How Should I Make Tapered Desk Legs Longer?
Issue: Issue 343
Posted Date: 1/14/2014
I have an old classic oak teacher's desk. My son-in-law is a big guy, and I need to raise it about three inches. The six legs are tapered, and I am concerned about replacing them and maintaining level. Any ideas? - Jerry Cassiday
Rob Johnstone: Without seeing the desk this is a hard one to answer. I think I would make the feet tapered, but step the size of the extensions smaller where they meet the existing legs -- this way they will look like "feet" and intentionally smaller than the legs. I would join them to the desk with hanger bolts. I’d recess a T-nut into the bottom of each desk leg in order to thread the machine screw end of the hanger bolt, then screw the hanger bolts into the feet with the wood-screw threaded end. I hope this makes sense.
Chris Marshall: With the best intent in mind and not intending to be glib, I'll turn your question on its ear, Jerry. Is there any feasibility of having your son-in-law just use a shorter office chair and leave the desk legs as is? One of those adjustable chairs on wheels with a hydraulic lift comes to mind. That way, the desk won't end up looking obviously retrofitted, especially if it has any antique value. But, maybe 3 inches is just too much of a drop to make the chair idea work. If longer desk legs are still the better option, I like Rob's fix: your son-in-law could unscrew them in the future and return the desk to "normal" again for another shorter user.