How to Make a Filing Cabinet Desk Top

8 Materials
6 Hours

Love the look of filing cabinet desks, but don't like the price tag? I know I do! That's why I decided to make my own desk top. Follow this tutorial to make an 8' long desk top that can be placed on any filing cabinet (19" deep).

STEP 1: Rip the Edges of the Wood

For this project, I used 2 x 6 x 8' long lumber. Lumber typically comes with rounded edges. In order to get a nice clean edge, without the rounded edges, I ran the wood through my table saw to make a nice straight edges.

STEP 2: Drill Holes for Pocket Screws

I secured the pieces of wood together using pocket screws. Using my Kreg jig, I drilled several pocket screw holes per board.

STEP 3: Secure the Boards Together

I used both wood glue and pocket screws to secure the four boards together. I clamped the wood together while I was screwing them to make sure they stayed aligned.

STEP 4: Cut the Ends of the Desk Top

To make sure that the ends were perfectly straight, I cut them with my circular saw. I clamped a piece of wood to the desk top for a straight edge guide and to cut off as little material as possible.

STEP 5: Fill Gaps and Voids

I filled any small gaps or voids with a stainable plastic wood filler. This is not necessary, but will give the table top a nice, solid finish.

STEP 6: Sand the Desk Top

I don’t have a planer and the seams were not perfect. I simply sanded down any ridges with coarse sandpaper. I finished it off with 220 grit sandpaper to make sure it was smooth.

STEP 7: Stain and Seal the Desk Top

Before I stained the desk top, I applied a pre-stain wood conditioner. It is best to use this with softer woods. I then stained the top with dark walnut. Since desks usually get a lot of wear, it is important to seal the wood after staining. I applied two coats of polyurethane.

STEP 8: Install the Desk Top on Two Filing Cabinets

I spaced the filing cabinets about four feet apart. I placed a piece of rubber drawer liner on each top of the filing cabinets to ensure the top would not slide around. You could easily secure the desk top to the filing cabinets by screwing through the top of the filing cabinet into the desk top.

Suggested materials:
  • (4) 2 x 6 x 8' Long Wood   (Home Improvement Store)
  • Wood Glue   (Home Improvement Store)
  • 2-1/2" Long Pocket Screws   (Home Improvement Store)
See all materials
Nicole | Simply Aligned Home
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  1 question
  • D D on Sep 15, 2020

    At first glance I thought the cabinets were the traditional metal file cabinets but they now look like wood/particle board. Where did you get the cabinets? Second, early on you mentioned how you cut off the rounded edges from the lumber, but one of the final shots of the desk top show rounded outer edges. Did you use a router or simply sand the edges round? Looks awesome

Join the conversation