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eHam Forums => Station Building => Topic started by: KA3NXN on April 20, 2012, 07:27:45 AM



Title: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: KA3NXN on April 20, 2012, 07:27:45 AM
Hi Gang,

I'm looking for a nice operating desk setup for my rigs. First I have to say as far as carpentry goes, I'm very challenged in this area. I couldn't cut a straight cut if my life depended on it.  For starters, if I can use it, I have a large flat very sturdy table that is 3x10' in size. I can either build on this or discard it. My gear consists of 2 amps, an Alpha 76 for HF and an SB-221 for six, the HF rig is a Ten Tec Omni VII. And a full size manual tuner , Palstar 2500. Then I have the VHF/UHF rigs with are all separate mobile type rigs for each band. Oh, and I can't forget the Sounds Sweet communications speaker. I have Alinco's Dr-135, 235 & 435, plus a Kenwood TK-981, and yes a mobile CB radio, Texas Ranger 396. I live near the interstate and monitor it in case someone has an emergency. The power supplies for all of this can be tucked away somewhere out of the way.

Suggestions? Pictures? Any input would be appreciated it, especially by my YL.

Jaime-KA3NXN


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: K1CJS on April 21, 2012, 04:36:43 AM
Of course you can use it--you said it was sturdy.  If you change your mind and don't want to, what I've done is get a used, surplus office desk, the kind with a file drawer in it.  The smaller drawers can be used to hold tools and test equipment and the file drawer for your manuals and station paperwork. 

With this type setup, if you take the time to put stuff away after use (I just say that because sometimes I don't  ;D ) your station will always look neat and professional--yet you will still have everything readily at hand if you need it.  Used desks like this can usually be had at second hand shops for less than $50.  Good luck and 73!


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: N3WAK on April 21, 2012, 03:34:35 PM
I bought a Norden expandable kitchen table from Ikea.  I bought the smaller of the two, but now that I had plenty of room, I promptly used all the room and needed to expand it.  I ended up building a shelf for it that's 14" wide and 6' long, the standad size board that was already sanded at Lowes.  I inserted 10" tall spacers cut from another board purchased there in the lumber section--three in all, between the two 6' long boards and screwed them down tight.  Voila--a sturdy shelf that spreads the weight of the radios placed on it across the 6' long lower of the two boards.  Still, I realize now I should have purchased the larger-size kitchen table...probably will one of these days.  You assemble the table yourself, but even I could do it, so it clearly isn't too hard.  The Norden table is very, very sturdy and heavy.  I recommend it. 

73, Tony


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: ONAIR on April 26, 2012, 01:17:41 AM
An old solid wood door and some 4X4s did the trick for me! :)


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: K3GM on April 26, 2012, 05:05:30 AM
I've always used surplus office desks.  They're wide, and deep, and are usually heavy.  They have storage usually on both sides.  Most office desks can also be disassembled, so you can remove the top, from the left and right halves, even take the legs off if you have to, so they can be easily moved around.

For my stacking shelves, I always build my own.  You don't have to know how to "cut straight" in order to build your own.  After designing my shelf and settling on a depth (usually 15"), I run to Home Depot, purchase a 4x8 sheet of sanded birch plywood, and have them rip the sheet lengthwise into 15" wide strips using their 4X8 panel saw.  The results are clean edges,and perfectly square  So you end up with three 15" wide strips plus a little scrap piece.  Now it's just a matter of cutting the stirips into shelve pieces according to your design. For that, you do need a circular saw. You'll need a couple of pipe clamps, a carpenter's square, glue and square drive cabinet screws. You don't need a woodworking shop.  I assembled mine outside on a sunny day using a couple of saw horses.  I've attached a picture of my latest shelf.  A masterpiece it's not, but it's very functional, and it holds all of my equipment in cubby holes specifically designed for them.

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a96/TwoSevenRight/shelf.jpg


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: K7MH on April 29, 2012, 11:40:35 PM
I use an old teachers desk. I think it is oak. I see them on Craigslist often around here. They are big, deep, heavy, and have large drawers. Mine has two pull out shelves, one on each side which often come in handy. I could stack a LOT of real heavy gear on it. It is no fun to move though!!
In any event, look on Craigslist for desks and see what you can find. You may not have to pay much for one that you like.


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: N0YXB on May 01, 2012, 08:06:25 AM
Thanks for the info and photos K3GM, those are some very nice shelves.  Time to get out the circular saw.


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: KH6DC on May 06, 2012, 04:50:21 PM
I've always used surplus office desks.  They're wide, and deep, and are usually heavy.  They have storage usually on both sides.  Most office desks can also be disassembled, so you can remove the top, from the left and right halves, even take the legs off if you have to, so they can be easily moved around.

