Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The sheer number of photographs lined up to make an appearance in this post guarantees that it shall be nothing short of a monstrosity, so let's just get down to bidness right off the bat.

This, my dear readers, be my desk:

Desk Before

Also appearing in that lovely photograph be my sittin' sphere, my faithful goliath of a moderately outdated printer, and a small portion (probably about 10%) of the vitamins, homeopathic tinctures, and protein powders that keep yours truly primarily in tact and generally functional on a day-to-day basis.

Really, it's not such a bad set up considering the space I'm working with, but unfortunately the top of the desk I'm using just-so happens to stand a paltry 2 and 1/3rd feet off the ground. For a person of average stature this wouldn't be much of a problem, but I am not a person of average stature. Nay, I may be the single most lanky human being West of the Mississippi, and thus need to enlist a slightly more vertically oriented desk apparatus if I hope to preserve my spine's current not-hunched-ness for the next couple of decades (for the record, this rampant lankiness of mine is also the reason that I use an inflatable sphere instead of a normal chair for my day to day sitting - the dual bladed meat cleaver of a posterior that I've been dealt slices comfort-ruining ass grooves into foam chairs like a well oiled comb through Ted Danson's hair).

To remedy this situation I decided to build a 4-sided box to elevate my laptop another 7 or 8 inches above my desk, allowing me to maintain good posture while typing without glaring down at my laptop from above like the eye of sauron.

That's right, this post shows you how to make a box out of wood. Prepare to be amazed.

Wood Blocks

I started by getting some plywood cut at the single greatest hardware store in the state of Colorado, the True Value hardware on the corner of Colfax and Monaco. Seriously, I cannot recommend these guys enough... they have all of the stuff you'd expect a normal (somewhat smallish) hardware store to have, but they actually offer services as well, which is a rare thing to find in this day and age. They'll cut wood and plexiglass for you to exact measurements. Their staff knows things about stuff - they actually make worthwhile suggestions quite frequently. They'll refer you to other fantastic businesses that you've never heard of who can do things/sell stuff that they can't do/sell. Basically it's the anti-Home Depot. I love the place - I always make sure to buy something I didn't intend to buy every time I go in there... I consider it a charitable donation, as it'd really be a shame (and a massive pain in my ass) if they ever went out of business.

Anyway, they cut those wood pieces up for me to the tune of about $2.50 or something ridiculous like that. Once I had them back home I glued the pieces into the shape I wanted them, then countersunk some screws along all the edges to make the whole thing nice and sturdy.

Glued and Screwed

I countersunk the screws because I didn't want them visible in the end product, so to complete that goal I filled in all the screw holes with some wood filler, then sanded the whole thing down.


As you can see from that picture, not all of the edges were completely flush, so I had to sand down a few corners pretty heavily. Be sure to take note of that, as this will come into play later... with sexy consequences.

I decided to use both wood stain and latex paint to decorate this thing, as I'd never used the two together before and I wondered how (if?) it would work. To start, I just laid on a couple layers of red oak stain around the outside of the box:


Once that dried I made a design on each side of the box using masking tape. This is where the extra sanding I had to do earlier came into play, as I wanted to enlist designs that wouldn't draw attention to the scarred corners and edges of my box that serve as painful reminders of my shoddy measuring/gluing skills (this would be accomplished by covering those areas entirely with black paint). So just how sexy were the consequences of my half-errors? Judge for yourself.


Taped 2

Please note that I have been living with my 60+ year old parents for almost 5 consecutive years now. I no longer possess any concrete idea of what the word "sexy" means, let alone what it might look like.

After that I slathered on a couple coats of black latex paint, which as you might expect made my box look exactly like it did before, only far blacker.


Once the paint dried I ran an x-acto blade around the outline of my masking tape (if I hadn't done this the latex paint would have peeled off like a slab of sunburned shoulder skin), then pulled the masking tape up. Much to my delight (I get excited about these sorts of things), the paint/stain combo worked almost exactly how I had hoped, though I did have to spend a little time scratching back some excess paint from areas where it had leaked under the tape. Regardless, 2 coats of polyurethane later I had my finished product:

Poly 1

Poly 2

Kinda pretty, yeah? Well, it's functional anyway.

In the last picture you can also see two little half-holes that I cut into the bottom of the box to get cables and what not through. I would have brought this up earlier but the shifty bastards were nearly invisible in all of my other photographs.

Check the piece in action:

Desk After

Ahh yes, much better. Plus it gave me some storage space under my monitor for my external hard drive and my speaker-volume-controlling-mabobber.

Dennis Franz and underneath

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what would be a funny picture to have on my desktop for that last shot. Honestly, I have no idea why I went with Dennis Franz in a tuxedo.

So I guess the only question that remains at this point is what will I do with this laptop-elevating-thing once I eventually (presumably) move into a larger space and no longer have to use this crappy miniature particle board desk that I got off craigslist for $5 for my everyday computing needs? Well, after much careful thought and deliberation, I've come to the conclusion that I'll use it as the manger in a nativity scene that I'll build from scratch some number of years from now. I really can't divulge too many details right now as I've only laid out a few VERY preliminary sketches, but I'm pretty sure that one of the 3 wise men will be played by the cleanly-picked remains of a cornish game hen.

Until next time, English. Mmyes.


Jouda Mann said...

First, is that just standard masking tape? and second, are those tracings of your enormous monkey fingers? My god, how do you type on that tiny keyboard? As a member of the huge hand club, I find it hard to type on anything but a full sized keyboard.

Father Rhyme said...

3 weeks later...

First, yes that is just plain old yellowish white masking tape.

Second, yes those are tracings of my enormous monkey fingers, though I believe I took some serious liberties with their girth, as I'd rather look like I have ape hands than woman hands.

Perhaps woman ape hands would be the most appropriate description? Indeed, Dr. Zira would be proud.