Crude lap desk

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Project by Derakon posted 06-24-2012 02:38 AM 1935 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a request from my mom for her birthday—she wanted a lap desk so she could write with her iPad without having to have a table handy. As my first attempt at doing remotely complicated joinery, it’s pretty crude. The rabbet joints aren’t quite flush, the half-lapped boards aren’t quite flat, etc. Made out of cheapo Home Depot pine wood (the lightest wood I had handy; it still weighs about five pounds I’d guess), no finish applied since I wasn’t quite certain what the proper approach was to finishing something that has hinges and clasps and so on.

Anyway, for all that I’m not so happy with it, she likes it, and at the very least it’s functional. And seeing as there’s no way I’m going to get good at these skills without practicing them, I might as well get something useful out of that practice.

3 comments so far

View Mathew's profile


3 posts in 2733 days

#1 posted 06-24-2012 04:01 AM

I am also very new at this. Functionality is what I build for right now as well. Beauty will come in time with the skill (so they tell me…) At any rate, keep at it!

View Lifesaver2000's profile


556 posts in 3656 days

#2 posted 06-24-2012 04:34 AM

I know it wasn’t exactly a question, but I will “answer” anyway. The usual way that finishing is handled with an item that has hardware is to finish it before installing the hardware, or, if fitting is required with the hardware in place, to remove the hardware after said fitting is done, apply the finish then reinstall the hardware.

As for functionality, as far as I am concerned it is King. I will NEVER build something just to look at, no matter how good I might get at woodworking some day. If something that I need or want to use can also look good, that is great, but for me what I do with the things I build is the #1 most important aspect of any project.

View Oldtool's profile


2793 posts in 2735 days

#3 posted 06-24-2012 05:37 PM

Looks good to me. I’m sure your mother appreciates it as is, and practice is necessary to gain improvement. As you get better with practice, you can always make another, possibly using a different wood, like cherry.
There are plans available for lap desks that would suit your next attempt, search the Internet for a plan. I know Popular Woodworking featured such a desk, so did Fine Woodworking, and both magazines have an article index on their web sites. Back issues are available too.
I go through the Bargain Books at book stores, like Barnes & Noble, where I secured many of my reference books with plans.
Keep practicing, while having fun doing it.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

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