I finished a desk for myself a few months ago, but my wife has been using a card table as her desk since we started working from home. Now she has a real desk!
I started with some rough cut cedar from the saw mill.
Next was a lot of jointing and planing to get the boards ready for glue-up. They didn’t all come out completely straight (particularly because these boards are way longer than the jointer I have), but they were good enough that if I oriented them correctly the gaps weren’t too big. I took out all my big clamps for the glue up and some straight boards wrapped in cling wrap to try and keep everything aligned.
Once that had dried, I did quite a lot of sanding with a portable belt sander. Working may way up through the grits (80-320) took a lot of time and created tons of fine red dust.
With sanding done, I cut the ends straight with a circular saw. I used a straight piece of wood as a guide, so the cuts came out pretty clean.
Not pictured here is my failed attempt and salvage of a bad epoxy job. This cedar is pretty knotty, so there were a number of voids to fill to get a flat top. My test piece came out really well, so I moved on to the big table. It turns out my eyeballed mixture wasn’t even. So it didn’t harden. Fantastic.
I was able to scrape and yank out most of what I poured, and tried again (this time with disposable measuring cups). Expoxy is pretty nasty stuff, so this process was slow and laden with PPE. The second pour hardened correctly, thank god. Unfortunately, the unhardened expoxy was liquid enough that it somewhat absored into the wood. This resulted in some dark splotches on the finished top. Thankfully, the cedar is pretty busy anyway so it doesn’t look too bad.
After that I put on two coats of water-based polyurethane with some light sanding.