Scout Projects: Building a Standing Desk

As I write posts for the Keystones of a Scout series, I find myself getting freshly inspired each time as I dig deeper into the meaning and practice of these timeless Scouting principles. The last post in this series was on Ingenuity, and part of my research for this post took me into some of the amazing pioneering projects that the Scouts of the past have built. This inspired me to get out and build something that I have been wanting to build for a long time now, a standing desk.

Standing desks were much more commonly used in the late 19th century and early 20th century than they are today. If used right, they can burn more calories and be generally healthier to use than sitting all day behind a common desk. However, as I wanted this to replace my regular desk in my room, and I didn’t want to necessarily stand all day long, it needed to be be both a regular desk and a standing desk.

This is where the ingenuity came in. I could try to find and buy plans for an adjustable desk, or I could save up the money for one and buy it. However, after researching for the post on Ingenuity, I became inspired to both design and build my own out of wood. 

So, after some planning and writing ideas down on paper, I settled upon a design that seemed feasible to me and started building. All of the wood, except for a little plywood, was discarded scrap wood that I got for free. So, other than a small amount of money spent on some metal bolts and hardware, the desk cost me virtually nothing but my own time and labor.

All in all, it took me about seven hours to plan and build it, the majority of which was completed this last Sunday afternoon. I am quite pleased with the result. It is a very satisfying feeling to plan, build, and complete a project like this, and I encourage you to do the same. It may not be a desk, but it can be anything that you want or need it to be. If you plan it out properly and stick with it, you will not regret the time spent!

I’d like to go ahead and share with you some pictures of me building the desk and the finished work.

Getting everything all laid out before I start


“Measure twice, Cut once” is a good rule to follow when woodworking


Here I am using the surface of my table saw as a work surface while I measure out the plywood for my desk’s surface.


Here I am cutting out the necessary 2X4’s for the desk on my table saw. When working with any tools, especially power tools, make sure you know how to operate them safely and that you use proper safety equipment.


Things are starting to come together!



Cutting this channel gave me a little bit of difficulty, but this is what will allow the desk to adjust.


All done! Here is the completed desk (minus sanding) in the full standing desk position.


Here is the mechanism I chose for allowing the desk surface to adjust to any height and angle I want.


Here is the desk adjusted in upright easel position.


Here is the desk all set up in my room. I’m very happy with the result!


Hard work definitely does pay off! I’m very happy with the result. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this post on the desk right now!

So what about you? What are you going to build? I encourage you to try something you haven’t done before. I never designed and built a desk before now, and I’m very happy I took the trouble to do it.

That greatest thing about the principles and keystones of Scouting is that they are not just dry ideals meant to be left on paper. They are real and meant to be carried out in your everyday life. This is something I didn’t really get when I first joined Scouting. Now, I am learning it more and more as I take this journey of Rediscovering Scouting. I encourage you to take it as well!

Thanks for reading this post. If you have any questions about how I built the desk and what tools/materials I used, feel free to leave a comment and I will answer the best I can.

Scout on, my friends!

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2 Comments on "Scout Projects: Building a Standing Desk"

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James @ Standing Desk Depot

That’s some nice craft work! How long did it take, and do you plan to put some sort of finish on the desk top?


Thanks for the comment! All totaled, it took me about 7 hours to plan and build. The great majority of which was done in one Sunday afternoon. A bit long, I know, but I hadn’t done anything like this before, and I wasn’t working with any plans except my own.

I might end up coating the top with some polyurethane or some such finish, but for now it suits my purposes.