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Derek Cohen
04-29-2013, 12:08 PM
After the completion of the box for the bridle plough plane, I was left with the smaller section on the left.

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/boxes/A15.jpg

It occurred to me that this could form the basis for a lapdesk, that is, an interpretation of a campaign lapdesk. I love the simple, clean lines of campaign/military furniture, and the thought of building a piece with secret spaces promised to be fun.

There are many really interesting campaign pieces. For example ...

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/wbagsec01_zps359931c3.jpg

I would call my pieces "campaign-inspired". They are not exact copies of originals, as Chris Schwarz is currently building. Instead they are my interpretations of this furniture type, taken in a contemporary direction. An example are the military chests I built close to 2 years ago (see http://www.inthewoodshop.com/Furniture/TheCompletedChests.html ).

Now I have a lot of pictures, so brace yourself. The thing is, I need some advice. I completed 99% of this build, and then had second thoughts whether I should ad the last element. I shall leave that for last.

Let's start here. A pic of the outside, to be compared with the remnant above (15" long x 11" deep) ..

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A1_zpsf74a824c.jpg

The body is clothed in West Australian She-oak, finished in Organoil Danish Oil and wax.

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A2_zps02d05f91.jpg

There are two lids, one for the pen-and-ink section and another for the main storage area (which is empty at present - more later) ..

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A3_zpsed6b975a.jpg

There is a drawer for some of my fountain pen collection (they all get rotated for daily use in the notes I take all day long), a tray for pens in use, and an ink well ...

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A5_zpsec4cc6d3.jpg

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A6_zpsde334829.jpg

There is space for a iPad ..

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A11_zpsc1b17620.jpg

The fun in building this lapdesk was in creating the secret hiding places. There are 4 in all. The first is hidden very securely under the console. To get to this one must remove the console. It is secured on steel pins (in the corners). Lift the console straight up and a hidden panel is revealed ..

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A4_zps1888f94b.jpg

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A7_zps63fd435f.jpg

The inkwell in the console is walled internally ...

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A8_zps220c7eb7.jpg

Now, at the rear of the console there is a slot wide enough to hide the key(s) to that important chastity belt or safety deposit box (whichever is more important) ..

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A9_zps3d45f660.jpg

The drawer ...

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A10_zpsc9789c2e.jpg

... has a false bottom. This is accessed from the rear of the drawer.

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A7_zpsa16b3a09.jpg

Slide away the rear panel ..

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A8_zpsa63798d7.jpg

Derek Cohen
04-29-2013, 12:09 PM
You can also remove the pen tray ...

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A9_zps0031b692.jpg

Now that is three of the hiding places. The fourth?

This introduces the dilemma I have. Sometimes less is more and adding one more item makes the piece too busy, too complex. I have presented the pictures in the order I assembled the lapdesk, and it may be a result of this that I am feeling this way. Do I include the last section or not? I would value your input here.

There is a central cover that was designed for three purposes. The first is that it offers an additional writing surface. This is Jarrah - I thought a wood to link in with the console. Some thought went into balancing the figure with the parts of the console.

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A12_zps323d0015.jpg

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A13_zps14f7303f.jpg

The second purpose of the cover is that it hides what lies within.

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A14_zps94495671.jpg

And hidden inside the cover is another drawer ..

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A15_zps9ae0a970.jpg

The hinges have not been installed as I am not sure whether to keep it or not .....

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A17_zps6e38f7a2.jpg

Regards from Perth

Derek

george wilson
04-29-2013, 12:54 PM
Looks great!!

Chris Griggs
04-29-2013, 1:09 PM
I like it! Though it begs the question..."What does Derek need to hide so badly?"

Jim Koepke
04-29-2013, 1:09 PM
Very nice.

The internal lid does seem a bit much. A false bottom inside might be another way to accomplish the fourth hidden space.

Is there something to hold the pen and ink in place when this is closed?

In a traveling situation a lapdesk could end up in different orientations.

jtk

David Weaver
04-29-2013, 1:20 PM
Looks excellent Derek!

Derek Cohen
04-29-2013, 1:55 PM
Very nice.

The internal lid does seem a bit much. A false bottom inside might be another way to accomplish the fourth hidden space.

Is there something to hold the pen and ink in place when this is closed?

In a traveling situation a lapdesk could end up in different orientations.

jtk

Hi Jim

It is either the cover/lid or nil - no more false bottoms.

Travelling?!!! You've got to be kidding - have you any idea how much Jarrah and She-oak weigh?! . That's why I have an iPad! :)

Regards from Perth

Derek

Mel Fulks
04-29-2013, 2:13 PM
Sure it's heavy ,but you must experience using it on a trip! I think the generals usually let somebody else move stuff.Quite a luxury to actually use it and keep it ready to go.

