Lap desk finally finished.... made from free scraps.

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Project by AngieO posted 05-21-2013 01:30 PM 2682 views 6 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is one of my favorite kinds of projects…. ones made from FREE material. I found this cute little lapdesk on a blog I follow and decided that I could really use it and that I probably had the materials already on hand for the job.

At work we recently acquired a new building. It’s a large pole barn with extremely high ceilings. There was a partial wall built that was about 4×8. It was constructed out of 2×3’s with bead board on one side and plywood on the other. Then there was a nice 1×12 shelf along the top. When we acquired the building the boss immediately wanted to demolish the wall. Before he took a sledge hammer to it and destroyed it I reminded him that I’m a wood hoarder (he had no idea how bad I am… lol). So instead he lovingly disassembled it and brought it all over to me.

I used the 2×3’s for the legs and the side braces. The 1×12 was used for the top and the bottom and I used pallet wood for the frame.

I cut the 2×3’s down to 2×2’s and put all the pallet wood into the planer so they would be all the same thickness.
I assembled the middle portion first (kinda looked like a drawer). Then added the four legs and the two side 2×2 braces.
I used glue and my brad nailer.

I used Minwax Special Walnut to stain it. .

I’m still working on my finishing skills. I used a coat of poly on it and it seems to have “grayed” it. Any suggestions?
Not that I mind… I really like the way it turned out. And I’m the one that’s going to be using it so I love it. But if I was making it for someone else I would prefer a better finish.

This was also my first time attaching any hardware. The hinge on the right side is a bit crooked. But again… it’s for me so I was ok with that. It was another successful learning experience.

Of course… Gotta have lumberjocks pulled up on my ipad for the pic… and what better use of the storage space than to put some of my favorite magazines in it :)

In the gallery pics you’ll notice my big ole bound book of Shop Notes. LOVE IT! Sadly not mine. Borrowing from a friend. But trying to absorb all the info I can from it while I have them.

As always…. I love to hear comments back from you guys. I’ve learned a lot. Please feel free to give me some constructive criticism. I’m a pretty tough girl… I can take it. LOL. Especially about the finishing. While I’m pleased with it… there’s still lots to learn and what better way than words from people who have done it time and time again.

Thanks for looking!

23 comments so far

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1984 posts in 3044 days

#1 posted 05-21-2013 01:45 PM

Very nice work Ms. Angie. I made one myself and I use it all the time. Your looks about 200% better than mine however. Great job

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3941 days

#2 posted 05-21-2013 01:48 PM

Nice work, Angie. It’s a real nice and practical design. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

645 posts in 3227 days

#3 posted 05-21-2013 02:21 PM

Nice work. I like the exposed hinges on top.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View Vicki's profile


1166 posts in 4419 days

#4 posted 05-21-2013 02:39 PM

That turned out really nice. I like that it has a good size to it and the storage area is a great touch. I bought a self centering hinge bit from Rockler.
That helped my hinge lineup greatly. The greyish tint might be from water based poly? I’ve switched to that from oil base because I like the fast drying time, but I do prefer the amber tint of the oil based. The items I’ve used the water based on have achieved a bit warmer tone with time though, so maybe your desk will too.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4652 days

#5 posted 05-21-2013 02:42 PM

Looks Like a real fun project well done.


View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3587 days

#6 posted 05-21-2013 04:39 PM

Very nice, I like the hinges door also.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Alongiron's profile


654 posts in 3768 days

#7 posted 05-21-2013 07:09 PM

A little sketchup, free wood, and imagination….I like it! Great job

-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30615 posts in 3413 days

#8 posted 05-21-2013 07:25 PM

Great save and great project. Very useful.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3265 days

#9 posted 05-21-2013 09:39 PM

very nice,great build.makes it even nicer with free wood!!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17310 posts in 3693 days

#10 posted 05-21-2013 11:15 PM

For finish…

I’m DEFINITELY not an expert, but you mentioned ‘a coat of poly.’ I suggest to you the power of three: at three coats of any finish, great stuff happens. Do a light steel wool and re-apply a couple times mote, you’ll like it.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 3222 days

#11 posted 05-22-2013 02:10 AM

Smitty_Cabinetshop…. Thanks.. I will try that. I forgot that I had actually even picked up some steel wool for that very purpose. :)

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3082 days

#12 posted 05-22-2013 10:36 AM

Neat little table. Isn’t life grand when you’re workin’ in the shop? :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View scrollsaw's profile


13030 posts in 4929 days

#13 posted 05-22-2013 08:39 PM

Very nice Angie. Where did you get the plans? I would like to try to make one myself thanks.

-- Todd

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 3222 days

#14 posted 05-22-2013 11:57 PM

If you go on and search for “lap desk” you will find them. This is altered a little though. Legs are shorter and ther are no side storage.

And yes… Life is grand when you are working in the shop. And even more grand when you finish a project.

View scrollsaw's profile


13030 posts in 4929 days

#15 posted 05-23-2013 11:27 AM

Thanks Angie

-- Todd

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