Reply by Luminareo

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Posted on Custom desk required - my first woodworking project?

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3 posts in 2003 days

#1 posted 10-30-2012 04:44 AM

Wow, what an incredible response! I am impressed.

It looks like the next step for me would be to come up with a more specific design. With a little work in SketchUp over the next week, I’m sure I can put something together. Before I start the model, I need to confirm the dimensions of the materials I will use. I intend to use 2×2s for the majority of the framing, because I would like square posts. Pine probably. I assume that is strong enough for a desk, given a decent design? The desktops will likely be plywood, 3/4” seems to be the standard. Will that suffice?

”[...]as a piano player I wonder if you considered that the optimal piano keyboard height is likely the optimal computer keyboard height also.”

This is the heart of my project. The standard height of the keys of a grand piano is between 28” and 29”. That’s also right where most computer keyboards like to sit. Space constraints are asking me to interpolate two different types of keyboards. Since I can’t put my computer keyboard right on top of my piano keys, I will do the next best thing, and build a desktop right above my piano. That is what I was hoping to illustrate above.

I do intend to have the piano roll in and out from under the desktop. This is why the lower surfaces are longer than appears necessary. The piano itself is 11” deep from front to back. The “shelf space” I have allotted for it, marked with a green arrow, is 20” deep. 11” of that is behind the desktop, so the piano can be fully under the desk when required. The space that extends in front of the desktop allows me to pull the keyboard out most of the way; enough for me to access all of the settings buttons, and to play the keys comfortably.

”I would make the drawer cabinets far enough apart for the piano to fit between and put a couple of full extension drawer glides to slide in and out.”
I decided against using drawer glides because they are not stable enough. Are there drawer glides that lock into place at specific intervals? I would be very interested in that. I require a steady surface for piano.

”Biscuits vs. Dowels vs. Kreg”
So; biscuits don’t get much love here? That was not what I expected, but it is useful information. Dowels look like the way to go. I trust that proper alignment using dowels is not impossible for a beginner? I’ll do some research on doweling jigs and drills.

”Any chance that the University has any shops that you might be able to use/solicit help from?”
I could likely find somewhere else in the community to get my wood cut, University or otherwise. I thought of Home Depot because I got some hardboard cut there for an art project one time. I don’t know if they were exact cuts, however…
That was my first thought, actually. It’s still an option I am considering. The trouble there is to find a chest of drawers with the right height, and a minimum depth of 20”. That has been more difficult than I thought it would be. It’s also true that filing cabinets and such are not cheap; perhaps even more expensive than buying tools and materials for a custom job.

”Something else you could do, if you’re looking to save on effort/complexity of project, could be to buy two filing cabinets, or separate set of drawers if you can find the right height, and then just build a top that spans the two.”

”[...]do keep in mind ergonomics when you design this project.”
Playing the piano, many people tend to get some experience with ergonomics. Most modern piano courses teach that the position of your desktop relative to your seat is more important than the distance from your desk to the floor. To this end, I plan to use a height-adjustable chair, that will move up and down depending on how high the desktop is, or what I’m doing.
I do plan to do a sort of “dry fit” at every chance I get, just to see how things work out. I see this as a way to compensate for my lack of experience.

Again, thank you for all the advice! Incredible.

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