Friday, June 8, 2012

Wood How To: Standing Desk Reader

© R. Mark Sink
Wood How To: Standing Desk Reader by R. Mark Sink

The more or less famous idea of the standing desk is rooted in the notion of reading, from the Latin lectus, meaning "lectern," which comes from the root of law and defined as a "reading desk." The substance of the reading desk is also addressed in the English language and defined as a "wooden platform," meaning "pulpit," from the Latin pulpitum, leaving the notion of softness as with spruce, aspen, or pine, used in paper making. All these encompass the idea of an elevated platform in which our world's readers suffice as necessary.

The standing desk reader in which I have built was designed to replace an older 30 minute creation from the past which had been used many years. Specifically, I wanted to address the tilting function and allow for the top to swing up to a much steeper angle so that the standing desk reader would also serve as a table reader which would easily allow someone who is sitting in a chair to capability use the standing reader near the office computer desk. This is great because if you are studying the dictionary or possibly the constitution, you can easily flip the pages next to you while also capably typing on a keyboard without being uncomfortable in the process.

© R. Mark Sink
Here at right you can see the standing desk reader can be used for any type of book or magazine display which would accompany any type of research one might be in progress of doing. In this particular design, the height of the reader is 34 inches from the floor. The back edge is 38 inches which equates to an 18 degree cut for use as a reader while one is standing. The depth and width are 12 and 19 inches respectively. With that said, the plinths were added to the legs to increase stability. One may increase stability further by closing in the back side which in effect adds more weight and design capability. One shelf is at the height of 7 inches and the second at 25 inches.

In construction, the design is the same as that of the standing desk design kit that was previously built. The legs are 3/4 inch material in Honduras mahogany. These are scraps left from previous projects. These are ripped at 2 inches wide and two pieces are glued together to make the legs while the shelves are butted up to the outside piece, and the inside vertical pieces are set between the shelves. This provides the strength necessary for the table to be structurally sound, and hold square.

These are built on a flat work table same as the floor, another type of standing desk. If you intend to build one similar to this one, remember that carpeting affects stability and children should be made aware this type of furniture may tip over if bumped into. With this piece, the back side was finished the same as front basically as the table will be used in a manner that leaves it exposed.

It could also be noted that if you decide to build one, you could use solid material to do so, although you would have to join up the top piece as this is 14 1/4 inches wide by 20 1/4 inches long with a 3/8 inch thick piece of mahogany glued to the edge. The front piece was made wider and rounded down to the surface at each side. This allowed for the stop to be at exactly 90 degrees.

© R. Mark Sink
You can make up the bridge pieces any size you desire which sit at the top of each side. I again used scrap pieces I found laying around but left a space at the back edge where another piece of wood could be attached underneath the back edge. (see photo left) Here, a light was attached to the table which has a long adjustable arm.

You'll also notice that the board that is stored inside the top is now flush with the back edge. This is the third position which works off to one side and is optional. The entire standing desk reader is mahogany and stained the traditional color of intense dark red.

One thing that stands out about these designs is the amount of material needed is lessened by creating the lectern or leg notion but you will find out of your geometry is working when you begin to construct the parts into a standing unit. The most critical area of construction is divided into two parts. The first part is joining the legs with the bottom shelf and tying the bridge at the top. I divide this up, squaring the legs with the bottom shelf (without the added pieces inside on the legs above) by adding the top back piece in and squaring up the whole unit to set dry overnight. The next day with the unit standing square, all the additional pieces are added to add more strength to the squaring done the day before. By the time these pieces are finally in place, the piece has become a stable and square unit. If this process is not handled well, your standing desk will likely not sit well or actually be out of square. To prevent these failures, use a framing square extensively making sure that when pieces dry, they are also square and 90 degrees as appropriate.

© R. Mark Sink
I'd really like to build more of these of various designs based on some of these concepts of reduced material although when we start getting into fabrications of various compounds the weight drastically increases. This standing desk reader easily weighs less than 50 pounds and these designs offer the reader ways to address their ability to activate their desires.

If you would like me to build a standing desk reader, lectern or pulpit design, please contact me at avatarone(at) We can create the standing desk as you had imagined it for your space through any elaboration possible.

Be sure and check out  the standing desk design kit as this serves as another example of this power of communion. Both these designs used a top that is adjustable in some manner. With this particular design, two brass hinges are on each side under the front edge which allows the top to swing to a vertical position and books or other items can be stored inside the top.

To remove the bottom shelf would require the piece be made horizontally more square to account for the stability. This piece weighs just enough to become fairly stable while only addressing 12 inches of depth. Again, contact me for your preferences and we can determine cost and find a shipper if necessary.

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