Author Topic: Desk Shelves.  (Read 9913 times)

Offline S. Heslop

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Desk Shelves.
« on: October 22, 2014, 10:07:39 AM »
I'm forever fighting a losing battle with desk clutter. I cleared my desk surface about 4 days ago to prepare it for when these shelves are finished, and it's immediately back to a giant pile of junk.


These shelves are intended to give me some more areas to store the junk and hopefully keep the surface of my desk clear, as well as give me somewhere to put all my electronics stuff. They're something i've wanted to build for a long while.


I barely have the space to fuss with these full 8'x4' boards. Had to get help lifting the 18mm board onto the bench and crawl through that gap to get back out of the garage. I didn't bother video taping this project since I had enough of a job just wrestling with the boards.


My tablesaw can only make cuts about 280mm wide, which was unfortunately too wide for most of the cuts required so I had to do them with a handheld circular saw. I'm going to try extending the tablesaw out a bit in the near future.


Rough cut on a bandsaw and then sanded to the line with the spindle sander. Not the ideal tool really, the curve ended up ever so slightly wavy and i'm hoping edgebanding will smooth it out.


I then cut the rest to size with the router table. First time using a flush cutting bit, and it did a great job.


That's all the sides to size.

Now all I need to do is drill holes for the dowels and apply the edge-banding. Unfortunately i've got no idea what the veneer on this plywood is, so I cant just order the edgebanding online. Might be a while till I can get to a place.

Offline Brass_Machine

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2014, 10:17:04 AM »
Looks like you are off to a good start. Why not add drawers to the desk as well since you are at?

Eric
Science is fun.

We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.

Offline Arbalist

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2014, 11:08:01 AM »
Some interesting design details there. Looking forward to seeing how you get on with this.

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2014, 11:44:53 AM »
Looks like you are off to a good start. Why not add drawers to the desk as well since you are at?

Eric

I've been considering adding a shelf/ drawer underneath to carry a midi keyboard on, but it's a fairly low desk and there's not enough space to also fit my legs. The solution might be some kind of drawer I could push really far back up against the wall, but then the desk's legs get in the way.

Some interesting design details there. Looking forward to seeing how you get on with this.

I should've said in the OP but the plan is to have it narrow at the bottom so it isn't ridiculously deep and taking up alot of the desk surface, but wide enough at the top to accommodate an oscilloscope. It'll be screwed to the bench to hopefully prevent it from tipping forwards. The curved sides support the top shelf from sagging (hopefully!).

The scope I picked up at a boot sale was so long that I had to widen the design (i'd made the plans months ago), but even after doing that i'd forgot to accommodate the extra depth of the plug that fits into the back of the scope, but the top shelf was already getting ridiculously wide so there's a goofy little extension on the top shelf.

Offline AussieJimG

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2014, 06:17:50 PM »
You would be welcome at my place any time to add some organisation to the junk heap.

I will even provide the beer and the pie and peas (or cod and chips if you prefer)

Jim

Offline RussellT

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2014, 06:07:57 AM »
Can you move the bottom drawers up to a higher level?  Otherwise you will have to clear the desk to open the bottom drawers.

Russell

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2014, 08:08:27 AM »
Can you move the bottom drawers up to a higher level?  Otherwise you will have to clear the desk to open the bottom drawers.

Russell

That's something I hadn't considered. Although I had thought that if I put them up higher the top shelf would block access to them, or at least make it awkward. I might leave it as it is and just use the bottom drawers for stuff i'll probably never find a use for, like a stack of lenses from 3d glasses or a half dozen broken microfilters. Thanks for the suggestion though.

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2014, 01:03:16 PM »
Went along to a timber yard I haven't been to yet. Was quite a hike on the bus. They didn't have any edge banding in stock (i've yet to see any in person) but the guy identified the plywood veneer as eucalyptus and that seems about right. Unfortunately I can't find anywhere stocking it in the UK.

I guess i'll keep looking but I might have to make my own, but that said i'm having a hard time finding eucalyptus at all. I don't really mind the look of bare plywood edges myself, but this WPB i'm using isn't the neatest of plywood on the inside.

