28.5.07

From this, to that...


Sukey 2 saw the photos of my new studio on Flickr, and asked for details of how to build the desk and paper hanger. As you can see from the schematic drawing that my husband made above - this may be more difficult to explain than I thought! But, it was fairly easy to make.

We bought four 4x8" sheets of 3/4 inch MDF board, and three sheets of 1/4 inch MDF board. I wanted the desk to be really long, so we made the desktop 8 feet long and 2 feet 4 inches wide. Also important was the paper storage - I wanted lots of flat drawers. So, what we did was basically make a "cube" measuring 2 feet 4 inches high, 2 feet 4 inches deep and 3 feet 5.25 wide from the thicker MDF. The cube was butt jointed together and had a backing to make it extra strong and secure. On the sides and back of the cube, we attached "brackets" made of small scraps of wood that would later hold the shelves. How many of these you put in would depend on how many shelves you decide to make. For paper, the shelves only need to be a couple of inches high, and we included eight. We stuck each side of the cube together with carpenter's glue and further attached with wood screws once the glue had dried. We cut the thinner MDF into 3 feet 4 inch shelves and placed them on the brackets.

The other "leg" of the desk is another set of shelves. My advice in making these would be to decide what you are going to put in them, and then make the shelves to fit. I envisioned baskets fitting perfectly in the slots, but couldn't find any in the exact dimensions I needed. The method is basically the same as the paper storage cube - glue, then screw. The height and depth are the same, it's just the width that differs. Also, the shelves would be made of the thicker MDF to support heavier items. Finally, everything was primed and painted and became the desk you see above. Phew!

This may be oversimplifying things a bit, but hopefully, it gives you a bit of an idea of how things came together. I am feeling a bit sleepy, so I'll explain the paper hanger in another post. It's a bit less complicated - I promise.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi - it's Martin here - just to add to Trudi's florid description, I should mention that before putting in the screws, you need to pre-drill holes at almost the same width of the screws (otherwise the MDF will crack). I experimented with scraps of wood first to test what would work and not crack the wood. Also, the other crappy thing about MDF is that it is REALLY dusty, which include the binding chemicals that hold the stuff together) - so you need to wear goggles, dust mask or respirator, gloves when cutting, drilling the MDF

Trudi said...

Thank you Martin for your public service announcement - always Mr. Safety! But, those probably were important points I left out. To avoid the nasty effects from the MDF, you could use real wood - but it would be a lot more expensive.

Austen G. said...

hey trudi - your new workspace looks *awesome*! here's to hours of happy bookmaking there!

cruststation said...

Your studio is amazing, I love the airy feel and the very practical storage of everything. Love the long desk and paper hangers in particular. Enjoy being creative!

Kate said...

Just letting you know that we posted pics of your studio on Apartment Therapy's Home Tech page. It just went live at 3pm eastern.

Thanks for sharing!

pussman said...

Congratulations with your studio. You did a good job. You know my knitting, sewing, wool, needles, everything. Is spread over the intire house. Everywhere there are boxes with fibres. Must be fun to have them all in one studio. Much of inspiration I wish you. Bye

favabean said...

Your studio is beautiful and so inspiring!

Can I ask what kind of paint you used on the desk? I've been noodling with the idea of building a desk, but was unsure about how to finish it (latex doesn't seem strong enough to stand up to the wear and tear of a desk but oil is so toxic and stinky--I'd love to hear what you did).

Trudi said...

Thanks to all for your nice comments! In response to Favabean - my desk is painted in a combo of oil and latex. It's made of MDF - which I thought I could just paint out in acrylic - but when I went to the paintshop, they told me I needed a stinky primer called B.I.N. The top coat is latex. Time will tell how it holds up - oil is definitely tougher with a better sheen, but I figure that if the latex gets marked, it's no biggie to give the top a quick repaint. Another option is to buy the MDF that's coated in melamine. It's a lot more expensive, but it would be pretty durable.

favabean said...

Thanks Trudi, for the paint info. I've used BIN Bullseye primer before on kitchen cabinets with latex on top, come to think of it (it was recommended to transition from oil paint to latex). I completely forgot about it, but it did give a pretty sturdy finish that got scrubbed regularly and never peeled, so I can see that that would work for a desk. I've used plain latex with no primer on furniture before--bad idea. Paper items stuck and fused (we once had a "10 of hearts" dresser after a deck of cards got stuck), and less porous items pulled the paint up after sitting for too long. I didn't realize what a difference proper primer could make.

Thanks for the tip, I think I'll build that desk now afterall!