James+James Solid Wood L-Shaped Standing Desk Review

November 29, 2022
  • First Look

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Overview

Review Summary

The Knotty Alder Hardwood desktop is handcraft in the USA but is oddly paired with a cheap Chinese-made base that’s dramatically underperforming for this kind of price tag. The dual-stage base has a minimal weight rating even though it has three motors. The desktop edging is all right-angles, offering no ergo-contouring as you’d expect in a solid wood standing desk priced this high. Six different stains are offered, but James+James is known for customizations, so if you need something other than the two standard sizes or want other modifications you can call them for a quote.

MSRP / List Price

$4,723

Street Price

Standard size: $4,723
Customizable: Need to call for quote

Shipping

Free curbside shipping to all 48 contiguous states

Warranty

Not defined outright, but they say “If your item ever cracks or splits, we’ll fix or replace it.” This seems to only apply to the desktop. James+James says nothing about a warranty on the lifting base, but we figured out the base is a VIVO V133e, which carries a very short 3-year warranty–commensurate with the quality level of its componentry.

Lift Type

James+James discloses nothing about the bases used on their electric standing desks, but we were able to identify it as a dual-stage, three-motor VIVO V133e made in China.

Transit Speed

1.5 inch per second

Controller

The James+James doesn’t have a controller installed on any of its staged photographs, but according to VIVO’s listing on the legs, it comes with a very basic “touch screen” handset.

Colors Available

Charred ember
Tobacco
Tuscany
Deep grey
Harvest wheat
Barn wood

Construction

The Knotty Alder wood is what James+James uses for all their furniture. It is kiln dried in-house, “distressed”, and has a reclaimed wood appearance. No ergo-contouring, all edges are 90-degrees. The desktop is protected by a polyurethane coating.

Adjustment Range

James+James claims 27″ to 50″, but when we do the math using the VIVO V133e base it comes out to 25.9” to 51.9” (with desktop).

Weight Capacity

Unspecified on James+James’ website. But the VIVO V133e base they use on this desk has a 330 lbs max lift capacity, which is quite low for three motors. Executive and solid wood L-desks in this price range usually have bases capable of at least 540 lbs of lift.

Dimensions

Main desk: 72″ L x 30″ W x 1.5″ H
Return: 48″ L x 24″ W x 1.5″ H

Connectivity Features

No Bluetooth

Typical Assembly Time

James+James doesn’t list an estimated assembly time, but in our experience with similar kinds of L-shaped desks, it will take most users around 90 minutes to fully assemble, given they have the needed tools ready.

ANSI/BIFMA Certified

No

NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic

No

Competition

Compare to All Top-Rated Standing Desks
Compare to Other Solid Wood Standing Desks
Compare to other American-Made Standing Desks
Compare to Other Executive Standing Desks
Compare to Other Adjustable-Height L-Desks

Where to buy Buy on CarpenterJames

Rating

Ease of Assembly
1.5
Reliability
1.5
Quality and Aesthetics
3.5
Ergonomics
2.5
Innovation
2.0
Value
2.0
Suitability for Treadmill Desking
1.0
Positives Although only offered in one standard size off the website, James+James specializes in custom orders. So if you're looking for something that's cut to-the-inch to fit your space, and you like the distressed alder hardwood look, this may be an interesting option for you.
Negatives Extremely cheap VIVO lifting base to pair with such an expensive, handcrafted desktop. The warranty situation is questionable. Only one species offered, which is a "distressed" alder that has a "reclaimed look", with just six stain options. As custom-made standing desks go, that's a pretty limited offering.

Bottom Line

2.0
While priced like an executive standing desk, this expensive American-handcrafted desktop is paired with a ridiculously cheap, commodity-grade, Chinese-made lifting base (VIVO), which makes no sense at all. While there are no warranty specifics to be had on the website, the company states they'll replace any desktop that cracks or warps (forever?). No warranty from James+James on the base, but we figured out that it's a VIVO base frame, which comes with a 3 year warranty. Most executive and solid wood desks come with a 10-15 year warranty and are much higher performance.

Executive Desk Price, But Is It Worth It?

As we dive into in our round-up of The Best Executive Standing Desks, we typically categorize any desk over $2,200 in the Executive category, so this Sit to Stand Adjustable L-shaped electric standing desk from James+James should quality. But it doesn’t take long to see the incongruity with other desks in this category.

⁣The look of the distressed wood top can fit into a variety of décor preferences.

While the desktop is custom hand-crafted in America, the base is a super-cheap, commodity-grade, single-stage unit that seems too be a complete mismatch. It also has no stated warranty coverage, which surprised us given that the desktop appears to have a lifetime warranty.

However, we figured out that the base is made by China-based VIVO, which puts a short 3-year warranty on it. The VIVO V133e based doesn’t have any of the state-of-the-art features you’d expect of a $3,000+ desk. No Bluetooth, no anti-collision detection, a very low lift capacity for a three-motor system, and a very basic handset. See the Assembly Manual for an idea of the installation process, which will take a good 90 minutes if you have a helper and the right power tools.

The desktop itself is made of a distressed Knotty Alder Hardwood that has a “reclaimed look.” This is the same wood that James+James uses to make all their furniture. It’s kiln-dried in-house, and offered in six different stains. The desktop is a basic rectangle with no ergo-contouring. The finish is a coating of polyurethane. This very basic production process doesn’t touch the level of customization and artisan craftsmanship that other solid wood standing desk manufacturers offer, and yet it costs substantially more.

While the company is known for making a wide variety of home furnishings, it’s pretty clear that ergonomic furniture for the office is something they dabble in but have limited knowledge of. James+James is a garage-started company based in the Ozarks that began 11 years ago with one coffee table.

Bottom Line

Although we have not been able to get this product into our testing labs just yet, we can tell enough just from what we can see online and from inquiries with the company’s sales department. That assessment shows that there are far better desks out there for the money, in a far greater variety of shapes, sizes, species, and finishes paired with far higher quality American-made lifting bases. The extremely rudimentary base is such a great mismatch with this very expensive alder wood desktop that we are reluctant to even list it in the Executive Standing Desk category but for the price.

Be sure to check out some of our other solid wood standing desk reviews to help you find the best one for your ergonomic workplace. And if you’re not sure that solid wood is in your budget you can check out many more standing desks in our comprehensive round-up of the best electric standing desks.

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