Andrew Hughes
04-29-2013, 2:14 PM
Looks great, love the color of the oak,the bummer is your secret compartments aren't secret any more. :)

Tony Shea
04-29-2013, 3:55 PM
I do like the piece a lot. Being that it is a lap desk, is the weight an issue while sitting on your lap? How much more weight does the this extra panel add and is it comfortable on you lap with this extra weight? As far as being too busy with the added panel, I don't think so. I actually think this adds a little more balance to the contrast of colors. If the extra weight isn't an issue I personally would make it part of the piece.

I have no experience working with Jarrah or She-Oak (not readilly available woods here in Maine) so am unsure about their hardness. But as for writing surfaces, will they get scarred up in use? About the only wood I deal with that wont mark up as a writing surface is Honduran Rosewood. Our oak is so open pored that it would make for a terrible writing surface. But She-Oak may be a different animal all together.

Your work is really outstanding and your attention to detail is obvious. This piece is really a great example of this.

David Weaver
04-29-2013, 4:17 PM
jarrah is similar to hornbeam, a step or two up from hard maple. she oak is harder.

Tony Shea
04-29-2013, 6:46 PM
Well if that's the case then denting it should not be that big an issue with a pen. Weight is still potentially an issue as well as open pores, but both the Jarrah and even that She-oak looks fairly tight.

Jim Belair
04-29-2013, 7:29 PM
Very nice Derek. The last photo is especially striking with the contrast of the jarrah pins. Are these woods from some of the reclaimed timbers you're fond of using?

I'm in the camp that says leave the center panel out. I'd be more in favour of one that extended the writing surface but not a panel in frame as shown.

Curious why and how you cut the triangular dados for the drawer back.

Jim B

steven c newman
04-29-2013, 8:11 PM
Kind of makes my little desk a little plain looking261239261240Just some old barn wood.

Pat Barry
04-29-2013, 8:38 PM
Hi Derek, very nice creation! I really like the choice of materials and the grain selection. A question on the dovetails though, they look pretty minimalistic. I would be concerned with strength. Is that any consideration?

Jim Matthews
04-29-2013, 9:29 PM
Don't get down on yourself, Steven - yours is worthy on it's own merits.

Jim Matthews
04-29-2013, 9:32 PM
I think it is long past time for Mr. Cohen to admit he has an addiction to sawdust.

This making of fine wooden objects is little more than a cover story for his habit.

******

I think the central panel has the the best figure of all, in the photographs.
If it isn't kept with this piece, it would be a shame not to see it appear, again.

Jeff Wittrock
04-29-2013, 9:40 PM
I really like this desk Derek.
Honestly, I think the last hidden compartment is the coolest of all. You can actually hide some documents in there. What kind of documents...? No idea, but reassuring to know you have a hiding place when you need it :).
I've been looking for another project to work on for a while and after seeing your lap desk, I think I would really like to try one.

Thanks,
Jeff

Bill McDermott
04-30-2013, 1:36 AM
Keep it.

Since you are using the central storage bay for your iPad, and I expect various other odds and ends will seek shelter there. I see no place to keep suitable stationary handy yet crisp. I would use the secret space in the cover as a place to keep paper and envelopes. iPads are wonderful, but your pens are not suited for the touchscreen.

I've not used a lapdesk before, but I do use a fountain pen every day. I appreciate enough desktop to rest/brace my forearm. I know my penmanship would be improved writing on the cover, with my forearm on the lid. Using the lid might be a bit like the drop down table on an airplane. Have you given it a test drive/write?

Two questions:

- What is the idea behind the brass screws in the back of the pen tray?

- How do you plan to latch it closed, or do you? The sleek design and nice miter between the lid pieces is so clean. It begs for something modest and unobtrusive.

Cool project. Well done.

Cool project.

Derek Cohen
04-30-2013, 10:27 AM
Very nice Derek. The last photo is especially striking with the contrast of the jarrah pins. Are these woods from some of the reclaimed timbers you're fond of using?

I'm in the camp that says leave the center panel out. I'd be more in favour of one that extended the writing surface but not a panel in frame as shown.

Curious why and how you cut the triangular dados for the drawer back.

Jim B

Hi Jim

The Jarrah is reclaimed timber, some from ex-roof beams, some from the local salvage yard. The She-oak is from large beam I bought several years ago. I have used pieces from it for several special projects. This is the last of it.

My wife wants me to inlay the top of the lapdesk. A thin pinstripe inside the edge. I do not want to as I like the clean, seamless look (which took careful work to achieve), and any extra would make it too busy. Any thoughts?

Regards from Perth

Derek

Derek Cohen
04-30-2013, 10:29 AM
Hi Steven

That is a really nice lapdesk. I love the old wood. It has an ageing that is hard to replicate.

Any pics of the inside?

Regards from Perth

Derek

Derek Cohen
04-30-2013, 10:34 AM
......

I've not used a lapdesk before, but I do use a fountain pen every day. I appreciate enough desktop to rest/brace my forearm. I know my penmanship would be improved writing on the cover, with my forearm on the lid. Using the lid might be a bit like the drop down table on an airplane. Have you given it a test drive/write?

Two questions:

- What is the idea behind the brass screws in the back of the pen tray?

