Door "Desktop"

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What would be the best choice for a door to use as a desktop spanning over a couple of filing cabinets?
TIA Wayne
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

I have a desk like that; it's up in my daughter's room. A hollow-core luan door. It makes a very poor writing surface because of the wood grain. If you have a router (to trim it), you can contact cement a piece of formica on the top and edges to give a smooth surface.
Bob
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Thanks, Bob. Writing won't really be a problem, as I want to use it for my computer. A standard 6'7" long door should just about work to put flat-screen monitor, CPU, scanner, and printer on top and a keyboard and mouse between the monitor and front edge of the top. If I really need a writing surface, something portable should do.
Wayne
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If hollow core is acceptable, you'll find hardboard clad door has a smooth surface and would be okay for writing on.
I personally would prefer solid core. Cheap ones are difficult to find these days.
Our "computer desk" is a laminate kitchen countertop mounted on a simple 2x4 wooden frame attached to the wall. The top was custom ordered (an 8' by 5' "L" for about $120). But you could do quite nicely with a 7 foot "second" for not much more than a cheap hollow core door.
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You can find in-stock laminate countertops in various lengths at any Lowes or Home Depot and for a lot less than $120.

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"second"
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Certainly. [Remember that was Canadian dollars, and it wasn't an "in-stock" colour _or_ configuration. An 8' second, for example, might set you back all of $25.]
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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I tried a raised-panel door for ours, looked nice but was a pain to roll the mouse over!

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"second"
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It's best to have a proper mouse pad. Even if the mouse "works" on a hard surface, hard surfaces will drive dust into the mouse mechanism, and you'll have fun trying to rip it off the rollers.
Ask me how I know.
Not to mention premature ball wear.
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Chris Lewis wrote:

Ouch!
Best regards, Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

Optical mice. Mine works fine, even though I have to vacuum the dust off the mouse pad.
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Ouch?
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I'm using doors in just that way for two separate computer setups. I have the keyboards on slideout drawer shelves mounted under the door between the filing cabinets. Makes for some extra surface in front of the monitor for taking notes.
They sell those drawers made for keyboards, but none of them were wide enough for a mouse pad alongside so I used ordinary drawer slide hardware and cut my own shelves.
Marty
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"Butcher block" style countertops look nice, I've seen them used before.
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On Thu, 26 Feb 2004 06:13:13 GMT, Wayne Boatwright

Wayne, I used a hollow-core luan-faced door for my computer, with legs on one end and a file cabinet on the other, but I found that it sagged quite a bit and "bounced" when I used the keyboard. I had to install legs in the center to fix this, and then it worked fine. Keep this in mind when you are buying the door. Also, keep in mind that a hollow core door will not hold a screw in most spots, so you will have to bolt through anything that you want to attach (like a keyboard tray).
I have quite a bit of weight on it, including a 21-inch CRT monitor, a stand alone fax machine, and a heavy Lexmark T620 printer (but not the CPU). The keyboard is mounted on a 3M AKT200SL adjustable keyboard tray with a flyout mouse pad, which was expensive but cured my aching neck problems.
I polyurethaned the top with around four coats, and it is reasonably smooth and fairly easy to write on. I don't write on it much anyway, as it is generally covered with books, CDs, disks, and papers.
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I had this exact same setup in my last apartment. I used pvc pipe for the legs and also found that I needed an extra one in the middle to stop it from sagging. When I did that, though, it worked great. It was very stable and sturdy.
dv
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snipped-for-privacy@xxoptonline.net (Tom Miller) wrote in

As some have suggested, I'm thinking now about looking for a precut laminate countertop. Even that might tend to sag when spanned across filing cabinets, so the legs are a good idea.
Thank, Wayne
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You want to put a brace across the back side. Take a 1x4 and glue and screw it to the back edge of the desk surface, in a "L" kind of shape. Think of a kitchen countertop w/ back splash that is upside down.
You won't notice it, but it will add a huge amount of stiffness to the surface.
Otherwise, I've found that 2 pieces of particle board need to be laminated together to help prevent sagging. I've had reasonably good luck when I've glued up my shelfs.
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That's a good idea. Should make quite a difference.
Thanks, Wayne
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I'm partial to making "face frames" of 2x. Building up a rectangle of 2x4s or 2x3s, with the lumber laid flat.
I built a "wine making room" bench this way. Single shelf with 2x3 frame under it near the floor, of laminate over plywood, inset into 2x3 uprights. "face frame" perched on the uprights, with a manufacturing "second" countertop as a work surface.
I routinely store 3-4 full carboys in it (50 pounds apiece), zero sag. I could probably double that.
The computer desk is a 2x4 hanger board mounted to the wall, a longitudinal stringer about 3" back from the front edge of where the counter front would be, and a couple of 2x4 braces fastened to the hanger board under the stringer. 2x4 legs on the outboard end of the braces.
Then, drop counter on top. Done.
Design feature: buy countertop with a short backsplash. Mount countertop 3" away from wall. Instant cable raceway. Screw powerbars to underside of frame to supply equipment.
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snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote in

I like that idea! Nice to get those cables out of the way, yet still handy for any changes.
Wayne
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