Pull out writing shelf for existing desk, need help - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-27-2016, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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Question Pull out writing shelf for existing desk, need help

I have a desk (it's the metal desk attached).

This desk has a small space above the metal drawers (but below the glass surface) which would make a great home for a pull out flat writing surface. I'm thinking of those you'd see in an old style wooden desk (see sample attached, look above the top drawer on the right), a piece of 3/4" thick wood that simply slides out of the desk and allows for additional work surface.

My challenge is, there is a cross beam about 6" back from the front of the desk. This cross beam means I'd have 1.5" left of clearance under the glass top to accommodate the pullout shelf and its hardware.

I plan on attaching some wood to the top of the metal file cabinet to be flush with the crossbar, so that in essence I have a flat surface to mount the bracket. However, the height of the bracket PLUS the top (whatever its thickness) cannot exceed 1.5" (that would include any space needed to remove the drawer.

I was also thinking I could construct this entirely outside of the desk and then slide it in place (from left to right) over the crossbeam, meaning it doesn't have to be attached to the desk at all, just resting on top of the file cabinet.

My main question is....

What would be the best low profile flat mount (undermount/bottom mount) slide to choose? The desk is 21" deep where the drawer would go.

I've also attached the desk instructions to give a better idea how the desk is constructed.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-27-2016, 06:15 PM
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If you are willing to just have it slide in and out without attaching then no hardware is required.

You need to make the "shelf" the same thickness as the opening so that it does not tilt down when it is in an "out" position. The only problem I see is that you should have something for a stop. Insufficient information to have any suggestions on that. Maybe a pin that sticks up from the filler wood and runs in a groove on the bottom. Can you get the "shelf" in from the back? and do not mind groove showing from front?

George
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-28-2016, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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I think my main concern is sturdiness. In the wooden desk, the pull out tray slants down a little bit when extended because it's held in place by the opening. I'm more interested in metal slides to keep the tray parallel with the desk and allow me to write on it without it flexing.

So I'm not sure which slide to choose to make that happen. I am pretty certain I can make a flat surface on top of the cabinet drawers on which I can then screw DOWN to mount the brackets. Then the tray would slide in and out from there.

The biggest hurdle is lack of space. As I've said, there is exactly 1.5" of clearance between the metal cross bar (which would be the height of the flat surface I can make) and the bottom of the glass top. So ideally the slide could be 1/2" tall with a 3/4" thick slide out tray leaving 1/4" clearance.

What slide is 1/2" tall designed to be mounted under but does not require a front or back piece sticking up, like you would have on an actual drawer to attach to the front/back of the drawer? I've never bought slides so I have no clue.
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-28-2016, 10:30 AM
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I'd say buy a new desk that has the surface you want.

In the 60s, people cut the ass half of the roof off of VW busses, and opened the bed to the weather.

But the result just wasn't a pickup.

"When I have your wounded." -- Major Charles L. Kelley, callsign "Dustoff", refusing to recognize that an LZ was too hot, moments before before being killed by a single shot, July 1, 1964.
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-28-2016, 11:12 AM
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wooden rails would work.
- use a hard close grain wood - maple would be my starter....
- the front to back length must provide cantilevered support when the shelf is pulled out
- the back piece could be full thickness - for cross stays at front / mid point you could use thin slats or less woody but more certain... aluminum flat bar screwed into side rail (blind) notches.
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-28-2016, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomaspuzio View Post
I think my main concern is sturdiness. In the wooden desk, the pull out tray slants down a little bit when extended because it's held in place by the opening. I'm more interested in metal slides to keep the tray parallel with the desk and allow me to write on it without it flexing.

So I'm not sure which slide to choose to make that happen. I am pretty certain I can make a flat surface on top of the cabinet drawers on which I can then screw DOWN to mount the brackets. Then the tray would slide in and out from there.

The biggest hurdle is lack of space. As I've said, there is exactly 1.5" of clearance between the metal cross bar (which would be the height of the flat surface I can make) and the bottom of the glass top. So ideally the slide could be 1/2" tall with a 3/4" thick slide out tray leaving 1/4" clearance.

What slide is 1/2" tall designed to be mounted under but does not require a front or back piece sticking up, like you would have on an actual drawer to attach to the front/back of the drawer? I've never bought slides so I have no clue.
If you build the slide out piece 1 1/2" thick to fill the space it will not flex nor bend down. As I posted earlier it will also need no hardware.

George
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-29-2016, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Project completed!

Well those all seem like great suggestions, but in the end I wanted a ball bearing slide to guide this in and out smoothly. I tried chatting with Rockler customer service and they didn't think what I wanted to do was possible.

The issue is an undermount slide for my application, would need to be secured down through the stationary piece, and up through the pull out piece. So I found this one at Menard's:

http://www.menards.com/main/kitchen/...4424985731.htm

Worked like a charm.

The biggest issue I had was that the metal crossbeam (while 3/4" thick) was actually about 13/16" thick if you include the screw heads holding it to the metal file cabinet. So my 3/4" plywood overlay to make a flat surface didn't actually work. I had to attach a 1/4" shim piece running under the metal slide to clear the metal crossbeam. Once complete, the drawer was wobbly, but the included tack down nylon glides asssume you have a wood face frame to nail them into (which I sort of did, but it was a full 3/4" lower than the underside of the tray because of that shim and the bracket height). So I just put a second layer of 3/4" plywood to use as glides on either side of the tray. Now the tray is perfectly flat and glides out smoothly.

For the tray I used white ash colored melamine particle board shelving (15 3/4" x 4' was $10)

For the pull handle I used a scrap piece of hard maple I had lying around. I attached it with some pocket screws underneath. I'm going to leave the pull edge natural as it's a close match to the fake white ash top.

The tray pulls out 15" and is a nice work space. When pulled out it angles down very little (maybe 1/8" fully extended), and it seems sturdy enough for my purposes. I would estimate it could easily support 20 pounds, more than enough for writing on.

Thanks for your advice.
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