- How do you plan to latch it closed, or do you? The sleek design and nice miter between the lid pieces is so clean. It begs for something modest and unobtrusive.

Cool project. Well done.

Cool project.

I imagine myself writing notes on the top of the case, lifting the rear lid to access a pen or ink. The front lid folds down perfectly (by design or luck) at the correct angle so that the inside of this lies coplanar with the centre lid/cover, thereby creating a long working area. I cannot see myself using it this way, however. The inside is really for storage.


The desk is for writing, not reading. Hence there is no "lip" at the end to prevent papers or books from sliding off. This would be awkward for writing. Without the lip, papers/pads may be moved to their ideal angle, moved up or down or along.


My plan has been to add on the underside of the cover an elastic (diagonal) grid for envelopes.

The brass screws at the rear of the drawer are simply depth stops. This way I could dial them in precisely and keep them unobtrusive.

No latch to keep closed. I want to maintain the clean lines. As I mentioned above, I am resisting my wife's suggestion for inlay.

Regards from Perth

Derek

steven c newman
04-30-2013, 1:19 PM
Grandson has claimed as his. I'l see what I have as to pictures of the inside261292261293Some shots of the un-finished desk, showing both the inside, and how I made a pencil groove.

Tom Vanzant
04-30-2013, 2:38 PM
Derek, I'm for keeping the inner cover/drawer but as a "lift-out", not a hinged unit. You would retain storage space for your iPad, drawer space for paper or pad, an extended writing surface, and would avoid the clutter of four hinges along the front rail.
Another beautiful piece. I assume the inclusion in the inner cover does not pose a problem while writing? IIRC, you write left-handed.

Christopher Charles
05-01-2013, 2:50 AM
Nice work Derek. I'd say hold off--you can add the inlay later but can't take it off...Also, you could mock up the inlay in a photo (I.e, on the fourth one in your series). Good luck! Chris C.

Mark Kornell
05-01-2013, 2:52 AM
My wife wants me to inlay the top of the lapdesk. A thin pinstripe inside the edge. I do not want to as I like the clean, seamless look (which took careful work to achieve), and any extra would make it too busy. Any thoughts?

I like the clean look. The She-Oak has got plenty going for it already, dressing it up would detract IMO.

However, if it were my wife asking for a pinstripe, my own set of aesthetics are no longer relevant :-)

Mark Roderick
05-01-2013, 2:18 PM
I haven't seen any references to the lap desk Thomas Jefferson designed and had built.

John Sanford
05-04-2013, 4:20 PM
I would keep the central panel, only put a clipboard type clip on the inner side. That way, you've got a hollow clipboard you can take use when the lapdesk is overkill.

As for the string inlay the wife wants, I'll stay out of that one...

Derek Cohen
05-05-2013, 10:16 AM
The dilemma faced where we left off was what to do with the centre interior panel. Keep it or ditch it.


I must admit that I preferred the simple basic version (sans centre section) where I could see the nice console ...


http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A4_zps5aea9f01.jpg


... versus ...


http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/A12_zps323d0015.jpg


I did come up with a new idea for the centre section - I removed it, pulled it apart :O and rebuilt it .. smaller ...


The idea was to create a stand for an iPad (and save the fourth hidden drawer). This could be built on the inside of the main lid.


http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/B1_zps75eaf2dc.jpg


It can be hinged back to support the iPad, like this ...


http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/B2_zpsfcf51ce0.jpg


The edges of the "cassette" are beveled and the result does make it thinner looking in real life ..


http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/B3_zpsd6f3abcb.jpg


... and the hidden drawer was there all along!


http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Derek50/Furniture/Lapdesk/B4_zps087a2edd.jpg


But I am not convinced. The hinges remain on the shelf. I shall sleep on it awhile.


Thoughts?


Regards from Perth


Derek

Mike Holbrook
05-07-2013, 11:46 AM
Very nice, I was 2/3 the way through the thread and was all set to poke Derek about not making a place for an iPad/iBook, iPhone....Daaang if he didn't add it before I could chime in! I guess I could suggest fans for cooling, but then we might need outlets...UPS....leading to a junction box....

One of the projects I want to do is a desk, oriented towards computer storage and parts vs storage of paper files. A poster on SMC just posted a nice Shaker Drop Top Desk on the projects forum. Now I have two sources of ideas for my project. I can even see some of the joinery technique hinting how Derek put parts of it together. I have been studying on joinery techniques and it is nice to see how Derek approached the challenge of the smaller scale piece.

Gary Muto
05-07-2013, 12:08 PM
Derek,
I could only aspire to work at the level of your design and craftsmanship. With that said, I probably like your last option the least. The first option with the interior panel hinged is better. My first choice would be to set it inside the desk as a portable writhing surface. It could serve as a false bottom as well.

If it was my desk I would have probably skipped the interior panel altogether. Now I would hate to break up the set. I would add a very fine inlay, even if only on the inside of the lid.

You work and willingness to document and share is inspiring.