Lap Desk

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Project by Kerry posted 05-16-2010 01:56 AM 2860 views 10 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It’s been a while since I posted any projects. Actually it’s been a while since I completed any projects. Up to now I’ve been using a large hardcover book on my lap when I use my netbook computer (gets hot) and wanted something a little different so I finally made some use of part of a padauk board I bought a long time ago, and some wenge I also had from a long while back:

This was my first attempt at sand shading as well. There are a few little gaps, and I managed to sand through in a couple of spots but I think they’re not terrible and next time will be better. Like all of my projects (seems like it anyway), this one presented a few self inflicted challenges. I was careful to make the box square, or so I thought until I went to attach the lid which was square! Argh. Either I measured corner to corner wrong or left the clamp I put on diagonally to draw the two corners in with a little too much tension. I added a strip of wenge to the outside edge of each of the breadboard ends and thankfully they blend in quite remarkably. Then I put a coat of shellac on the lid. It looked great! I let it dry overnight and then went to put on a second coat and found some red from the padauk had leached into the shellac and coated the maple stringing – a nice shade of pink! Argh. I sanded it all down and then used gloss poly.

I found both the padauk and the wenge to be challenging to work with. The wenge is very hard and splinters like mad. It also takes a quick toll on chisels and plane irons. The wenge on the other hand is quite soft and, much like mahogany, has reversing grain and will tear out readily without a high angle blade. I got to use my little Veritas scraper plane quite a bit on this project as a result.

I know a lot of lap desks have a little drawer in the back, but I wanted to be able to store a laptop inside so I didn’t add a drawer. I may try another one using oak and walnut and might put a drawer in that one.

I still have to rub it out, but I’ll leave it sit a couple of weeks first. Anyway, thanks for looking.


-- Alberta, Canada

13 comments so far

View Richard's profile


11309 posts in 3672 days

#1 posted 05-16-2010 02:06 AM


That is One VERY Classy Looking Lap Desk! GOOD STUFF!

I read your Profile and it was nice to see that you sometimes prefer to do your work by hand even when you could have used Power Tools.

I do the same thing on occassion. I think it actually Helps or Improves Our Abilities as “Woodworkers”.

Thanks for posting. Keep them coming!

Rick (Another Canuck ..LOL..)

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3924 days

#2 posted 05-16-2010 02:10 AM

Kerry, I have a customer that I’ve built a number of projects for her and she loves Wenge! I know what you mean about the tear out and it is tough on blades and knives. I love the final look though. I really like your lap desk. You did a great job. Nce job on the inlays.

-- John @

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4413 days

#3 posted 05-16-2010 03:12 AM

Looks nice. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3808 posts in 3748 days

#4 posted 05-16-2010 04:05 AM

I remember reading somewhere about applying shellac without bleeding from darker colors to lighter colors. A quick search of my hard drive doesn’t reveal the file I was looking for. Maybe someone else has some information on that? I remember there is a way to avoid the bleed-through. I think it was in a search on french polishing techniques for guitars.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4857 days

#5 posted 05-16-2010 04:05 AM

Man that sand shading looks great! I can’t believe it’s your first try.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View michelletwo's profile


2783 posts in 3654 days

#6 posted 05-16-2010 11:52 AM


View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2806 posts in 4231 days

#7 posted 05-16-2010 05:12 PM

Sweetness!!! Great job

-- Dennis Zongker

View a1Jim's profile


117955 posts in 4216 days

#8 posted 05-16-2010 05:21 PM

Hey Kerry
Very impressive a refined classic look.


View DonJ's profile


251 posts in 4166 days

#9 posted 05-16-2010 06:28 PM


Well done with a very classy and classic look! By the way, how does one find time to build something for themselves?

-- Don, San Antonio, TX

View tinnman65's profile


1398 posts in 4053 days

#10 posted 05-17-2010 12:51 AM

Very nice Kerry, nice job on your sand shading.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3754 days

#11 posted 05-28-2010 11:58 PM

looks beautyfull
thank´s for sharing


View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 4135 days

#12 posted 06-15-2010 02:01 AM

Can’t believe I missed this one…............
Fantastic lap box.
I actually like working with both Padauk and Wenge ( Padauk is really messy though ) and like the combination.

The corner inlay details are absolutely perfect…...... I have never heard of sand shaging but sure would like to find out about it. I really like the look.

Thanks for sharing Kerry

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View Kerry's profile


161 posts in 4429 days

#13 posted 06-16-2010 01:14 AM

Thank you all for the kind comments. For anyone interested in inlays and sand shading, here are a couple of great resources:

Hmmmmmm. I just tried the PWW video and they’re site seems to be down. Hopefully it’ll be back up soon.

Thanks again,

-- Alberta, Canada

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