Making a Sit-to-Stand Desk

I'm not generally paranoid, but articles like this from 1961 (!) and the Infographic at the bottom of this page really started to get to me.  I do like to stand while I work, but my desk (obviously) and even our kitchen countertops just aren't high enough to work comfortably.  While looking for solutions, we came across adjustable height sit-to-stand desks, which seemed like a great solution.

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Our local Relax The Back carries a nice desk with a wood veneer table top for $1,995.  After adding on the accessories I would have needed, it was going to cost a fair amount more than $2,500.  Although we could have taken the floor model home that day, which really appealed to my desire for instant gratification, the price was too hard to swallow, so we decided to look elsewhere.  


Relax The Back sit-to-stand desk in black with maple veneer.

An internet search wound up being extremely frustrating.  Prices are all over the map, and although the desks were similar, they all had slight differences and were difficult to compare.  We finally settled on the GeekDesk Max, which would cost about $1,100 delivered.  We placed an order, but unfortunately, GeekDesk has supply chain issues and couldn't commit to delivery in less than five-to-six weeks, so we cancelled the order.  They were quite gracious about that.


GeekDesk Max in black with beech veneer.

Our search continued and we found The Human Solution, which offered some very attractive desks with solid wood tabletops.  Beautiful, but fully configured, it was going to cost almost $3,000!  They also offered less expensive options and we decided to visit their store in Austin on an upcoming trip.


The Human Solution Texas native wood height adjustable desk in mesquite.

At the store, their suggestion was to buy the legs and find or make a table top back in Dallas.  They also noted that some of their customers had gotten their tops from Ikea, but they didn't have any additional information.  The legs cost $795 and fit into the trunk of my car, so we decided to take that route.  Back at home, I decided to shove the legs under my existing desk for fun.  I was a little surprised that it worked!  Another thing that we learned was that the legs were made in the USA by Kesseböhmer, a German company.  If you visit the site, I think you'll see that most of the sit-to-stand desks are sourced from Kesseböhmer components.

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Legs on my old desk, just for fun.

Online research suggested that the Ikea Vika Byske table top was a good choice at $80.  It's a solid beech butcherblock that just needs some sanding in order to stain.  It was at this point that Leesa, my helper that I trust with all things artistic, said that she had never stained anything before.  Oops.

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After some experimenting on the bottom side, we figured it out and wound up giving the top three coats of Minwax Gel Stain, followed by two coats of polyurethane.  This took a week, but wound up giving us some attractive results.

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Here's the finished product from the back side.  An Ikea Galant cable manager spray painted black keeps everything under the desk tidy.  Monitor arm clamped to the desk's edge keeps the Cinema Display at the right height.

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From the front, you can see the large workspace and the great finish.

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And here's a view with the desk all the way down.

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Parts Inventory

  • Kesseböhmer table legs - $795
  • Ikea Vika Byske Butcher Block Table Top - $80
  • Ikea Galant Cable Management - $10
  • Staining Supplies - ~$100
  • Innovative LCD Arm 7500-HD-1500 - $203
  • Apple VESA Mount Adapter Kit - $39
  • Human Scale 550 Big Compact Keyboard Tray - $284
  • Human Scale CPU 300 CPU Holder - $99

So, the total desk cost was about $1,000, plus an additional $600 for the ergonomic accessories that all of the desks would have required.  Was it worth the effort?  Sure - the goal wasn't to come in least expensive, rather it was to get a sit-to-stand desk that would look good in my office.  I'm definitely pleased with the way the top turned out and I now know what it will take to replace or upgrade it in the future.

Sitting is Killing You Infographic

© The Bollar Organization 2021