces up, and find the center by drawing a diagonal line from each corner to the one opposite. The point where the two lines cross is the center.

Step 8

Place the pipe base upside down on the inverted tabletop, and use the diagonal lines as guides, placing it so that all the flanges rest exactly the same in relation to the diagonal lines and all sides of the base are equidistant from the center point.

Step 9

Mark the placement of the flanges using a pencil to trace around the inside of the holes indicating where the screws will go.

Step 10

Remove the pipe base, and drill small pilot holes at the indicated points.

Step 11

Place the pipe base back, realigning it with the drilled holes, and screw it to the tabletop with appropriately-sized screws, ensuring that they are long enough to hold securely without penetrating the top face of the desk.

Step 12

Turn your new desk upright, and check it for level with a carpenter's level. You can tweak minute irregularities by partially unscrewing the bottom leg sections, but be careful not to loosen the legs overmuch. Use shims as needed under the bottom flanges for very irregular floor surfaces.

Things You Will Need

  • Eight 3/4-inch ID floor flanges
  • Six 3/4-inch ID Tee-connectors
  • Four 24-inch, 3/4-inch OD nipples
  • Four 3-inch, 3/4-inch OD nipples
  • Two 6-inch by 3/4-inch OD nipples
  • Two 12-inch by 3/4-inch OD nipples
  • One 36-inch by 3/4-inch OD nipple
  • Wood, or wood-backed tabletop, from 24 inches to 30 inches deep by 42 inches to 60 inches wide
  • Drill and assorted drill bits
  • Wood screws sized to fit flanges and tabletop depth
  • Screwdriver
  • Carpenter's level
  • De-greasing cleaner
  • Rust-proof metal spray paint, optional

Tips

  • If you intend to paint the pipes, use a degreasing cleaner to clean them first; dry them well and apply two coats of quality rust-proof metal spray paint according to manufacturer's label directions. Paint in a well-ventilated room or outdoors.
  • For a fun, steampunk look, use all brass pipes and fittings or brass fittings over black-painted pipes.