Sunday, November 13, 2011

Stand and Fight

I've spent the last month or so filling up an empty apartment. In the past, my painting desk was a heavy slab of a desk a buddy of mine had purchased from a local community college. I painted a steam tank for him in exchange for it. It was about three feet by six feet wide and had served well as both a computer and painting desk for close to ten years. As I was starting over in an empty place, I thought it was about time for an upgrade, time for something a little easier on the eyes.

As an office worker, decided I wanted a standing desk for home. I'm sure all the other cubefarmers out there can relate with sitting all day only to come home and hunch over a painting desk for the rest of the night.

The big problem with standing desks, though, is there's like two for sale on the internet and they're just regular sized desks. I wanted something as big as I had before. If I had the tools, the experience, and patience, I may have built one from scratch. Lacking all three of those traits, however, and the fact that I actually needed something to use right away, I turned to Ikea.

Ikea does not have a standing desk for sale, technically, but they have all the components to make one. Specifically:
  • 1 Vika Amon Tabletop
  • 5 Vika Byske Legs
  • 1 Lack Shelf
The Byske legs are intended for a different tabletop but align perfectly with the Amon tabletop screw holes. The legs are adjustable and the tabletop is at an overall height of 44 and 1/2 inches. I am six foot even and the ideal height is right about your elbows. The increased height means the table is a little more wobbly than a typical desk, so you want to keep it flush against a wall for additional support. Due to some heating vents blocking the legs at the base, and a light switch, I am using a few L shaped blocks with rubber pads to keep the desk from moving.

You can see the left side will be dedicated to hobby work, the right for computing and the middle is a large calendar / coaster. I put down two tiles to help keep paint and glue and cuts from getting to the tabletop (although I did give it several layers of varnish as I was not impressed with its stock coating). I built a small 'stool' from a shelf and some legs from Menards so when I paint I rest my elbows on the table and rest my wrists against the stool. This helps keep me steady and also keeps my posture natural and comfortable.

Yet in the works are some kind of chest, drawers, or something to store paints and tools in. This set up is in a corner of my main living area so I will be looking to keep the paint station quite clean and discreet most of the time. I will do a follow-up once that is sorted. I may have to trim down on the number of miscellaneous tools, paints and assorted hobby garbage I have!

I've had this arrangement for about two weeks so far and it's working great. On the computer side, the monitor sits on the shelf and is basically at head level, so I look straight ahead in a natural posture. Just standing seems to have cut down on a lot of random web surfing and browsing, too. I sort of pop in and out to do specific things rather than sit for an extended period of time.

It takes some getting used to but I'd highly recommend a trial run for anyone interested. I used my kitchen counter top for a while to see if I'd like it and you can easily just boost a normal desk up to standing height, rather than try to make something specifically for standing.

Once my legs have gotten used to standing this long, I may convert my desk at work into a standing one as well!


retroalias said...

I kind of pegged you for being a little off, this just confirms it! It is a little disheartening that you are able to pull off those amazing paint jobs with that spartan set up. God help the competition if you had access to a full hobby bunker. :)

ohiohammer said...

Been in the market for a standing desk for a while. Just emailed you oddly enough before finding this article online. Huge help and now I'm off to go build!

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