Laid Off and Executive Desk Design

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As some of you know, about five years ago I gave up the cabinet shop and entered corporate life as project manager for a millwork company.
Back in September I was recruited from my original position at said company and went to work for another type of manufacturing company to service their lead client.
What I didn't know (and neither, apparently, did my new employers) when I signed on was that the previous occupant of my chair was going to leverage his strong relationship with the client and go out on his own to service their account.
When I signed on we had essentially all of the customer's business. When I actually showed up for work, two weeks later, we had about eighty percent and the new/old guy had the rest.
After a month, the new/old guy had fifty percent.
After another month, he had eighty percent.
When I left, after three months, we had about ten percent.
My new company was suitably embarrased and provided a nice pacakage to make my layoff more palatable - but I was still a fifty-seven year old guy looking for a job.
Pissed me off.
Well, I'm tired of screwing around with Monster.com, JobCircle, leveraging friends, talking to thirteen year old recruiters, etc.
Lucky me - I didn't sell my shop and tools.
When I got out of the business I had an idea to concentrate on making high end desks for corporate executives and such. I did a little sketching but didn't go too far down that road because I got a job before I had time to flesh things out.
Now I'm revisiting the concept.
I have some ideas of my own but won't share them now because I'd rather hear some considered opinion, not muddied by any initial direction from me.
The only thing that I will say is that my intent is to go into a nonexistant market, where price is not a consideration and design and execution is everything.
I have four C level clients who only ask that I make them something at least as cool as the cabinets that I have made for them in the past.
That said and individual variations aside, what I would like to take a survey on is what elements the hard core guys on this group think should be included in, dare I name it, The Ultimate Executive Desk.
Nakashima type minimalism is a non-starter.
Modern, or anything that is more glass and metal than wood - is anathema.
Functionality is key but it can't conflict with the heirloom possibilities of the piece - i.e. I don't want to include tech stuff that has a half life of Moore's Law or less.
I can tell you that over extension drawers are a requirement but the hardware can not show.
I can tell you that fit outs for printers and scanners, etc. are required but the fittings must be as nonspecific as possible.
I'd like to hear about woods and shapes, veneer v. solid, desk v. desk and credenza, show hardware v. invisible hardware, security features, exposed v. hidden joinery, wire handling, adjustable desk top height, adjustable keyboard height, keyboard slideouts that don't look like keyboard slideouts, finishes, secret booze compartments, secret compartments in general, ball feet, bun feet, ball and claw feet (of all styles), hanging files v. manila files, panic buttons, autolift compartment functions, KD ability, full extension drawers without visible hardware, pop up two sided flat screens, included speaker cabinets, stand up desks, drawer divider systems, selling the green desk, reconfigurable solutions of modular elements, what makes this desk special, roll tops, secretary desks, totally tambour, ...
You get the idea.
I'm trolling for the coolest stuff to include and what to specifically exclude.
The desk I have in the shop now is very traditional. It has a rectangular top, two file drawers, four additional flanker drawers, a pencil drawer with a secret document compartment - and a price of twelve thousand dollars.
(hand selected solid cherry - flamed on top and front, turned and fluted quarter columns and legs, bun feet, rubbed lacquer finish, all hand cut joinery.)
I know this Rec to be a fetid swamp of ideas.
I'd like to hear them.
Tom Watson tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet www.home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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wrote:

I would imagine that you wouldn't have to worry about technology at all.
Does anyone of importance still use a desktop PC with printer and scanner?
Techie executives I know all run wirelessly from a notebook. The less-techie higher-ups use a phone, Blackberry, and paper documents. Like the 1940's, with Blackberries and speaker phones. The printer is nearby, attached to an ethernet print server. I don't know anyone with a scanner. The only wire of concern might be a thin power cable from a DC power supply to the box.
I would imagine that you can think more towards the traditional desk used for hundreds of years as opposed to the "workstation" of the last 20.
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On Sun, 13 Apr 2008 23:03:29 +0000, B A R R Y wrote:

I think that's a very good summary of todays executive environment.
For years I used an "executive desk" that was 36x72. My experience convinced me that 36" is too deep. I could have used the space provided by a 30" or 32" by 80" much better.
I'd also suggest the traditional 3 drawers with writing pullouts on both sides. A bookcase built into one side would also be nice.
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I think it depends on what you do at the desk...
I had a real estate office and my desk was 38" deep... It was picked because it was the only desk that I'd ever seen with a 12" overhang on the "client" side of the desk, so when clients read or signed papers they didn't have to sit side saddle to do it..
I had a workstation at a right angle to the desk with computer, printer, etc... That evolved to a laptop/notebook and "docking station" for a real keyboard, monitor, etc... If we would have wireless then, the printer and stuff would have been in the hallway with the copier... All we had then was a "sneaker net"... hope not too many of ya'll are old enough to know what that was... lol
mac
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On Sun, 13 Apr 2008 16:57:43 -0700, mac davis

