Custom Furniture Design: Desk and Return From Craft to Install

Modern desks require a strong interface with technology. They need a good surface for writing and reading, and a lot of storage space for supplies, but they also need to harbor computers and other machines, including their various cords and attachments. Computers make a lot of heat, and perform best with good ventilation, and the desk needs to account for that as well.

Desk and Return during building process

Although they need to be functionally modern, desks can still look amazing too. Take, for example, this Panel Desk by Jim Becker. Here we get the rare look of a desk in production followed by the finished product once it’s installed to get a full look at the process that goes into it.

This desk features a return, which is an extension of a the primary desk body that gives a desk either a “U” shape or an “L” shape as in the case here. As such this desk could be suitable for a reception area or similar high-capacity work environment, but was instead built for a very nice home office.

Detail bubinga edge and wenge inlay

It is constructed from solid maple with bubinga panels, drawer fronts, and accents.  The drawer pulls are ebonized walnut.  The top construction is baltic birch core, topped with maple veneer and edged with solid bubinga.  There is a wenge inlay between the bubinga edge and the maple veneer on the top.

For this piece, the customer had a big hand in the final design. The desk was built for a specific location, so it had dimension limits for each of its two parts. The customer also specified the woods it would be constructed out of and the top design.  The project resulted in two large pieces with a total of 12 drawers. For many pieces, the customer can decide their level of involvement.

Bubinga, Maple, and ebonized Walnut Desk and Return

There are several grommets in the surface for wires, an electronics shelf under the corner and a lockable CPU cabinet.  Cables are contained using carabiners attached to the underside of the top.   A computer keyboard tray was added on site.

This piece is also a great example of the versatility of the furniture maker. Assembly took a more work than anyone expected because the office floor where the desk was installed turned out to not be level.  Ultimately everything worked out as you can see in these wonderful photos the customer took.  Both the customer and Jim Becker are very pleased with the results!


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