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Thread: Keyboarding table prototype

  1. #1
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    Keyboarding table prototype

    Once the long bones in our bodies stop getting longer we will all have the same indivudual ergonomically correct height for a keyboard surface until:
    1. get pregnant or gain 25+ pounds for some other reason
    2. buy a keyboard of a different thickness
    3. get old and the jelly discs between the bones of our spines start shrinking.

    20210802_181037[1].jpg

  2. #2
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    What went well with the prototype.

    #1 It does work. I hit my height target, barely, but I got it. I will be taking this in to my corporate office tomorrow and putting it to work.

    #2 My wife can't keep her hands off it. I see everything wrong with it, see below, but she does not. She may not cook for me again until I get started on one for her at her ergonomically correct height.

    My original plan was to just put longer legs on the saw bench in Chris Schwarz's Anarchist Design Book (hereinafter CS and ADB respectively), but the top (8/4 rough planed smooth) is too thick for most regular sized people to fit that top and a keyboard between their thighs and fingertips while maintaining ergonomically correct posture. There is one guy at my office (about 15 people) tall enough to fit 8/4 and a keyboard in good position. He is 6'6" tall, about 198cm.

    What I built is actually a scaled down version of the staked work table from the same book, using 4/4 poplar glued up panel for the top.

    I didn't get exactly the finish I had in mind, but it should work with the shades of brown of my corporate office decor.
    Last edited by Scott Winners; 08-02-2021 at 10:27 PM.

  3. #3
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    What did not go so well with the prototype

    Lessee, this was supposed to be finished on January 5 so I could have a not prototype version under my fingertips by Valentine's Day. Today is August 2.

    No two of the legs are mounted at the same angle. I bored all the holes in the battens with a 5/8 Forstner on a drill press with sight lines and the whole nine yards, but I totally screwed the pooch with my reaming. Solutions would be a drill press with 6 inches of quill travel to accomodate the reamer ($1200), a wall mount hand cranked drill press also with 6" of quill travel, sometimes called a blacksmith's drill around here, very rare and price unknown; or think up something new to try next time around. The finished item from floor level looks like it is trying to walk away.

    Top is not as stiff as I would like, and the outer edges of the battens are only one inch from the ends of the top. I think on the next one I will plane the batten ends flush with the edge of the top at the glue end after gluing the battens in, and then mount another strip perpendicular to the top so the top becomes a T beam. I can hold up a scrap to where I am talking about and take a picture if that is not clear, it should stiffen the total thing quite a bit.

    I put the tenons on the ends of my legs after tapering the legs instead of BEFORE tapering the legs. Hopefully I won't do that again. Tenon, then taper.

    I fiddled with diluting my tannic acid tea (thank you Edwin Santos) for the ebonizing process to satisfaction. I have a method that turns both creamy white and bright green poplar a pleasant brown that will go well with my office decor (except on end grain which will be black), but when I did it to the glued up prototype it was blotchy. So I re-ebonized the poplar with full strength goods to make everything black- which was too much contrast with the legs, so I oiled the white oak legs to darken them up a little bit before waxing the entire table.

    There is a bunch of grain run out in the legs of the prototype. Life expectancy is short. I started with a good sized 8/4 white oak plank that gave me 8 good leg blanks and 4 with run out, so I used the four with run out on the prototype. Glowing red/orange coals of white oak with some charcoal are fabulous under flaky white fish (besides being great under beef as well), so once these legs let go I have no problem burning the oil and wax off them on their way to glowing coals in the grill.

    It takes two coats of wax to seal up the gently sanded surface of ebonized wood. I will be pulling up to this thing in bleached white pants, so any iron particles coming off will be highly visible. I kinda want to get a third and fourth coat of wax on it, but there simply isn't any more time. I may go to milk paint on the next build.

    I think the black top edge with the brown legs and white top surface looks OK, but it is more contrast than I wanted at the outset.

