Building a Writing Desk in the Woods

I’m making a new desk out of maple and it’s going to be beautiful

Building a desk out of maple wood in Upper Michigan, off-grid.

I never imagined that at age 56 I’d be off-grid in the woods of Upper Michigan making myself a new writing desk, but this is exactly what I’m doing.

As you can see above, I have the 28" legs, 95 percent straight and my hand can just barely fit around them. I’ve cut the maple, which is still quite green, and I’m using my woodsman knife to de-bark each piece of wood.

The Cross Beams of My Maple Writing Desk

Yesterday I also trimmed the first cross beam to hold the top.

The beams are 50 inches long, and I cut them that long because I’m still contemplating how I’m going to attach them to the legs. Most desks tend to be about 29" high from the floor to the desktop.

This means my legs are too long right now, too.

The 28" legs of my off-grid Maple writing desk.

I did that on purpose, too.


I’m going to make the pieces interlocking. That means one piece will have a male-stem of 1–1 1/2 inches, and the receiving part, a square hole chiseled out.

Once I get things lodged properly, I will then screw them in place.

This is day four or five of gathering the wood, making the cuts, and then debarking.

Bleaching the Wood

Another important step in the process, because the wood is freshly cut and has sap running throughout, I need to either pressure wash the pieces I make, or wash them in a mix of bleach and water.

So that’s the update for today

Last night we endured an amazing series of thunderstorms while sleeping in our tent.

We stayed dry, and Maycee, my Great Pyrenees, who when we were in the apartment in Dallas, would bark at the rain, and then run to a closet to hide herself from the lightning.

That didn’t happen last night. Maycee stayed by me for a good bit. Then she moved to her cushioned bed. And then she wound up in the closet area of the tent surrounded by the tubs of clothes, etc.

So we came into town this morning to recharge batteries, etc.

And now we must head back into the wonder of the woods.

Check out the description part of the video in YouTube if you’re interested in subscribing, learning more about the tent, and even if you want to get one yourself.

Until my next post!


Donald J.

Donald J. Claxton - Woodsman by Design

Donald J. Claxton is a woodsman by design. He tent camps during summer in Upper Michigan and makes wooden crosses and carves caricatures to make a living.