|Project by Boxguy||posted 07-22-2012 06:28 AM||3917 views||23 times favorited||25 comments|
Pictured is a White Oak and Black Walnut box styled after the lap-top desks and teacher’s desks from Colonial times. It has a lift-up lid and will hold an 8 1/2×11 inch piece of paper on the top and inside the box. I had to stain the wood a bit to go with the bedroom suit, and it is finished with 3 coats of wipe-on poly.
Dimensions/Material: Slant is 15 1/2×11, Flat is 15 1/2×3 1/2, Base is 13 1/4×10 x 4 1/4, Inner shelf is 12 1/4×4 All the sides are made of 1/2 wood. Top is 1/2 inch oak veneer on a Masonite core so it won’t warp or split.
Historical Note: Ben Franklin actually had a lap top desk he carried with him on trips. I have seen it displayed in a small museum in a bank in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Franklin’s desk folded up and stored writing supplies like ink, paper, envelopes, sealing wax, and quills. It is a beautiful design. Link
Construction Tips: This builds much like any other box, except the shelf needs a dado groove in the back and sides. The pencil holder indent on top was done with a bowl-making router bit.
Design Features: I wanted a much more basic design than Franklin’s that would be fairly easy to make and would store odds and ends in the bedroom, be a good place to keep a calendar, and hold a pencil. To avoid losing things and to avoid pinching my fingers I want the hinge to run continuously from side to side.
For that to work I had to make several adjustments. The cross piece gives me a place to fasten the hinge to the top. The vertical pieces thicken the look of the top, and give me a place to finish connecting the hinge. I needed to grind away enough of half of the hinge so it didn’t hit the sides when the lid closes.
I also found that having a dip that was even with the box bottom let me get a better grip on paper I wanted to remove from the box. The front piece has a dado groove in it.
The shelf rides in a dado groove cut on the two sides and the back of the box. The front edge of the shelf has a dado to receive the shelf. It is an extra complication to add the shelf, but it is really handy to keep some things inside…but not have them sitting on top of the papers in the bottom. The clear plastic “bumpers” you see on each side keep the lid from slamming when it closes.
If you can build a box, you can build this lap-top. All the basic skills are the same. It even has corner splines.
Thanks: As always thanks for looking and I especially want to thank any of you who take time to make comments and suggestions. After all, that is what this part of the site is all about.
-- Big Al in IN