Offline awemawson

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2014, 01:13:30 PM »
Simon, you should have said earlier - I felled a Eucalyptus tree last year. All cut to logs for the fire now.

There's a whole grove of them a few miles up the road owned (or at least used to be) by the British Eucalyptus, where they used to collect the oil.
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline Arbalist

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2014, 04:41:26 PM »
Eucalyptus wood apparently burns very hot. Some stove manufacturers don't recommend burning it in their products.

Offline awemawson

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2014, 04:51:19 PM »
The bark and sap wood are quite oily. Gives a nice smell though  :ddb:

I have a huge heap of Leylandii if you want some. Took 4 foot 6 inches off 367 metres of hedge over the last couple of week ends so that my tractor mounted hedge flail can properly reach it  :lol:
Andrew Mawson
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Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2014, 06:18:39 PM »
Eucalyptus wood apparently burns very hot. Some stove manufacturers don't recommend burning it in their products.

I remember when those Australian wildfires were on the news they made a point about the trees tending to explode from the sap boiling, which sends burning embers pretty far into the wind and helps the fires spread dangerously fast.

Offline greenie

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2014, 07:13:44 PM »
Eucalyptus wood apparently burns very hot. Some stove manufacturers don't recommend burning it in their products.

I remember when those Australian wildfires were on the news they made a point about the trees tending to explode from the sap boiling, which sends burning embers pretty far into the wind and helps the fires spread dangerously fast.

First point, --- "burns too hot" --- don't know what illegal substances you've been digesting/ingesting/injecting, but where's the problem with that ?

Second point, - it isn't the tree exploding that's the problem, it's the leaves full of volatile eucalyptus oil that explode into flames. The bushfires tends to run over the tops of the trees causing the leaves to explode into flame. These burning leaves are what gets spread about by the violent winds caused by the burning leaves. It's a self feeding phenomenon as it occurs. Basically, you don't EVER want to be anywhere near this, when it's happening. The burning tops can be up to half a mile ahead of the main blaze, which is into the standing timber, as the tops flash alight and start to burn, the embers are then dropped to the ground which then starts the main fire. Trees only explode when everything else has been burnt, so no problem at all when that happens.

Offline chipenter

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2014, 03:46:31 AM »
Ramin mouldings are available in most DIY stores varius sactions including flat , a close grained hard yellow wood that splits easily if nailed without drilling first , no idea as to price I have not bought any for years .
Jeff

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2014, 09:19:18 AM »
Ramin mouldings are available in most DIY stores varius sactions including flat , a close grained hard yellow wood that splits easily if nailed without drilling first , no idea as to price I have not bought any for years .

Thank's for the suggestion but i've done stuff like that in the past and found it a real hassle to get the edges clamped. I'm really keen to give this iron-on edgebanding stuff a go too.

I might try buying some black melamine edgebanding and see if I can pass it off as some sort of swish designer look.



Coloured me model in, and it looks fairly okay to me.

Offline awemawson

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2014, 09:36:55 AM »
Simon, don't let me dissuade you, but I've never been very impressed with the iron on stuff - particularly on curved edges. Tends to lift at the slightest provocation.
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2014, 09:49:21 AM »
Simon, don't let me dissuade you, but I've never been very impressed with the iron on stuff - particularly on curved edges. Tends to lift at the slightest provocation.

Yeah I hear alot of mixed stuff from people using iron on edgebanding. I'm also not so sure how i'm going to iron it down onto curved sections (maybe heat up a bit of bar with a blowtorch). But I feel i'll have to try it out myself to see how it goes, for better or worse.

Offline awemawson

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2014, 10:00:53 AM »
Hot air gun works if applied carefully - too much heat and the plastic melts
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2014, 05:17:13 PM »
Waiting for the edgebanding to be delivered on Tuesday. Not much to do in the meantime but make this drill guide for dowels.


The jig.


Test Joint.

The first attempt was off by a few millimeters, which was really surprising. Re-drilled the holes for the ferrules on the other side, this time with a fence on the drill press. It gave a better result, but it's still off by about maybe quarter a millimeter, but it's close enough for wood.

