Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bus Blog 22 1/2: A Quick Desk

I need to back-up a second here.

Just before the floor went in, we built and installed a desk directly across the bus from the raised seating. The positioning was perfect, we could easily play and watch movies or listen to music while blazing down the highway.

The height of the seating area dictated that the desk be high as well, which turned out to be an advantage because we could incorporate more storage closer to the bus's centre of mass. Storing anything in a moving object has added complexity because any weight you add is going to have an impact on the way the vehicle reacts to the road. Too much weight too high makes for less than a smooth ride...  More of the wobbly sort.

The plan was simple: buy a tall desk, or make one and install it.

The interfaith furniture store is really a medium sized building and yard in NE Calgary, though the masses of furniture and lamps and books and tools and randomness spilling from the building into the yard make it seem like an empire. It's one of those places where you can go and if you're not careful, you can easily spend an entire day poking at piles and sifting through shelves.

I was in the neighborhood, so I stopped by and had a look for something that would work as a desk.

Something that never, in all of my previous visits happened, did.  I found my query in the first minute after mounting the tired old staircase that led to the second floor. It was an old coffee table that someone had decided to trim, none too precisely, with a circular saw.
Ignoring the blade-scarred side, the table was in great shape and I could easily remove the legs to replace them with cabinets and best yet, it had two large sliding drawers. Twenty dollars and it was mine.

The December 15th Deadline for leaving had long since passed, and daily guilt spurred me to build quickly, to not necessarily take everything to a polished finish. This was the way with the desk build, it was to be quick and sturdy and just high enough to fit my favorite raised chair.

Adding twelve inches for leg room to the height of my chair, I got the measurement for the cabinets. Twenty four inches were allowed between the cabinets for movement, and the boxes were built to the remaining dimensions. For strength and lightness of being, plywood was used for the boxes. The great thing about building your own cabinets is that you can customize them for all they will carry. As such, the shelves were built to hold the printer and notepads and books with a little room to spare.

After a test, the desk was assembled and secured with a dozen screws, and for now, it was complete. We could smooth the ply and add veneer or paint the desk as we (Kirstin) liked. For now, it held what we wanted and stayed in place, that's all we needed.