Office Desks 101

Buying Guide

Office Desks 101

Office Desks 101

You need a desk, specifically an office desk. But you don’t know where to start. You don’t know a double pedestal from a single pedestal from a bike pedal; a laminate from a veneer; a credenza from an armoire. You don’t know the difference between a contemporary, transitional or traditional desk. Or a desk that is L-shaped, U-shaped or X-Y-Z-shaped. How much assembly does “assembly required” require? How does delivery on desks work? And so on.

Welcome to Office Desks 101.

The World of Office Desks

Let’s start with price.

At the low-end you have office desks you would find at Wal-Mart. These are inexpensive, functional and may or may not be stylish. On the down side, they are usually made of particle board (wood pieces held together with glue, i.e. significantly cheaper than plywood, but heavier than and not as strong) and require assembly.

How much assembly? It can be a lot. Even if you are handy. Of course, if you are not — like me — you might be up most of the night putting all the pieces together (like I did once).

Office desks requiring assembly on our website are noted by the symbol RTA (Ready To Assemble).

To Veneer or Not to Veneer: That is the question

A higher-quality office desk typically comes assembled (phew), is made from real wood (not particle board), has a high-pressure laminate or veneer finish and is stylish — whether contemporary or traditional or transitional (a cross between contemporary and traditional).

Of course, you pay more for quality.

“Laminate” in general refers to a sheet of paper (can be any color or pattern) that is laminated (bonded) to a core-material (e.g. particle board or plywood) in one of a number of ways: low-pressure, thermofused or high-pressure. It’s not necessary to know the details, but a quality office desk at the minimum will have a high-pressure laminate or one that is thermofused. These help protect the desks from dents, warping and other damage.

Even better is a veneer. Whereas a laminate is sheet of paper, a veneer is a very thin layer of real wood that is fused to a core material (fiberboard or plywood).

Signed, Sealed, Delivered — It’s Yours

There’s a lot more to office desks. However, it’s important to remember a couple of points specific to ordering office desks:

You’ve made your pick. You know what office desk you want. You’ve got your credit card ready and are about to place the order. Wait! What about shipping?

Good question, I’m glad you asked.

There are two basic shipping options: tailgate and inside.

In either event, it’s important to keep in mind, when placing an order for office desks, that anything over 200 pounds (as most desks are) requires either a loading dock or a forklift. If your operation does not have either, then you will need what is called a “liftgate” delivery. That’s a truck with a liftgate, a mechanical ledge that can lower the heavy furniture to the ground. This costs extra but is usually necessary.

Either way, I envy you. Getting an office desk is so exciting.

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