I also measured and found out that the 12mm plywood was more about 11.2mm thick, so i'll have to adjust for that and the thickness of the edgebanding. I'm really not so good with wood, and i'm always impressed by people who can just slap furniture together in a few days like it was nothing.

Offline chipenter

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2014, 06:55:10 PM »
The trick with edgebanding is to remove the dust from the ply first , or to seal the end grain .
Jeff

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2014, 11:28:55 PM »
The order finally arrived.

Spent the last few days working on a secret project (its a banjo) that i'll probably make a video of.

Makes it hard to get back to making the shelves though, but all the panels are taking up space that I need back.

Tested the edge banding/ finishing today. Edge banding seems to hold on fine, I can't peel it off with just a fingernail and the flush parts I can't even get a nail into.

Need to practice trimming it though. Really gouged up that first try.


Surprised by how thin the stuff is.

I also gave it a coat of automotive spray lacquer to try it out, and while it looks pretty nice (I can't tell the finished and unfinished side apart, aside from one not absorbing water) it's not very hard wearing so i'm not sure if i'll go with it yet.

Hopefully should have this finished (minus drawers) in a few days.

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2014, 01:54:46 PM »
Here's more thrilling progress. Got the boards all edgebanded and ready to assemble. Took a surprising amount of time to do. Although I might finish the boards first while I can still get at them. I'm stalling having to drill the dowel holes since i'm nervous about misplacing them. Half a millimeter misalignment can look pretty lousy if it's where boards meet.




Although before anything I'll need to tidy up.

Offline RussellT

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2014, 04:30:37 AM »
Have you thought about making a dowelling jig?

There's lots of types on ebay but the ones I have are simply an L shaped block with holes in.  The shape of the block allows you to clamp it to the edge and drill through to locate the holes the same distance from the edge in different bits of wood.

Russell

Offline awemawson

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2014, 05:51:40 AM »
Have you thought about making a dowelling jig?

Russell

Reply #18 illustrates his dowelling jig  :scratch:
Andrew Mawson
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Offline RussellT

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2014, 06:32:59 AM »
You're quite right.  How could I miss that. :doh:

Russell

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2014, 12:22:48 PM »
I'm really making a meal of what was supposed to be a quick and simple project. I've got a few house jobs to do at the same time so progress has been slow as it gets.

For drilling the cross pieces I just used the same dowelling jig again, but clamped to a square 2x4 since these boards are thicker than the sides.



I then moved to drilling holes in the top piece and, whoops. It's hanging over by about half a centimeter. I cut the top board on the wrong side of the line and then totally forgot about making the mistake and never corrected the other pieces for it. Shouldn't be a problem though, i'll just add a thin vertical piece to act like a lip on the rear or the shelf, which might help prevent small things falling down the back of it. It's a 'feature'.


Unfortunately I only have a single clamp long enough to actually clamp it up. I was thinking about making some clamp stretchers but then I wouldn't have enough clamps to get the rest, so I think i'm going to go buy a few more. You can never have too many clamps, as they say.

I tried a bit of a dry assembly though to make sure it fits, and all seems good thankfully.


I think rather than try getting dowel holes to line up with the top piece via careful measurements i'll just machine some pins to mark the positions of the holes.

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2014, 03:43:00 PM »
A month later and i'm still working on these things, and doing a crappy job of it. Ran out of spray lacquer (don't think i'll use it for something so big again, a can doesn't go a long way) and had to get some more, which took almost a week of searching via the bus. Then the weather took a dip and it took a few more days for it to clear up enough to spray the stuff outside.


Got the main frame except for the top together now. Some long sash clamps would've been handy but they're way expensive. If I ever have to do another project like this i'll probably make some.


Things lined up fairly okay in the dry fit, but I wish I numbered these boards to put them back in the same place. I'd assumed they'd be about the same dimensions since I lined the drilling jig up via the same sides on each one. They're amazingly misaligned now though, I have no idea what could've caused such a huge difference since I took my time to get things as close as possible. I wouldn't expect them to be perfect but it's so far off...


Machined those pins to mark the top, which i'll probably do tomorrow, and then that'll be the frame finished. Drawers and smaller shelves i'm going to add at... a later date. I'm more than fed up with this now.

