First time reaching out to the community! (Novice)

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Expectations for this post =  Get some direction on what I would call as my first "REAL PROJECT".  

Background:    I would call myself a person that can follow directions or plans well and have a good working knowledge of woodworking tools (maybe not all the techniques to best utilize the tools) and fairly handy. .  

equipment on hand: tablesaw, compound mitre saw, router w/o a router table and the usual home hand tools

Project:  Sit/Stand Desk

Basics of the build:  I am going to purchase a mechanical base that will raise and lower the desk as desired by the user, I however want to build the top of the desk!  I am thinking that I would like to use a darker wood for the bulk the build with some lighter wood accents to make some sort of design, and as with most of my typical designs I like to take things over the top so I am also considering putting some inlay work into it.  

Requests from the community:  Looking for direction to resources on what might be the best wood to work with for this project that would allow me ( if I choose to) to attempt the inlays.  Glues/epoxies for the chosen woods, and possible creative design ideas, finishes and the such.

Thanks in advance for your patience and kindness on helping out someone who is looking to jump headfirst into what I consider to be a moderate - to - possible difficult project.  I know that I have probably left out numerous details that you want/need to know about this project but I am still in the planning phase of this build and just looking for someone smarter than I to maybe give me the pieces that will help me get this project going.  Please do not hesitated to ask questions.  

P.S. >  I have never been one to interact in a forum (other than just be that guy that LURKS around to get information!  Hopefully, if I have a good experience with this and get a good response, I will share what I have learned and provide a project documentary from start to finish!  I am excited to see what you all have to say and share.  Again, thank you!



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First, welcome to becoming an active member of the forum. Sounds like you're ready to tackle a real project. It's good that you have not only an end result, but a sense of direction for how you want to get there.

I also like to mix contrasting, but complementary woods. In central Illinois you should not have any trouble finding walnut (darker wood), cherry (medium toned) and maple (lighter wood). These combine and complement each other really well. I personally don't like to use stains, dyes or other coloring agents, but prefer to rely on the natural wood tones. Keep in mind that the type of finish you choose can darken or otherwise alter whichever woods you choose to use.

Not knowing the type of inlays you're thinking about - figures, string, accents - it's hard to make a recommendation. West Systems makes a very popular epoxy that many of us use regularly. It can be toned or colored easily and finishes nicely.

Hope you get lots of good feedback and good luck on the project!

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WELCOME!  Let the fun begin . . .

Plywood would be the simplest material to make the larger part from and you could dye or stain it to your color preference.  If you want a hardwood top you are looking at a glue up.  This is a common practice in furniture building but, some skill with a hand plane or two or a jointer and a planer assure success for this.  Another option is veneers over a substrate and veneers come in a variety of coloration. 

I don't do a lot of inlay but, someone should chime in here who does.  Inlay can be mortised in by hand but, something like a Dremel with a base or your router (you didn't mention if it was a plunge) will assure a consistent depth.

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Welcome to the forums.  You will find good resources here so just keep asking questions.  I would guess that most here use Titebond glue for all the general glue ups and West Systems epoxy for glue ups that you need a longer open time and special needs like stabilize and fill knots and natural gaps and flaws that may be in your wood. 

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Hi Woodchuck - welcome!!


Sounds like an interesting project.  I'm not quite sure what it is, but from what I've seen in my work environment I'm thinking one of those systems that "raises" the desk system to be a standing desk, but can be lowered for a sitting desk if wanted.

Again, thinking from my office environment, I think a lighter wood , with dark wood accents, should be considered an option.  It depends on the office/environment in which it will be installed.

+1 to the plywood suggestion.  It's stable and flat and is a great material to use for the base for a project like this.

Good luck - and be sure to take a lot of pictures!


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I started by following plan from Woodsmith magazine.  Unlike other publication, they have more of a step by step approach that was helpful to me. 

Make sure as you go along with the plan, to adjust the plan based on the actual measurement of your piece that you have already cut.

for the mechanical based, Ikea sell desk (sit/stand) with either a mechanical lift or an electric lift (I bought a 12 of them for my office).

they sell just the frame (


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Welcome, good folks and good info here.  I do want to add that you do have a router table available to you,  All you need is some plywood for the top, a piece of straight wood for the fence, two saw horses, a drill and time to practice. That will solve some early problems you might run into.

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