Building a Sliding Keyboard Tray

January–February 2015

Before
Tried these:
actual desk in the basement a motley combination of
furniture approximating a desk
Impetus for the sliding keyboard tray
After finally selling off in February 2015 the corner desk found on the New York Avenue curb in July 2012 and since outfitted with an articulating keyboard tray, only two configurations would still permit a stationary (but still rotating) chair: the rectangular computer desk left behind by my first tenant, and the folding utility desk abutting an elevated monitor platform. Discouraged from the first option by the perfect fit between that desk and the remaining basement bedroom (the relocation of whose bed would require enlisting a second person), and having tried the second option extensively only to grow dissatisfied with its aesthetics, I saw in my old writing desk the perfect starting point for a desktop computer workstation. This desk and I have a long history dating back to high school, when I used it for nightly homework written out longhand, and desktop computers occupied the more minimalistic desks in shared areas of our North Carolina house. To extend its useful life into the information age without challenging established ergonomic principles, I would have to make a few adjustments. The elevated monitor stand emerged practically for free by letting my wire mesh CD storage units lie on their side, but the keyboard tray would require some intricate carpentry and the letting go of the full-size Model M keyboard I had grown to love for its tactile and auditory feedback.
After
keyboard tray in action
Transferrable skills learned from this project
  • Sketching and dimensioning
  • Estimating static and dynamic load
  • Freeform cutting with chisel, keyhole saw, and file