Wish I went with dadoes instead of dowels now though. I went with dowels for the sake of the edge banding, but dowels are just very difficult to get right.

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2014, 02:33:58 PM »

I need more clamps. The little dowel pins worked brilliantly and I had no trouble lining the holes up.


Moved the unit upstairs to free up space in the garage. They're not quite complete, need to add a board to the back, drill holes for shelf pins, and finish the shelves off. They look small in the photo but they seem huge when sitting down next to them.


The shelves just need lacquered.

The units also need the drawers but i'm still not sure how to go about it. I might just buy some drawer slides rather than try something fancy.

Offline micktoon

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2014, 06:01:38 PM »
Hi Simon , looks like a good job , I bet you will be able to get a lot on them but will probably fill them up and wonder where the hell everything was before you had them, glad your little transfer pins did a good job.
  Cheers Mick.

Offline Spurry

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2014, 06:06:58 PM »
Your job is coming along nicely. :thumbup: Probably not much use now...but if you are stuck for some long clamps just use a length of 4x2 or 3x2 or WHY, with a small piece of similar, screwed across the top of the wood. Use another short length at the other end with a heftyish screw or bolt, (so that it will swivel slightly) then knock a small wedge into the gap between your work and the swivelling end piece.
Pete

Offline awemawson

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2014, 06:19:21 PM »
Another clamp adaptable to many situations is made from a simple loop of strong cord looped around the job, with a stick inserted in the loop. Twist the loop of cord with the stick which will shorten the loop and exert considerable force squashing what ever lies within.
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #31 on: November 25, 2014, 02:31:10 AM »
Your job is coming along nicely. :thumbup: Probably not much use now...but if you are stuck for some long clamps just use a length of 4x2 or 3x2 or WHY, with a small piece of similar, screwed across the top of the wood. Use another short length at the other end with a heftyish screw or bolt, (so that it will swivel slightly) then knock a small wedge into the gap between your work and the swivelling end piece.
Pete

Another clamp adaptable to many situations is made from a simple loop of strong cord looped around the job, with a stick inserted in the loop. Twist the loop of cord with the stick which will shorten the loop and exert considerable force squashing what ever lies within.

These are both good ideas, thanks. Might use the chord thing for gluing up some wooden hexagons in the future.

Offline awemawson

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2014, 04:17:58 AM »
Simon, I reckon it needs some gilding and a few finials adding  :lol:
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2014, 06:13:29 AM »
I've already started engraving it. My dream has always been to own a set of shelves that are impossible to clean.

Offline Joe d

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #34 on: November 25, 2014, 08:57:29 AM »
Those shelves are looking good.  Maybe a tiled back-splash? :clap:


[/quote]Might use the chord thing for gluing up some wooden hexagons in the future.[/quote]

Re the hexagons, a length of rubber surgical tubing makes a great clamp for odd shapes, lock it under itself
at one end, wrap around to the the other end and tuck.

Cheers, Joe


Offline S. Heslop

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Re: Desk Shelves.
« Reply #35 on: November 29, 2014, 12:44:14 PM »


And that's the shelves finished, I suppose since I've given up on the drawers for now. They're screwed down with two screws to hopefully prevent it from tipping forwards (although it doesn't want to tip forwards on its own, but the center of gravity is pretty high and forwards).

I'm pretty pleased with it, over all. It sure reduces the clutter on the desk surface. The stuff on the desk at the moment is tools to go back downstairs and some crap to throw out.

Although one huge problem I should've realised would happen is that the oscilloscope is really high up. It's a stretch to reach the highest knobs. If this becomes too big a problem I suppose I could modify the shelves, something like below.



Although that's a little ugly.

Lessons learned:
   - Don't use dowels if both holes need to be blind.
   - Don't rely on CAD too much, things turn out bigger than they look on screen.
   - I'll need a bigger tablesaw if i'm ever going to try make something from panels again.
   - Spray lacquer is expensive!
   - Iron-on edgebanding works surprisingly well despite it's bad reputation. Maybe the manufacturer makes a big difference.
   - No such thing as a quick project.

Thanks for the encouragement!


Also, I went with building a geet hexagon clamping jig instead of using some sort of band clamp, since I've got alot of hexagons to make.