How to Build Desk Hutch Shelves

Keep your desk organized with these handy desk hutch shelves.

All your supplies will be within easy reach with this handy and handsome desk organizer. It provides 3 feet of various-size cubbyholes to hold papers, envelopes, and other supplies. You can make yours longer or shorter to fit your desk. Eliminate the drawer, if you like, or make more drawers.

Material and finishing
The 3/4-inch-thick parts of the organizer are made of preprimed, finger-jointed pine. This material is as easy to work with as solid pine, but it has less tendency to cup because it is made of multiple pieces that interrupt the grain pattern. There are no knots to bleed through the paint, and the preprimed surface allows you to paint without priming. For a different look, you can use knotty pine or hardwood, such as oak, with a clear finish.


About 6 hours for construction, plus finishing time

Tape measure, framing square, combination square, hammer, nail set, four bar clamps, table saw or circular saw with rip guide and crosscutting jig, router with 3/8-inch piloted rabbeting bit, dado set for the table saw or 1/2-inch straight bit for the router, hand miter box or power miter saw

Measuring, sawing, routing

Assemble tools and materials, prepare work area.

Exploded View and Materials Needed
Finger-Jointed Stock

Painting pine is difficult because the knots are likely to bleed through paint and make a stain -- sometimes even after a coat of shellac-base stain-stopping primer. Knot-free clear pine is becoming more expensive.

Finger-jointed pine stock -- short clear sections of pine joined end-to-end with finger joints -- provides a solution to this problem. Because the product is usually painted, it's often sold preprimed.

Building with Oak

Perhaps you want your organizer to match that nice oak desk. You can easily find 1/2-inch-thick and 3/4-inch-thick oak boards as well as oak quarter-round at home centers and lumberyards. Construction is the same, but you'll need to predrill 1/8-inch holes so you don't bend the finishing nails when you drive them into the hard oak. Sand the whole project with 80-grit and then 150-grit sandpaper before applying a clear finish.

Continued on page 2:  Cutting the Parts


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