Thursday, July 31, 2014

Another Stolen Idea--Standing Desk!

Hey folks,

As one who thoroughly enjoys new pseudo-science fads (I have the Vibrams toe-shoes for workouts to prove it!), I figured I'd hop on another: The Standing Desk.

I have no shame.

Now, if you're thinking that this sounds familiar, you'd probably be right. Rodge did a post about creating a standing desk 3 years ago. Hell, that's where I got a solid chunk of inspiration. You can check it out here: He's way cooler than I am, so you'll probably enjoy his post more. Go read it.

If you're somehow still interested in my variation of the standing desk, good for you. I'll try not to shit the bed too hard. I knew I needed to build my desk, since there aren't many models out there that cost under $500 and anything below $1000 is pretty much a piece of shit. And while I could have probably bought some lumber and built a desk from scratch, that would've taken forever. Plus, it probably would have weighed a metric shit-ton. Fuck that noise. So I figured I'd have to mod some existing furniture. But where to start?

When researching what I wanted to do, I knew I wanted to do something a little more intricate than Rodge's desk, as I love storage. Fuck, storage is my god-damn life. Being a 27-year-old in an apartment that sometimes needs to be a place of conversation with students, my shit needs to be tidy as fuck when I can make it happen. Thus, I embarked on a journey of desk-discovery...

Aaaaand I found Took all of 20 god-damned minutes. I searched for "standing desk", started looking at what others had done, and quickly found this blog post: It talked about building this desk here:

Look at all that sexy, sexy storage (although wasted on 700 phones??).
(The guy who runs the blog is named Jeff Schertz--wanna make sure I give him credit!)

He's got diagrams, lists, breakdowns--everything. Stupidly thorough. This guy's for real. And considering I had never cherry-picked parts from IKEA before, it was crazy helpful. I'm not going to go through the breakdowns like he did--that would be redundant to an extreme. Instead, I'm going to talk a bit about my process, my changes, and how I made the desk better fit me.

(Just FYI--the EXPEDIT storage piece [the base of the desk] is no longer available. If you want this desk, you'll need the KALLAX, which is pretty much the same thing under a new name. Threw me off for a bit and made me take two trips to the store).

The process in a few pictures:
Building the Kallax. I'll explain in Change #2 why this sucked.

Drilling through. Again, refer to Change #2.

Fucking done! Finally!

Mounting the legs.

Weird angled legs for the larger-than-Kallax tabletop. Pretty slick.

Said larger-than-Kallax tabletop. Gives an extra "hidden" shelf area.

Brackets to mount the monitor/desk lamp shelf.

More legs to support the front end of the shelf.

All together now and broken in.

Change #1: The Growth Spurt

Looking at Jeff's math, I realized that his standing desk was made for someone about 8"-9" shorter than I--he lists himself as 5'6". Seeing as I'm a giant in comparison at 6'3", I needed to make the desk a bit taller for the monitor and keyboard to be at the right height.

Of course, I had no idea what the "right height" was, so I had to look it up. Basically, it said monitors should be eye level or so and keyboards should be roughly level to a 90 degree bend in your elbows (maybe a little lower, depending to taste). So, not a ton of help, but enough to make it work.

I did a little math and realized that with my fairly large monitor and my smaller torso (my legs are fucking stupid-long), I could get away with adding about 6" to the desk. IKEA, of course, makes that easy--I just bought 2 boxes of the 6" adjustable legs to throw on the bottom of the whole thing. Easy! (They're the CAPITA 6" legs, by the way).

Here's a pic of the legs being put on the base:
The moar legs the better!
Although the screws that came with the legs look short, they worked just fine. I was a little nervous to screw into the shitty pseudo-wood that are the pieces of the KALLAX (it's hollow particle board as far as I can tell), but they seem to hold just fine. I tested out the durability a bit and it held up superbly. Not bad!

Change #2: The Hardening

When I first opened the KALLAX set, I realized that pretty much everything was expected to be held together by these shitty 2" long wooden dowels. Boo. The wood is crappy enough as is--it certainly didn't need any help in getting less durable. Thus, I decided to replace every wood dowel with a screw of some kind. A trip to my local hardware store and I had an absolute shit-ton of 2"x1/4" machine screws and a handful of double-sided screws (for the areas of the shelving that cannot be screwed in).

I screwed through all of the holes to allow myself the ability to put the screws in, but realized that the machine screws were countersunk. Another trip to the hardware store and, after purchasing a counter sink, I was able to widen the holes to the correct spot. Here a picture of what that looked like:

Why use a countersunk screw, you ask? So it can be flush against the wood!
 Took me the better part of a day to get everything screwed out, countersunk, and screwed into place, but now I could probably give this thing a swift kick and it would hold just fine. Ultimately, I wanted something that would last through a few moves, as IKEA furniture doesn't always hold up to such abuse and I don't want to have to do another of these anytime in the near future.

Overall, I'm very happy with how this thing turned out. The desk itself looks solid, has a lot of utility in the storage and general size (doubles as a computer and minis desk while still having all the space for lighting that I would need). Standing has forced me to spend a little less time at the computer, as my legs haven't gotten used to it yet; that's another win in my book. I haven't fully transitioned from my minis table over to this thing, but that's a project for another weekend. I got shit to paint!

For anyone looking for more info on this set-up, feel free to drop me a line. I'd be more than happy to talk more in-depth about it. There's all sorts of potential study results that talk about the health benefits of standing more often, but whatever. I'm just doing it for the chicks.

Smell ya later,
Mikey G


Dai said...

Okay, my aching shoulders and neck urge me to look into this myself. Hell, I am going to talk to my HR peoples to see if I can't get something similar set up here at work.

Laffe said...

Wow, nice setup!

Unknown said...

Standing desk douche.

Rogers said...

Nice work!! I might need to upgrade to some sweet shelf space! Although, I'll probably just buy more models I'll never use, so maybe not.

Dai: I upgraded to a standing desk at work about 4 months ago. HR/Ergonomics people were totally fine with it. Everybody assumes I have some weird back problem. Been lovin' it!

Ryan said...

Mikey G - great write up. What is the cost of something like this in $$ not in time/effort? Would be nice to know for someone starting this project.

Nabroleon said...

Thanks boys!

Dai: As Rodge said, check with HR. I doubt they'll make a big deal of it. Be a little careful though--studies are showing that too much standing can be rough on your body too. I would say if you sit at home, standing at work is great (or vice-versa). Just don't do both.

Rodge: So much shelf space bro! I understand the sentiment--this put my hobby budget back a month or two (which is fine--I've got enough shit to paint). You could probs buy some cheap shelving from Target to fit under yours and not have to take yours apart/mod it.

Ryan: Total, it was just over $250 (including the couple extra bits I needed for my drill, the counter sink, and the mods through the hardware store). Not super-cheap, but definitely not terrible for the solid product I got. It's at least 50% cheaper than even the cheaper-end standing desks that you can buy in store.

You could do a standing desk much cheaper with just some legs and a table-top (with maybe an extra shelf for a monitor), but I opted for the storage. If someone needs ideas on any mods, feel free to let me know and I'd be happy to talk it out.

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