Thanks for replying.
I like the overhang idea and I wonder if it could be incorporated into the design without being a separate item, or without having the overhang detract from the overall look.
Tom Watson tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet www.home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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Could it fold (ala table top)? or retract (ala writing pullouts)?
Dave in Houston
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On Sun, 13 Apr 2008 16:43:03 -0700, Larry Blanchard

Thanks for the reply.
That is an interesting point about the depth and length.
I need to balance what is actually needed to do work against the desire of the client to impress people. I suppose that will vary per individual but I'm trying to come up with a norm that I can use to begin designing from.
I like the bookcase idea but worry about the user having to bend over and move the chair to get to the books. Something to continue to think about.
I'm a bit surprised by your comment about the writing pullouts. I've had desks with them but didn't use them because all that I have seen have drooped and I didn't like the feeling of writing on an out of level surface. Perhaps, if that problem could be solved without a lot of nasty hardware showing, it would be a useful item.
Tom Watson tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet www.home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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B A R R Y wrote:

FWIW, I find that a decent digital camera does everything that I would want to do with a scanner and exposes in a hundredth of a second rather than grinding slowly across the page.

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What ever happened to humanity in buisness, there is no reward in 20, 30 or more years of dedication. seems they would all sell their sole to the devil for the right trade. hey thats it, how bout making caskets for the hell bound, seems they all want to invest in their future. ross
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What ever happened to humanity in buisness, there is no reward in 20, 30 or more years of dedication. seems they would all sell their sole to the devil for the right trade. hey thats it, how bout making caskets for the hell bound, seems they all want to invest in their future. ross
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"Ross Hebeisen" wrote:

Once had a customer who built automated welding systems for things like caskets.
On one of my visits, they were testing a system prior to shipment.
It was to weld up infant caskets.
Some things you don't forget.
Lew
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On Apr 14, 1:04 am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Ross Hebeisen) wrote:

WTF are you on about? How does this relate to building a desk?
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We use a scanner/printer to send faxes, but we're sort of in the boonies..
mac
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I've got a small pile of digital cameras, and a larger pile of scanners, and they do NOT do the same jobs for me. Using a digital camera as a scanner, for example, for files, whether drawings or text or photos, is a time consuming PITA, while the scanner requires a lift of the top, insert the page, push the button, and pick a file location on the computer. Five seconds total, and another 30-45 to scan. Using a camera to "scan" a photo, for instance, requires specific and special light set up, selection of file type, some form of space at least the size of a scanner where I can make sure said photo is flat, and on. It just isn't worth it unless the photo is too large for the scanner. Same with plans and text.
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wrote:

Thanks for the reply.
What I'm seeing a lot of is guys who drop a laptop onto a port replicator at work and this allows them the use of a larger desktop screen, instant hookup to the CAT 5 network, USB connection to a local printer, card reader connection, scanner connection, etc.
Many seem to like using a local printer, rather than the networked one, because of security and not having to wait in line - same for the scanner.
Many also seem to want storage for at least some files that are either sensitive, or that they are currently working with.
I'd like to walk a line between dedicating space to specific hardware and simply creating generic space that can be used for the hardware.
My own setup is more or less like this. I have a slide out that handles a printer and a scanner. I use a 22" flat screen monitor (because I'm an Excel junky and I love how many columns I can see) and I use a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse.
Like you, I'm thinking of staying with a traditional desk design, while allowing (or, at least thinking about) how the hardware can live in the desk without taking it over, visually.
Tom Watson tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet www.home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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We have one of those

We have eight computers, ten printers. Laser printers are good quality and very cheap so it is not a big deal for everyone to have thier own. I also have an inkjet for color. In our office, no one has a printer on the desk, but rather on the side or the credenza.
.

In our office, the smallest desks are 36 x 72. Executive desks are generally that or larger but I'd think that most want only the monitor, keyboard, and mouse on top. I'd tuck the printer or scanner in a separate piece of furniture or stand rather than give up drawer space.
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Is seeing them okay?
http://shoportunity.net/wooton02.JPG
A Wooton desk - the one in the picture is for sale for $200K
And a variation:
http://www.bargainjohn.com/images/F862_Moore_Desk_best_a.jpg
Even the Canuckistadians had 'em:
http://capitolmuseum.ca.gov/uploadedImages/Capitol_Museum/The_Museum/Virtual_Tours/State_Capitol_Museum/Offices_and_Chambers/Speaker_of_the_Assembly_Office/speakers_wooton.gif
R R
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You have a flawed concept of Normal.
On Sun, 13 Apr 2008 16:59:44 -0700 (PDT), RicodJour

Tom Watson tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet www.home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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I thought you said you wanted done with moster.com or it should e mobster.com. now you want to build desks for the cock suckers? time for you to start anew and think outta the box. ross
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A fine way to take their money. Don't work cheap.
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