    I used painters triangles to hold the top surface off my bench while ebonzing the rim and battens. Got some dimples in the top from the triangles. Once I noticed them I started using 2x4 scraps to lift and those didn't mar the top surface.
    Last edited by Scott Winners; 08-02-2021 at 11:04 PM.

  4. #4
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    I went ahead and photod my T beam idea as much as to imprint the idea in my own brain as to help anyone else understand. When I put one of those on, the rear edge of the top will need enough depth (or width) to put the lower edge of the T where it doesn't bang into the user's knees- but it could also be a handy stop if someone buys a thinner keyboard and needs some 3/8 or 1/4 ply to bring the total back up to ergonomicly correct.

    I got the walking beastie and the grain match in the top as well. The latter I think came out ok, the other I already mentioned. With thick (8/4) tops like a saw bench I can rotate the top 90 degrees at a time on my bench top while reaming from the same position relative to the existing 5/8 hole. For the battens I had to stand in two different places, and it shows.

    20210802_191627[1].jpg20210802_191745[1].jpg20210802_191608[1].jpg

  5. #5
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    And I got it fit into my 48" wide corporate cell, err umm, cubicle. Having to use both machines back and forth involves quite a bit of twisting, but doable for short periods.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    Nicely done, Scott. Since this is a prototype, you might want to consider angling the keyboard table top down a bit in the back (shorten the back legs). This would put the keyboard in a negative tilt, which is the preferred ergonomic angle for most situations (there are exceptions, of course). This puts the forearm/wrist in a straight/natural position from elbow to fingers. It eliminates any upward wrist angle which can cause issues. Here’s an illustration:

    5AEEC280-3A5B-41F2-9455-2456626A41EB.jpeg

  7. #7
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    Thanks Phil. I had started a thread (with perhaps a suboptimal title) in the design forum in Nov 2020. When I dug it up I notice you had also posted in that one, thanks for your ongoing contributions.

    It is here: https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....component-help

    I have three Physical Therapists among my office colleagues, I am one of the five Registered Nurses and we have a pair of Social Workers. Two of the PTs are keeping up with my project. The three of us did look at the drawing Phil has posted in post 6 this thread (months ago) and that particular setup is deemed not appropriate for anyone in our office right now. The two main problems with that exact drawing, at my office are 1) the neck is not in anantomic position but pronated - head tilted forward. That will hurt a lot someday, and 2) the spine is not erect given how far the shoulders are behind the hips relative to the keyboard.

    For some people the drawing in post six would be correct if the monitor was raised about one height of itself to extend the neck back to anatomical rest - and the user would need a headrest.

    As Phil has correctly pointed out, there are folks who need their keyboards tilted away because of wrist issues. I happen to be one of them, but I personally can use the MS ergo keyboard on a flat surface and get the tilt I need, see post 5 this thread.

    The challenge remains ongoing, but my biggest challenge is finding shop time.

  8. #8
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    And this particular prototype is headed for the BBQ pit. As heating season here has drug on, (and on, and on) the battens have been shrinking in width, so getting sloppy in their sliding dovetails, to the point I can't use a keyboard on this surface any more, far too wobbly.

    I am kinda sorta thinking about making up another one to the same design plan in deep dry air winter to see if it breaks itself swelling up in the summer. Humidity changes cause the width of the batten to change more than the width of the sliding dovetail the batten slides in.

    I do have another keyboarding table in service at my office, the skinny 6' 6" guy has enough clearance between his fingertips and thighs to use 8/4 poplar for the top, just straight up staked like a Roman work bench or CS' sawbench in the ADB. While I was getting that one dialed in I sat my burly guy at it, with the 8/4 top planed smooth. 8/4 top on staked legs for the dude who wrestled NCAA D2 in college is hopeless.

    I might be able to use 8/4 top for an average sized person - if I excavate some of the underside like a windsor chair and then maybe put a perpendicular piece across the back as a stiffener.

    Next up will be testing the white oak legs with the runout - sledge hammer next- to see what finally causes those to snap on the grain lines. And I get to bang on the PVA glued up panel too. I didn't get anywhere against either this evening with a 20 ounce mallet and indoor force.

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