Today’s post is written by Stephen Parsons.
In the August edition of Fine Woodworking Christian Becksvoort presented an article on making a traditional Shaker laptop writing desk. His version uses dovetail joinery and features a small drawer at the side of the cabinet to house a tiny inkwell.
In spite of my propensity to blog from time to time, I don’t consider myself much of a writer, but as an erstwhile (or maybe lapsed) artist I thought this might make an interesting kind of laptop desk for a painter. Our recent trip to Italy (and especially our time on the trains) made me realize how useful such a product might be to the travelling artist. Here is my version of the laptop desk.
The Hacks: While I love dovetail joinery (and especially watching Becksvoort demonstrate that skill), I have become a fan of the box joint – which I believe to be every bit as strong and attractive. Of course, the fact that I could use my wooden box joint jig to help in construction also helped sway my decision to depart from some of the design that Becksvoort suggested. That joinery choice removes any chance of presenting it as a Shaker-style unit, but it is a hack I can live with.
The production units will be made in Cherry with Walnut breadboards, but this original/ prototype is in white pine with maple breadboards and walnut dowel pegs. The desk features a removable partition that divides the paint tray section from the palette/ tablet storage unit. The drawer in my design has been moved to the front with a tiny locking tab to keep it from opening accidentally while travelling. Both the paint tray and palette sit on built-in supports creating inner shelves for efficient organization and storage. The pallete covers a space that is just about right for a tablet computer (up to 10in). Another small shelf sits above the brush drawer to house additional brushes, palette knives, pencils, and so on. The pallete is in maple with numerous coats of linseed oil to create a waterproof surface.
The finish is achieved with several coats of Linseed Oil and then a coat of Tried and True ™ (polymerized linseed oil and beeswax). Brass hardware (hinges, handle, drawer knob and clasp) were sourced from Lee Valley – but I may do some of that with wooden hardware in the production unit.
I’d love to hear what you think of this laptop desk for painters.