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Creating a Lift Desk

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Blog series by Underdog updated 02-26-2016 08:31 PM 16 parts 18801 reads 17 comments total

Part 1: Design Criteria and Platform

12-03-2015 10:00 PM by Underdog | 4 comments »

Almost a year ago, I began having trouble with Sciatica. Ever since then I’ve been doing a lot of research on the problem, and have long since concluded that my main problem is that I sit at a computer too much. (So what in the world am I doing right now?) I’ve been to PT and the Gym and walking a lot more… but it’s not solving the main issue, which is the sitting at the desk. So naturally I’ve also been doing a lot of research into ergonomic workstations. I&#...

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Part 2: Designing the Desk

12-03-2015 10:17 PM by Underdog | 2 comments »

After a lot of measuring (both the office and the mechanism), I drew up the stripped down drafting table in Sketchup, and imported into Cabinet Vision. I then came up with a design to incorporate both the mechanism, and the storage I wanted, as well as meeting other design criteria mentioned in my previous post. I did not get to make it in Cherry as I originally wanted, because, well… I just didn’t need to spend that much money. I would have liked it a lot better. Maybe the sec...

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Part 3: Part Cutout and Base Assembly

12-04-2015 06:57 PM by Underdog | 0 comments »

With a design worked up in Cabinet Vision, I was ready to output and cut out parts. With the help of a friend who owns a new Camaster, I cut out the case and top parts, and then began putting stuff together. Unfortunately I didn’t get pix of the cutout process… but I have several assembly photos.Face frames actually came after part cutout and case assembly, but show them first because the second photo is with the bases assembled with the face frames.I cut out the face frames an...

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Part 4: The MECHANISM

12-04-2015 07:31 PM by Underdog | 0 comments »

When I first got this drafting table, I had to think of how I was going to incorporate it into the desk I wanted to build. Several design decisions were made simply because of the size of my office, and the size of this mechanism. I couldn’t go any larger than 70” wide, and 30” deep simply because the office just isn’t big enough for it. I couldn’t go much smaller than that because this mechanism is just that big. As it was, I needed to remove the legs from th...

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Part 5: Re-finishing Unused Trim - A Cautionary Tale

12-04-2015 07:59 PM by Underdog | 0 comments »

So thinking to save a little money, since costs were mounting up, I’d refinish some unused trim that was on hand in the cabinet shop I work in. I found out the reason we rarely refinish this stuff. It’s a LOT of sanding! The price was right though… Bleah. I think I’d just buy new trim, paint, and be done… I also would use my 2” maple stock instead of my barely 1-5/8” poplar stock to make my 1-1/2” corner molding next time around. For on...

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Part 6: Applying Trim

12-04-2015 08:39 PM by Underdog | 2 comments »

Finally with all the trim painted, it was time to start applying it. I had finally decided that it was best to use corner trim and butt the base mold and RB3 to that, rather than try to get a modular desk back together exactly right with mitered corners on the trim. Unprotected sharp edges, not quite square construction, and all that, you see… So here are pix of everything but the top getting trim put on. I don’t think you can see it, but the corner moldings on the inside le...

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Part 7: First Assembly, Bolting in Mechanism, First Look

12-04-2015 09:21 PM by Underdog | 0 comments »

The next thing that happened in this sequence, was that I clamped the back and bases together, then drilled holes through the back of the bases, and into the back. I then inserted the threaded fasteners into the back, and epoxied them into place. As a side note, it takes a surprising amount of hardware to make this kind of thing. I now have a box full of 1/4” x 20 fasteners and washers. Then, with the left base lying on the finished back, I bolted it onto the back, inserted the me...

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Part 8: Drawers, Guides, and Sleeves

12-04-2015 09:44 PM by Underdog | 0 comments »

One thing you have to have when you plan to have drawers in your desk, is drawer boxes. And if you have boxes, you usually have guides. And in my case, I also have the guides mounted to sleeves to aid in installation and adjustment.I did the drawer box fabrication at the cabinet shop because it’s just easier than trying to do all this at home. No big deal. Drawer side material is all cut out and banded in 96” long strips. Only thing left to do then is cut to size, glue/brad it to...