For my stacking shelves, I always build my own.  You don't have to know how to "cut straight" in order to build your own.  After designing my shelf and settling on a depth (usually 15"), I run to Home Depot, purchase a 4x8 sheet of sanded birch plywood, and have them rip the sheet lengthwise into 15" wide strips using their 4X8 panel saw.  The results are clean edges,and perfectly square  So you end up with three 15" wide strips plus a little scrap piece.  Now it's just a matter of cutting the stirips into shelve pieces according to your design. For that, you do need a circular saw. You'll need a couple of pipe clamps, a carpenter's square, glue and square drive cabinet screws. You don't need a woodworking shop.  I assembled mine outside on a sunny day using a couple of saw horses.  I've attached a picture of my latest shelf.  A masterpiece it's not, but it's very functional, and it holds all of my equipment in cubby holes specifically designed for them.

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a96/TwoSevenRight/shelf.jpg

Not a masterpiece??? Are you kidding me??? It looks awesome.  I want to know how you made the joints for the shelves.  The usual is to notch on a table saw then slide the shelves into them for support.  Please can you send some closeup of the shelf joints to kh6dc@arrl.net 

Tnx and 73,  de Del KH6DC


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: K3GM on May 06, 2012, 07:21:27 PM
Thanks.  I'll try to get a couple of close-ups off to you this week.  The correct way would be to dado the the plywood, but I don't own wood working equipment.  Instead, I used square drive cabinet screws.  The coarse threads bite tightly into the plys.  I also glue as well.  To finish the job, I applied oak edgebanding to the face of the shelf which effectively hides the plys. The back of it comes coated with heat activated glue and is activated with a hot clothes iron.


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: NI0Z on May 11, 2012, 01:47:09 AM
Bakers Racks were real helpful in my setup, I was able to use them behind my desk and to the right of the desk.  They give you a lot of flexibility and in my case made cable routing easier.

Just added the rack behind this week, you can see pics here.

http://www.qrz.com/db/NI0Z


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: KG4LMZ on May 11, 2012, 03:22:18 PM
I took two "L" desks from the local electronics store as the basis for my combined computer and radio position.  The "L" desks have a short side and a long side.  I put one of the short sides in a different room as a side table.  The remaining three sides I put together as

+--+
|    |
|

The "front" long section is the computer operating position with monitors, keyboards, etc.  The "right" short section is for my work laptop when I work from home.  The "left" long section is the radio operating position.  I picked up a little 12" x 36" two-level shelf to hold the radios, tuners, etc. (I have a small, 2-radio shack)  I plan to get rolling two-drawer file cabinets to put under the "left" and "right" sections for files, tools, etc.


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: W8CQU on May 16, 2012, 07:05:07 AM
     My operating desk is made up of two solid core doors purchased from Lowe’s and positioned in an L shape with the second door to my left, I am left handed.  The front edge of both doors was slightly rounded off with a router and they were sanded and finished with several coats of polyurethane.  The steel legs I bought from surplus and were cleaned and painted appropriately.
     The desk in front of me has all of the radio equipment positioned on it.  The legs have Teflon coated pads attached that were also purchased from Lowe’s.  With these pads attached I can slide the desk out at any time I want to change or fix things very easily.  Unless you permanently leave a couple of feet open behind your operating desk this is a  MUST.  It makes things so much easier to be able to get behind the desk and work on your equipment.  My floor has a cheap office carpet on it but it doesn’t matter what kind of floor you have or how heavy your desk is, these pads work.  Good luck building your station and have fun.

Paul/W8CQU


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: KQ6Q on May 21, 2012, 03:18:15 PM
You can get the 'Bakers Rack' shelving with desk surfaces as part of the kit. It's on page 314 of the Global Industrial catalog. I have the 72" wide unit, we have the family computer setup and network central, my ham station with a laptop, and lots of high and low storage.
see http://www.globalindustrial.com/g/office/computer-furniture/lan-workstations/wire-lan-station
There are all kinds of accessories - dividers, sides and back for shelves, under shelf bins, etc. I've had mine now for about 14 years. It mostly goes together with just a rubber mallet.


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: KQ6Q on May 21, 2012, 03:26:29 PM
On the shelving - be sure to look through the  actual catalog for all the options. I've got one shelf below the desktop, with bins under the shelf, and three shelves above the desktop. Don't bother with the keyboard slideouts, just make the desktop the right height for keyboards, paddles, keys, etc.  all heights are adjustable in 1" increments The shipping is by truck freight only. Assembly is a hoot!


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: K1CJS on May 22, 2012, 05:27:17 AM
On the shelving, you may want to consider closet racks/shelves that are able to be put together according to the amount of room in a closet.  They're available at Home Depot, Lowes and some other stores.  These shelves are not solid, but are wire rack type shelves--better for ventilation.  There are different lengths and more than one way to assemble them.

The only need probably would be a hutch type frame that you may need to build to give the racking system something to be assembled in.

