While not the most fun piece of gear to purchase, having a good studio desk with space for your beloved rack gear is a must for any studio, project to pro.  Unfortunately, professionally designed desks with slots for your gear don’t come cheap.   

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When putting together my home studio, I started with a basic office desk that I purchased at OfficeMax onsale for $50.   My initial plan was to purchase a rack to place on the floor next to my desk, but everything on Craigslist was either way above my budget, or had seen so many clubs and years of road use that I had to use Purell after just looking at it.   This left me with one choice, pull out my middle-school wood shop skills.  


rack case hardware


2U and 3U rails are readily available on ebay.  I purchased a four pack of 3U rails for just under $6.  Then it was off to Home Depot where I purchased an 8’ 1”x12”.  I happen to have a fair amount of tools in my garage, but if you don’t Home Depot will make the cuts for you.  


Rack case mid construction


The top and bottom need to be cut to 40.25” (19” for each rack space, and 2.25” to make space for the end pieces and the center divider).  For a 3U rack, the end pieces and center divider should be 5.25” tall (1.75” per unit).  


Assembly is simple, make sure the end pieces are flush with the top and bottom, and make sure the center is in the exact center.  I used a little bit of wood glue to improve stability, and then shot in a few finish nails with my nail gun.  You could also use regular nails, screws, or just glue if you clamp it really well.


Clamped Rack Case


Depending on how pretty you want it to be when everything is said and done, you’ll probably want to fill any nail holes, and then sand the entire unit.  After an initial sanding, I brushed on a thin coat of grain filler, and then sanded again.  In order to get my rack to match my desk, I brushed on a dark cherry red stain.  Once dry, I sprayed it with a quick clear coat to protect the wood.   


Staining Rack Case


When the case looks the way you want, install the rails with ½” screws, and add some 1” felt feet to the bottom so that you don’t scratch up your desktop.


Now, put in your favorite pieces of gear.  Set it on your desktop, and then place your video monitors on top of it.  You now have a studio desk.  My entire rack cost less than $15 to build.  Partially because I already had stain, nails, glue, etc.  Even if you have to buy these items, the entire project really shouldn’t exceed $20 or $25.


Desktop Rack Case


Let me know what you think of my design. If you decide to try it, please share pictures below. Until next time, happy building!


-”GuitarGuy” Tim