How To Build an Industrial Style Desk

Buying a desk online or in-store can be expensive, so why not save your hard-earned money by building one at home? You can make an industrial-style desk with a few supplies that cost a fraction of most pre-built desks. You’ll also enjoy the fact that you built it by yourself rather than contacting a company.

To build an industrial-style desk:

  1. Get enough galvanized steel pipe, tees, couplings, and floor flanges.
  2. Connect the flanges to the pipes, attach the support bar to create a capital ‘I’ shape, then mount the support bar to the legs.
  3. Cut the desired wood size and drill the flanges under the desktop.

Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following information about how you can build an industrial-style desk:

  • What supplies and tools you’ll need to get the job done
  • Step-by-step instructions to build a long-lasting, stylish desk
  • Types of wood to consider for your new desktop

Gather the Materials

Before you start building an industrial-style desk, you should know what materials are required. Industrial desks have a unique appearance that combines wood and metal to create a rustic appearance that lasts for many years. Below, you’ll find a list of tools and supplies needed to create the perfect industrial-style desk in under an hour:

Note: All materials are listed as galvanized steel since it’s one of the strong building materials around, as CSE Mag explains.

  • 6 x 1.5″ (15.24 x 3.81 cm) tees
  • 8 x 1.5″ (20.32 x 3.81 cm) floor flanges (also known as base flanges)
  • 4 x 1.5″ (10.16 x 3.81 cm) 20-inch (50.8 cm) long pipe
  • 4 x 1.5″ (10.16 x 3.81 cm) 10-inch (25.4 cm) long pipe (for the legs)
  • 1 x 1.5″ (2.54 x 3.81 cm) 60-inch (152.4 cm) long pipe
  • 4 x 1.5″ (10.16 x 3.81 cm) 10-inch (25.4 cm) long pipe (for the support bar)
  • Two pipe wrenches
  • Teflon tape (use it everywhere you connect pipes to fittings)
  • A drill
  • 16 x ½” (40.64 x 1.27 cm) screws (or longer, depending on how thick the wooden desktop is)

Attach the Floor Flanges

Start by using the pipe wrenching to connect the 20-inch (50.8-cm) long pipes to four of the floor flanges. It would be best if you had four 20-inch (50.8-cm) pipes with a floor flange on top. Leave the bottom portion open for the next step. You can’t seal both ends, or there won’t be enough room for the tees and other support pieces.

How To Build an Industrial Style Desk

Attach the four remaining floor flanges to the bottom of each 10-inch (25.4-cm) long pipe. You should have zero flanges left over after this step. There should be four 10-inch (25.4-cm) pipes and four 20-inch (50.8-cm) pipes, each with a floor flange attached to one end when you’re done. When you’re done, head to the next step.

Create the Support Bar

Set the pipes from the previous section aside and grab all of the tees, four 10-inch (25.4-cm) pipes (the ones without floor flanges), and the 60-inch (152.4-cm) galvanized steel pipe. According to Homedit, crossbars, T-bars, and support bars increase the desk’s weight capacity. They also limit wobbling, which is crucial for office work.

Here’s how to make the support bar:

  1. Connect a tee section to both sides of the 60-inch (152.4-cm) pipe. They should be attached horizontally.
  2. Use the pipe wrenches to connect the 10-inch (25.4-cm) pipes to the open parts of each tee. For reference, your work should look like a capital ‘I’ at this point.
  3. Attach the remaining tees vertically to the ends of the 10-inch (25.4-cm) pipes. Make sure they’re facing up and down rather than side to side. The open tee sections will attach to the legs in the next section.

Build the Desk’s Legs

Connect the four 10-inch pieces with flanges to the bottom of each open tee from the previous step. They’ll serve as the desk’s legs. Attach the 20-inch (50.8-cm) pipes with flanges to the top of each open tee. They’ll serve as the top of the legs. You should have the whole support bar and leg portion completed now.

How To Build an Industrial Style Desk

Check your work to ensure the flanges are flat against the floor. Take time to correct unbalanced legs before you proceed to drill the legs to the wood. It’s essential to use a leveler since this is the last time you can make the necessary adjustments. For this reason, you should firmly twist every pipe and fitting rather than leaving them a bit loose as you would when drilling.

To ensure you’re up to speed, you should have floor flanges attached to the top and bottom of all four legs. Aside from the flanges, there shouldn’t be any openings on the desk’s frame. When you’ve triple-checked your work, read on.

Cut and Sand the Wood

Using the right wood will make your desk look and feel better while improving its durability. While you might be tempted to cut corners and use a sheet of plywood, the desktop is one of the most important parts of the process.

So, what kind of wood should you use?

  • Maple wood is durable, long-lasting, and doesn’t crack under pressure. If you have many items to place on the desk, maple would be an excellent choice.
  • Oak is a solid wood used for desks and other furniture worldwide. Duffield Timber shows oak was used to make the desk in the Oval Office of the White House.
  • Cherrywood is another great choice, though it’s pretty expensive than the other options on the list. It provides durability and bright red color that’s rare and beautiful.
  • Walnut wood is a top choice for those trying to achieve a rust appearance. It’s a perfect pair for industrial-style desks because it’s dark, grainy, and tough.

Whichever wood you choose, you should sand and seal it before you mount it to the legs. Use paint or sealer that’s water-resistant and can withstand wear and tear. You don’t want to deal with scratches and scuff marks from moving your belongings on the desktop.

Drill the Flanges Into the Wooden Desktop

Drill the flanges on the 20-inch (50.8-cm) pipes to the bottom of the wooden desktop. Please don’t attach the wood to the 10-inch (25.4-cm) pipes since the center beam supports them. You’ll ruin the structural integrity, rendering the crossbar useless.

How To Build an Industrial Style Desk

Create pilot holes before drilling the screws into the wood. Each flange should have between two to six screw holes, so the number of screws you’ll need may vary. However, since most flanges have four holes, we recommended 16 screws.

At the end of this step, your desk should be complete. Some people prefer to attach soft pads on each leg’s bottom to cover the metal floor flange. You can use them to add cushioning and prevent scuffing if your desk is on wood, tile, and other hard surfaces.

Test the Structural Integrity

Use a leveler to ensure the desk is entirely level, then place your books, computers, and other belongings on the desktop. Never sit or put all of your body weight on the desk. Galvanized steel is durable, but this desk isn’t designed to support a person.

Check for wobbling, tighten the screws, and adjust the pipes as necessary.


Now that you know how to build an industrial-style desk, you can create a customized workspace without breaking the bank. These desks can be made in under an hour if you have the right materials, but they last well over a decade with proper care.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the post:

  • Use oak, walnut, cherry, or maple wood for the desktop.
  • Don’t forget to account for the pipe’s threaded portion when taking measurements.
  • You can use pipe dope, but it’s not necessary.
  • Support bars drastically increase a desk’s weight capacity.
  • Sand and seal the wood for a long-lasting finish.


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