Question About Desk Aprons


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So that walnut desk I've been working on is nearing the end... this weekend I should have the legs and aprons done and be ready to apply finish to them before attaching the top. The end-user of the desk is a little shorter and wants to fit a file cabinet underneath one side of it so I'm a little worried about the apron getting in the way.

Would it be a problem to reduce the size of the apron on the front side of the desk to only be 2" tall rather than the 3" that was originally planned? What other options would I have on this?

*edit* I am attaching a couple images of the sketchup file here... I'm wondering what I can do in order to eliminate the front apron altogether so it isn't in the way of anyone sitting at the desk. Could I run a couple angled aprons from the front legs to the center of the back of the frame instead? The top is 15/16" walnut and the legs are poplar (to be painted).

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You should be fine going with 2 inches although, I can't see your drawings on this stupid work computer..  Check the sagulator to be sure.  

The sagulator says that with the span I should expect a 0.007"/foot deflection with a uniform 30lb load... this desk will have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse on one end and a few office organizer things on the other... That's not even taking aprons into account here.

Would there be a way to change this design to eliminate the front apron altogether while preventing racking?

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47 minutes ago, MisterDrow said:

Could I run a couple angled aprons from the front legs to the center of the back of the frame instead?

I don't see how this would help since they would still interfere with the filing cabinet...?

6 minutes ago, MisterDrow said:

Would there be a way to change this design to eliminate the front apron altogether while preventing racking?

Not really.  Aprons are featured in designs because they not only prevent racking but they add visual weight to a piece.  I think it would look goofy with just legs and a top...but that's me.

These are issues that are supposed to be worked out in the design phase...not during the build.  The end user should have told you his plans for this desk and the filing cabinet should have been accounted for from the beginning...i.e. make it taller.

gee-dub's idea would work but only if a half inch or so of extra space will solve the problem, and if they don't intend to store the filing cabinet flush against the inside of the legs.

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4 minutes ago, Eric. said:

I don't see how this would help since they would still interfere with the filing cabinet...?

Not really.  Aprons are featured in designs because they not only prevent racking but they add visual weight to a piece.  I think it would look goofy with just legs and a top...but that's me.

These are issues that are supposed to be worked out in the design phase...not during the build.  The end user should have told you his plans for this desk and the filing cabinet should have been accounted for from the beginning...i.e. make it taller.

gee-dub's idea would work but only if a half inch or so of extra space will solve the problem, and if they don't intend to store the filing cabinet flush against the inside of the legs.

Yeah, I realize that... and the original design was worked out before the end user (my good friend's wife) bought the file cabinet. If this were a paid commission I'd have followed a more strict design approval and wouldn't be worried about this now. I'm just learning and helping a friend in the process. We'll take the things we learn here and apply them to his desk next... it's to be an l-shaped desk with solid walnut top and poplar base... still not entirely sure how to accomplish some parts of that but we'll get there. 

I had also explored the idea of a trestle style structure but where she wants to put the file cabinet underneath that's a no-go.

I think I can make gee-dub's idea work just fine. It also provides a visual queue that "this is the front of the desk" rather than it just looking like a table.

12 minutes ago, TIODS said:

Agree with the previous posts..  I'd be concerned with the racking without that apron.  Are there any options with the filing cabinet like removing wheels or feet to buy you some extra room?

I don't know. I'll find out more tonight. I was shooting for a 27" height on the desk as the end-user is quite short... but she's currently using a 30" desk so if she's cool with that, I'll just make it 30" and there will be room for the cabinet.

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Also, thanks to everyone here for being so patient with my dumb questions on this and other stuff. You guys have already helped me to learn so much and the fact that you are all so willing to share your experience and expertise is awesome.

Marc has definitely created a great community here and I hope it continues for a long time to come.

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1 hour ago, MisterDrow said:

I don't know. I'll find out more tonight. I was shooting for a 27" height on the desk as the end-user is quite short... but she's currently using a 30" desk so if she's cool with that, I'll just make it 30" and there will be room for the cabinet.

The one I'm doing in another thread is 29" high with a 3 inch apron..

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Can the desk be lifted up and over the file cabinet? The top of file cabinets usually have about an inch and a half of top on them to the drawer. Though the apron may cover the lock on the cabinet top? 

-Ace-

Or you could install those screw in adjusting feet. An inch isn't that high?

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