Standing Desk 2

In my first installment, I mentioned at the end that balance might be an issue. It is. There’s two problems. First, at full height, the VariDesk frame is cantilevered well forward of its stowed position, such that most of the load is no longer over the desk, but is hanging out in open space (I have the additional handicap of setting the 24″ legs on a 20″ desktop). Second, my rollaround computer desk was designed with a pull-out keyboard shelf. That’s because there’s no place to put your feet if you tried to use the keyboard directly on top of the desk. And that means you have to pull the VariDesk an additional twelve inches or so forward of where it wants to be.

I did that, and found that the whole frame got very tippy when I did so. As in “whoa, let’s push this back”.

As Lenin might say, what is to be done? There are several options. The first one, rapidly rejected, was to buy a new computer desk. The fuss and bother and drivings about were bad enough that I relegated that idea to the Last Resort folder.

Another possibility was to drill holes in the quarter-inch thick steel frame and screw the frame to the desk. Probably the second-best idea, and the second-worst inconvenience.

C-clamps on the back wouldn’t work, because there’s no room for them when the VD is in it’s stowed position. That leaves some sort of extension to the front of the desk to support the legs. If the legs had been the width of the desk apart, it would have been easy — an L-shaped shelf-holder would work — but as it was, there was no place to attach a support, other than on the front of the 1″ thick desktop itself.

Or on the top. The cleanest solution would be to buy a slab of quarter-inch plywood big enough to hang over the edge of the desk, screw it on, and stick the VD on top of it as if it was made for it. But plywood is expensive, and I was looking for a more minimalist solution.

Like, suppose you put a slab of plywood on the desk, and then cut away all the plywood that wasn’t actually holding stuff up. And suppose you substituted a steel plate for the remnant of plywood, on account of as how it was both thinner and stronger. To the Hardware Store!

Support Plates

Support Plates

Three trips later (did you know bolts came with both coarse and fine threads?) I had two lumber beam connector plates bolted to the desk, with the VD sitting atop them. It was still a little bouncy, so I went back (fortunately it’s less than a mile away) and bought longer bolts and some very large washers. The washers hooked over the edge of the base plate, and the bolts — two on the front side of the plate and two on the back side — went through the desk and held everything in place. To give myself some additional peace of mind, I stuck an old UPS that I was going to recycle on the bottom shelf of the desk, to supply some additional weight on the back side of the Center of Gravity.



This kind of setup undoubtedly voided my warranty, is probably dangerous, and certainly isn’t something that a sane person should try at home. If you try it, and your child gets crushed, well… post something on your Facebook page and I promise I will tag it with a Like.


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4 Responses to “Standing Desk 2”

  1. Kurt Kremer Says:

    What about screwing the desk to the wall?

  2. Kurt Kremer Says:

    It’s too bad you don’t have a building supplies recovery place up there (via Habitat for Humanity or another org). That might give you some other base desk options.

    For wall anchors, in the past I’ve used eyescrews with heavy wire or L brackets (for teetery book cases), depending on the location of the studs.

    • FoundOnWeb Says:

      The Computer Desk itself isn’t the problem, it’s the VariDesk rig sitting on top of it. Then too, the CD is sitting about a foot away from the wall, to make room for the baseboard heat and the cable snarl.

      Having said all that, I might just look for some strap or other, to make sure that the CD doesn’t contribute to the problem.

      I hadn’t thought of the HfH solution. We have a couple of used building supply places in Spokane (I drive right by one on my way to night class), and that might be a good source.

      Right now, I think I’ll live with the existing setup and see how things turn out.

  3. Kurt Kremer Says:

    This weekend I hope to have my son Adam build a few of those narrow saw horse desk legs I sent links about last week. I’ll post about all that when I’m done. I was lucky enough to inherit a couple of solid core doors in good shape from my carpenter brother when he moved from his house. I’m putting those in the newly created office (former small bedroom), with 2×4 rails on the walls as the back support and the saw horse legs for side supports.

    Previously, I’ve had a tight little desk space next to my side of the bed made from an Ikea door (from their “as is” section–which can be a great resource, although only if there’s an Ikea around and you hit it at the right time.)

    We’re pretty lucky for access to surplus or recovered building materials. NE Portland has its giant shabby chic warehoused block called Rebuilding (a Disneyland of used stuff), but in the burbs we have newer materials–because you don’t find classic old homes in the burbs) at the ReStore (HfH), the ginormous Building Materials Resources in Sherwood, and a hidden gem of a warehouse stacked with various grades of surplus plywood at 1/3 retail in Tualatin–the latter is what a retired builder does for extra cash, open on his terms (8am-2pm, M-F).

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