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Ideas for Cutting Desk Part
Old 12-01-2011, 09:59 AM   #1
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Ideas for Cutting Desk Part

Here's how my laptop sits on our roll-top desk (which has worked out very well, by the way):

DeskCutting.jpg

I would like to be able to push it back a few more inches, and am considering cutting some of the dividers to allow that.

DeskCutting2.jpg

But I only want to do it if I can do it neatly , and have it look nice.

Disassembling the top part of the desk might be feasible, but I can't tell whether the dividers are glued in place. I have the saw shown in photo 1, which could work, but it would be hard to prevent splintering around the edges.

I also may just leave it -- it works OK to have the laptop protrude a bit.

Any ideas?
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:29 AM   #2
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Risky. The saw looks far too coarse to avoid splinters.

I'd get a finer saw, might consider a dremel tool with a fine blade, if you can get in there. Another 'trick' is to outline the 'keep' edge of the cut with razor cuts against a straight-edge, and saw-cut just on the 'waste' side of that razor cut. Painters tape helps too. Pull it away from the cut as you peel it off so you don't lift splinters.

I'd cut as close to the top as I could - those cuts will be hidden. Maybe trim the front of the dividers when done to cover the cuts? That's about 7 dividers to cut in a tight spot - looks tough and tedious. I'd think long & hard about this, unless a 'hack job' is acceptable, since you can roll it shut, and the laptop covers it when open?

Or maybe a somewhat 'hack job' is the best approach, and then just plan on a wooden insert to cover the mess?

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Old 12-01-2011, 10:43 AM   #3
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What you need is an all-in-one desktop. Spend some more $.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:54 AM   #4
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That drywall saw won't do the job. You're better off using an oscillating tool like a Multi Max or similar knockoff. The oscillating tools are a perfect match for what you're thinking about doing here. If you have wood chisels, that would work too.
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:05 AM   #5
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Agree that a drywall saw isn't the right tool. A coping saw would provide the cut you want but probably won't work in such a tight space. A trim saw would have similar issues but might work for the top cut. I agree with Dimsumkid that an oscillating tool with the cutting attachment may be best, particularly if you have to cut it in place because it can't be disassembled.
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:14 AM   #6
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Please, Al, put that saw away. It's much too coarse for the job. I think that if you want to do a half decent job of it, you will have to take the desk apart.

I noticed in a prior picture that you have a central drawer just below the desktop. Personally I would probably either replace it with a keyboard drawer and set the computer on it, or I would make a contraption that fits in the existing drawer and deepens the desktop. Both solutions would make no permanent damage to the desk.
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:16 AM   #7
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I'd just leave it. I think that cutting it would ruin the value of the desk.

Maybe you should sell this desk, and buy one that completely meets your needs including space for a laptop (?) A desk that does not meet your needs just takes up space IMO.

Or, you could continue to use it with the laptop protruding like that. That would drive me nuts, but if you can tolerate it that might be a good alternative. Another thought - - you could use Lena's new iPad on the desk instead of the laptop.
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:19 AM   #8
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If you don't use the dividers I would suggest eliminating them. That would give you the space you desire and would look much cleaner than trying to cut them back a few inches.
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:22 PM   #9
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Don't do it. Rolltops desks are nice looking but not very functional as computer desks. Long term when your laptop goes tits up, what then, you are stuck with a goofy modified roll top. Get an Ipad and forget the desk all together.
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:14 PM   #10
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What frayne said, sort of.

That nice desk will last longer than the laptop. Ten years from now you'll still have a nice desk and the laptop will have long been recycled into other stuff.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:21 PM   #11
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I would try to build the equivalent of a sliding drawer that sits on top of the existing desk space, without attaching to it or harming it. Idea is to let laptop slide toward you just a bit, to give you the extra room and angle.

Or you could just lean back, put your feet up on the desk, and use the laptop on your lap.
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:01 PM   #12
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Or you could cut 3" or so off the top of the laptop screen with that drywall saw, then the laptop screen would fit neatly under the cubbies.
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:26 PM   #13
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Maybe a better (and more fun) woodworking project would be to make something that sits in the center drawer of the desk (when it's opened a few inches) and has its top surface exactly level with the desktop. That way, your laptop can sit safely, part on the desktop and part on your support.

The advantage of that approach is that none of the support will actually be visible, so you don't have to finish it to a gnat's eyelash to make it look good.

When you're done with the computer, just put the support, along with the laptop, back inside the desk, close the drawer and the roll top, and you're golden.
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:39 PM   #14
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I'm pretty fussy about caring for my belongings, so I wouldn't dare cut into a beautiful desk like that, even though I know enough about woodworking that I've built some furniture (plenty good enough to be in our house). If you cut into it, please don't tell us about it...
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:49 PM   #15
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You could always get an external monitor, put it on top of the desk and hook up the laptop. It only needs to be open enough to use the keyboard. You can also have an external keyboard and make it even easier - the laptop would only need to be 1" open.

When the computer is not in use you can run a program to make the monitor look like a fishtank.
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:18 PM   #16
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If the pigeon hole assembly is not removable-
It appears that there may be pull-out leaves above the top drawers on each pedestal. A 6 to 9" wide board with cleats underneath that fit between the leaves could be fashioned to increase the depth of your work surface. Or the board could be supported by the innermost sides of the top pedestal drawers.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:37 PM   #17
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I wouldn't mess with the desk - especially with the saw in the photo. The desk will outlive your laptop. I'd get a netbook or iPad before I'd cut into that desk.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:53 PM   #18
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Yes, you are all correct -- I shouldn't cut into it. It isn't too bad to have the laptop protrude; I just can't help but think how nice it would be to have it tuck in better.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:14 AM   #19
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i have a roll top desk (winners only brand) and on mine, those cubie holes and drawers (on the top section) are held in by screws. I was able to unscrew the cubie holes and pull that section out for a similiar purpose
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:48 AM   #20
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A quick side view sketch of what I couldn't adequately describe. Two flat pieces of wood, each at least as wide as the laptop, with drawer slider hardware connecting them. A tall piece of wood attached to the base in the back snugly slides into the large center desk hole and prevents the slide out drawer and laptop from tipping down towards your lap. No attachment to the desk is made. Oak stain would be nice, but optional. Of course, nothing is as easy as it appears, so there would probably be additional engineering required.

desk.jpg
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