Making Custom Desks (part 3 of 3) - Worktop, finishing, castors & keyboard shelf

Welcome to part 3 of the desk builds.  In the last video I made the drawer and drawer housing for the desk.
And in this one I'll be working on the desk top, the castors, adding a keyboard shelf and getting some glass for the desktop to protect the wood.
First I used my trim router to add a roundover to the top edges of the worktop
I then brought the worktop in to the workshop so that I could sand everything smooth and remove any burn marks left by the router.
I used my block plane just to ease over the bottom edges of the worktop
Then I applied boiled linseed oil.  I did this to both the top and the bottom - mainly because I was concerned that oiling only one side might cause the worktop to start cupping, and it's important that I keep it as flat as possible.
I still had some issues with cupping though and I'll talk about that later in the video.
It looked really nice, especially the corners.
The oil raised the grain slightly, so I used some 400 grit wet and dry paper to smooth over the worktop once the oil was dry.
And then I wiped away the dust.
I then applied some spray varnish as a top coat to make the worktop more hardwearing and more resistant to moisture.
This stuff dries really quickly - usually in around 15 minutes at the most.  I applied two coats, de-nibbing lightly in between each coat with some 400 grit wet and dry paper to keep it nice and smooth and then applied a final coat.
And at this point, my workbench has never looked nicer.... This would make a great workbench top, but I'd definitely ruin it very quickly.
I added my makers mark to the bottom of the worktop.
So once finish was applied, I brought both the worktops in to my house and stored them in my dining room on the floor with battens in between in an attempt to keep them straight and stop them from cupping.  But after about a week, I found that both worktops had cupped slightly - one developed a hollow in the centre which was about 5mm lower than at the edges, and one in the opposite direction by about the same amount.  I was really worried it because later in the project you'll see that I will be adding a piece of glass to the tops to protect the wood - and obviously glass is flat so the worktop needed to be flat too.  There'll be more about the cupping later in the video.
The next job was to find a way to mount the castors to the right hand side of the desks - that's the side with the drawer.  I couldn't mount the castors directly to the panel because the mounting plate was 50mm wide and the plywood is only 18mm thick.
So what I came up with when I did the design drawing was to add some mounting blocks to the bottom of the side panel, and now I needed to figure out how to make them.
For this I'd use some of the offcuts of the oak worktop. I first ripped some small strips of the oak and then used a piece of 18mm plywood as a spacer and marked up the holes for the castors.
I drilled pilot holes and then mounted the castors to the oak using some panhead screws.
Then I removed the spacer and trimmed the edges at the mitresaw using a pushstick to keep my hands a safe distance from the blade.
I added a round over to the top outside edges of the blocks using my block plane.
Then I could push them on to the bottom of the panel.  I drilled a pilot hole for a screw and then changed to a 10mm drill bit to widen the opening of the hole, then I added a screw through the block, the plywood, and in to the block on the other side, and then I used a 10mm dowel to plug the hole after adding some wood glue.
I could then trim the dowel flush with my japanese pull saw.
To clean up the dowel end grain I used a chisel, and then I added some boiled linseed oil to match the finish on the rest of the desk.
Next I decided to assemble the desks as I thought this would be the best way to force the worktop flat again, and once fitted I hoped that it would settle in to being flat again.
In part 2 I drilled these 15mm holes which I think should help the solid wood worktop to expand and contract as the seasons change. I used a large washer and screws to attach both the shelving side of the desk and the drawer side of the desk to the worktop.
Surprisingly it was really easy to remove the cupping from the worktop while fitting, and it was back to being flat again.
The desks were really heavy by this point, and turning them over on my own was tricky.
 I left the desks fully assembled for another week in my dining room.
At this point I thought that the project was done, but then I got asked to if I could add a keyboard shelf to both desks.
I found some of these under desk runners on Amazon, which I'll link to in the desciption box.  I wasn't aware that these existed so I'm glad I googled it, and they looked to be the ideal solution.
Fortunately I had just enough decent bits of plywood left over so I ripped the shelves to width and cut them to length.
Then I needed to find some oak to trim the shelves with, and whenever I use more of this oak which came from some old hat and coat stands in my videos I get a few comments from viewers who've been watching my channel since the very early days and it always makes me smile that those viewers are still watching my channel...  I've used the wood from those stands on so many projects now, at some point I'd like to make a list of everything I've made out of them.
Then I could glue on the trim pieces, an sand everything smooth using a 120 grit disc.
So here are the keyboard shelf runners, and they didn't come with any instructions but they were pretty straighforward to fit.  I drilled pilot holes and screwed the runners on to the side of the shelf. For the hole near the back, you need to manouvre the runner so that you can drill the hole and drive the screw through this little hole.
Then you attach these little L shaped brackets to the sides of the runners and you can see here that there are different holes so you can set the height of the shelf to where you want it, and that gets secured down with a grub screw.
Before fitting the shelves to the desk I first gave it a coat of my new homemade wax - I've been making lots of it and it's available for sale via my Etsy page in both a food safe version which is a blend of mineral spirits and beeswax, or the original blend which is what I'm using here - this is a mixture of boiled linseed oil, beeswax and white spirits.   If you're interested in buying some, there's a link in the description box to my Etsy page.
To fit the shelf, my first thought was to try and clamp it to the worktop so that I could add screws from below.  I did this mainly because the desk was really heavy and I didn't want to flip it over on my own again.
I'm using an extension drill bit to drill the pilot holes and some more pan head screws to secure the L brackets to the desktop.
But I soon saw the error of my ways and decided to flip the second desk over to fit the shelf which was far less awkward.
And the shelves worked really well.
Then I went and collected the glass which I'd ordered from a local glass cutting company, this is 6mm thick toughened glass with polished edges and bevelled corners and it was surprisingly not too much money - it worked out around £65 for each piece of glass.  
And I could check that it fit ok...  The measurements I used to order the glass was 10mm shorter on all 4 edges than the desktop because I wanted to allow the roundovers on the oak to protrude. And that worked out spot on.
Before I disassembled everything I put some masking tape on to each component and numbered the desks 1 and 2 to make it easier to re-install them when I deliver them to the client.
Then I disassembled the desks and loaded everything in to my van.
I sandwiched the glass in the middle and used towels and stuff to make sure that it wouldn't move around too much as obviously I didn't want to get there and find it broken.
I installed the desks to the client's home and he seemed happy with the desks which is great, and it's another commission done which is good experience for me.
If I were to build the project again, there are a few things I'd do differently, firstly I'd have gone to my local timber merchants to get the plywood as the veneer is much better quality than the stuff I used from Bunnings and that way I wouldn't have had to buy twice as much material than I actually needed.
Secondly, I'd have done things in a slightly different order so that I could fit the worktops to the rest of the desk immediately after applying finish to them to make sure that the boards couldn't cup.  In the end it wasn't really an issue anyway, but doing it that way would have saved me lots of stress and worrying.
Thirdly, I think I might have made the castor mounts on the right hand side panel of the desk full length rather than individual blocks...  I think maybe that might have looked better, possibly, although I'm not sure...
Aside from those things I'm really happy with how the desks turned out.
The build took around 3 and a half days in total - which was about what I expected and what I quoted for, fitting the drawers was the main challenge - it took a while to get them fitting right.  
I hope you enjoyed this short series of videos, please subscribe if you haven't already for more weekly woodworking videos and thanks for watching