in woodworking

My new desk

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been spending all of my free time building a new computer desk in my workshop. I’m quite pleased with how it came out. 

library book, which I adapted to meet my needs. It consists of a corner desk, a writing desk, and a printer/scanner stand. The modular design allows for different configurations, which is great if I decide I want to move it somewhere else or arrange it differently down the road.

I used relatively cheap, off-the-shelf wood from Home Depot to keep the cost down. The desktop and keyboard tray surfaces are 3/4″ birch plywood edged with 2″ Radiata Pine. The legs are also constructed of Radiata Pine with birch plywood panels. 

The desk also sports a plywood bookshelf that forms the rear support for the corner piece. It serves to support the weight of the monitor, and the books and external hard drives stored there keep most of the cables, bricks, and power strips out of sight.

The black material covering the wooden keyboard tray consists of two sheets of .99¢ cent foam mat sold for children’s craft projects, which I mounted with a light tacking glue that’s easy to remove should the panels be damaged. The mat material is similar to what you’d get in a mouse pad, but it’s thinner and firmer. 

the desk using double-adhesive velcro strips. I mounted a USB hub under the desk to connect all of the devices.

I also devised a simple wooden laptop stand to raise and angle the Macbook’s monitor. I based the dimensions of the stand on the technical specs of the Rain Design mStand.

I had to buy two items to complete the desk: an adjustable keyboard mount (without a tray, as I chose to make a custom oversized tray) and a monitor arm. The monitor arm is particularly nice as I can adjust height, depth, and angle of the monitor with ease.

While the desk turned out well, it’s worth noting that using wood from a hardware store chain isn’t ideal. It’s not furniture-grade material, and I don’t have a jointer or a planer. So I had to do a fair amount of planing by hand to fix warps, bends, and thickness differences. Also, working with plywood can be maddening. The top layer of birch is so thin that it’s scarily easy to sand right through it. As for tools, it required a table saw (with a dado blade), a mitre saw, a drill, a few hand planes, chisels, and a lot of clamps for the glue-up. 

The project is complete, but there are a few things that could make it better. For instance, I’d love to mount a 30″ display on that monitor arm! And I’d like to take advantage of the fact that the monitor can be raised to standing height. The problem, of course, is that I’d need a raised platform to hold the keyboard and mouse.  I’m envisioning a small tabletop lectern that I could mount to the front of the desk for times when I feel like standing up to compute. I’d want it to be hinged and collapsable so I could store it nearby. Hmm. I’ll save that for another day.

 

 

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