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Tools & Hardware

Gift Idea: Lap desk

A simple lap desk is easy to make in a few hours and will find many hours of use by the recipient. A simple piece of luaun plywood and square dowel are the only materials needed to get started. If you don't find a suitable piece of luaun in the cull cart, head to the hobby panel section of lumber at your local THD. A 2'x4' piece is only a few dollars. Select one with a nice grain pattern and without any filler. Next, head back to Millwork and grab a 1/4" or 3/8" square dowel.


Lay your piece of luaun down on a flat surface and draw a pleasing shape. Keep a portion of the "bottom" straight for ease of use later. Using your jigsaw, follow along your pencil line, cutting out your pattern. Now, start sanding. Be careful not to sand through your top layer. Also, make sure to round over the edges.


Sand the square dowel on three sides, rounding over the edges and ends. Now expoxy the square side to the luaun along that straight edge at the bottom. This gives a pen/pencil resting spot and helps keep papers in their place.


Once you have everything sanded and the expoxy has set for a day. Give it a nice coat of danish oil. Danish oil is equal parts of boiled linseed oil, varnish and mineral spirits. You'll be amazed at how the grain pattern in that luaun will pop. Give it a liberal coat, let penetrate for 10 minutes and wipe off the excess. Repeat the process a day later. Spread out your rags till completely dry to avoid spontaneous combustion. Oil finishes generate heat when curing, intense enough in a wadded rag to start a fire. Once completely dry, you can throw them away.


While not the greatest picture in the world, those who've seen this in person can't believe it's just a cull piece of luaun I picked up at THD for 51¢. Even the grain on that square dowel comes alive with a nice oil finish. Add a clamp-on style book light and you have a complete, hand-made, personal gift solution for very little wallet filler.

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Posted 2011-09-20T18:33:42+0000  by Paul Paul