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Part 9: 2nd Assembly and a Surprise

12-04-2015 09:56 PM by Underdog | 1 comment »

In a previous post, you read that I actually had to remove the mechanism, and have the right arm rewelded so that it was the same height off the base as the left one. Once I got the lift mechanism back in and got the brackets for the tops bolted on, and drilled for fasteners, I test fit the top to see where the inserts needed to go. Huh. Look at that, says I, the center post of the mechanism hits the top and keeps it off the desk. Just before taking the top off and routing a recess, I mark...

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Part 10: Assembling and Attaching Modesty Panels

12-07-2015 03:32 PM by Underdog | 0 comments »

I decided early on that I would attach the CPU, it’s pullout holder, the keyboard pullout, and possibly the UPS, to the top somehow, so that I only had to have one power cord that flexed as the top was adjusted from the sitting to standing positions. That being the case, I also wanted to hide all the assorted electronic ganglia from view in the standing position. So I designed a “U” shaped Modesty Panel (Heretofore called a “skirt”- nomenclature changed to avoid ...

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Part 11: Drawer Fronts and Door

02-12-2016 10:01 PM by Underdog | 0 comments »

I thought about what kind of doors I wanted that would go with the rest of the desk, and finally decided on a mission style slab drawer front for the smaller drawers, and a back cut flat panel for the larger drawers. I also decided I didn’t want it to look like I had a door on one side and a drawer stack on the other. I wanted it to be symmetrical. So I decided to spline two drawer fronts together to make the door, and make it look like a drawer stack. As you will see it turned out pret...

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Part 12: Adding Beauty Mold as "Panels"

02-12-2016 10:17 PM by Underdog | 0 comments »

One of the things I agonized over for a few weeks, before finally making a decision was whether to put beauty mold on the back and ends. I had drawn this originally with slats creating a panel look and just didn’t like it. Then I decided I’d put beauty mold on the create the panel look. So I purchased enough footage to do the panels and the doors. It took several hours to get enough black paint on this stuff… Anyway, I also made a decision NOT to put it on the doors.How I fi...

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Part 13: Applying Finish and Sanding AGAIN

02-15-2016 10:06 PM by Underdog | 0 comments »

I got permission to finish my desk at work, thankfully, because this would have been a royal pain to do in my home shop as small as it is.The cabinet shop is equipped with a sanding booth, and two spray booths, with all requisite equipment. I can’t remember, but it seems I put finish on these one weekend. Took two days I think. But it could have been just one. It’s all a blur at this point.Anyway, it took two coats of sealer, and two coats of top coat for each piece. There were se...

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Part 14: Old Desk Removal- Permanently Temporary Item

02-15-2016 10:26 PM by Underdog | 2 comments »

I grew up on a homestead in Alaska from 1968 to 1980 or so… and one of the inside jokes that came about during the period was about the temporary buildings we built, becoming permanent because we never got around to building a permanent building. So they were always “permanently temporary”. Well, “temporary” was what these prefab desks were to be when we first put them in our brand new building 13 years ago. So far only two of the original five have been repla...

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Part 15: Final Assembly and Installation - putting the puzzle together.

02-16-2016 09:22 PM by Underdog | 1 comment »

I started working on this August 1, 2015, when I purchased the drafting table. I have a receipt for $100 from a flea market in north Georgia. I finally put it together in my office January 17, 2016, which is about 4 weeks ago today. Took me almost six months from start to finish. I’m now using this desk as I write this. The assembly went fairly well since I’d done it a couple of times previously. The sequence is as follows. Place the back on the carpet face down. Place one b...

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Part 16: The Final Product, A Prototype

02-26-2016 08:31 PM by Underdog | 5 comments »

Several years ago, when I first envisioned a new desk for my office I was thinking of a total remodel to accomplish several things, one of which was getting our server off the floor and into a cabinet, another of which was creating a showpiece for custom carving capabilities. Now, a few years later, due to health priorities, what I wound up with was something totally different. Now I have a functional lift desk that will accommodate any position, standing, sitting, or anything in between. ...

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