Added--One nice thing is that you can strengthen them easily with wood panels, which, with some measuring, cutting and notching, will lock into the shelves easily, while still letting ventilation of the electronics be easily accomplished.


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: KB2FCV on May 24, 2012, 09:48:25 AM
I used plywood and 2X4's for my desk. I made the desk framing with 2x4's as well as the legs. I think I used 16 or 24" spacing for the 2x4's that string across.
http://www.qrz.com/db/KB2FCV

I made the upper tier with some 1x2 framing and plywood also.

Like you, I am a bit carpentry challenged. I have no idea if I built this stuff right or not but it's been holding my stuff for a few years now with no signs of any change / sagging / etc. It has held several hundred pounds of boatanchor gear with zero issues.


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: K1CJS on May 25, 2012, 05:41:31 AM
....Like you, I am a bit carpentry challenged. I have no idea if I built this stuff right or not but it's been holding my stuff for a few years now with no signs of any change / sagging / etc. It has held several hundred pounds of boatanchor gear with zero issues.

If it's been holding the stuff, you've built it good enough.  The main point about any sort of home made bench is that it does what is intended.  That's what is important.  Now, if your intent was to build it to professional standards, then you could worry about whether it was 'built right' or not!   8)


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: W2WDX on July 13, 2012, 04:26:54 PM
Here are two station setups I have used. The first was made to appease the wife at home, the other is more utilitarian and is in my commercial electronics restoration shop.

http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/images/W2WDX09-01.jpg (http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/images/W2WDX09-01.jpg)
http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/images/1.1full.jpg (http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/images/1.1full.jpg)

This is at home. Uses two solid Luan wood doors and gas plumbing pipes, caps and flanges, as you can see from the second drawing. The door was stained a pickled oak color to match the decor. The cost was under $100 all from Home Depot. I had the guys at HD cut the pipe to length and thread them. You can use the caps to adjust the height slightly to level the table.

This next one is the station at the shop. Less aesthetically pleasing but much more heavy duty and bolts together very quickly. It can support over 1200lbs. It uses commercially available workbenches from Global Industries and Uline. They are commercial packing tables.

http://vikingvintage.com/station042011a.jpg (http://vikingvintage.com/station042011a.jpg)

John W2WDX



Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: NA0AA on July 19, 2012, 08:22:15 PM
In an ideal world, every station would have at least a 30" deep aisle behind it to get to the wiring and back of equipment routing.  Heck, ideally I think would be a rack system with front mounted desk - with a plethora of shelves, panels and various pieces, you can customize to a fine turn.  Downside is that it's a rather utilitarian look.

I have two heavy duty shelves attached to my log walls, and a kitchen table under for the main gear - at this point I don't move things as much as I used to.  It's pretty well set up as I like it.

I would avoid particle board - you can get good quality engineered 3/4" planks up to about 12" wide, and I simply used two planks deep on a shelf bracket made of 1/8" steel with a top 18" deep!  With about 1.5" space between rear of shelf and wall, routing wiring is easy, making changes OK for fixed shelving.

Someone mentioned wire shelving - if you can order what you like, there's some neat options and you can put it on wheels to roll it away from wall for access.  The stuff is silly strong, but you may need to put a solid surface down on top of the wire for equipment, or use wood sleepers for the feet - that preserves the airflow advantages.  If you are in earthquake country, it's easy to anchor equipment to wire shelving - heavy duty zip ties work dandy!

The wire shelving:  I once added shelves to a kitchen by using 4 corner posts and only narrow shelves up HIGH - which gave me shelves over my old stove, straddling the stove - you could do this with a desk and the shelving could be self supporting on the floor on either side of your desk - and you can get 14" or 18" deep shelving.

Since my radio shack doubles as my "office", I have two desks, a radio operating desk and another messy desk, where I work on other projects, keep the computer, etc.  This keeps the radio desk much neater.

One thing I almost never seem to have is enough storage space.  I imagine I never will. 

LED undercounter lighting is still a bit expensive but is very nice on the eyes.




Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: W2RWJ on July 23, 2012, 05:20:14 PM
This next one is the station at the shop. Less aesthetically pleasing but much more heavy duty and bolts together very quickly. It can support over 1200lbs. It uses commercially available workbenches from Global Industries and Uline. They are commercial packing tables.

Going to follow on WDX's advise - This is radio room one at the N2MO station.   

http://sarex.us/n2mo/temp/radio_room_one.jpg

They are cut-down commercial workbenches from the corporate scrap pile.  The hutches are  made from counter-top scrap courtesy of Craigs-List


Title: RE: Looking for suggestions on a new desk/console
Post by: K1XV on August 15, 2012, 02:01:40 PM
You can get some really quality professional grade workbenches at McMaster-Carr

http://www.mcmaster.com/#assembled-workbenches/=iv3xlf