desk : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary


Most computer desks are way too cramped for computer programming. Here is my attempt at designing a suitable programming environment.


The idea of this project is to provide huge amounts of work surface and tons of book storage for computer programming. The furniture should be designed to come apart fairly easily into pieces so that it could be moved and reassembled into some less grandiose configuration with parts of it put compactly into storage.

The Surfaces

The work surfaces are covered in Arborite so they will be durable to coffee spills and easy to clean. The surface will probably be dark green. I hope to pick a pattern that would mask scratches and stains. The best I have seen so far is pattern P901, though I would like something darker perhaps that vaguely suggested malachite, though not so gaudy.

arborite sample

another possibility is pattern 1425:

arborite sample

or pattern P936:

arborite sample

or solid S414:

arborite sample

The coarser grain would not show flaws as readily.

The Tables

The desk is basically 3 separate tables 1.83 × 0.91 metres (6 × 3 ft) surfaced in Arborite Plus. They need to be sturdy, no particle board. The sides may be wood or arborite. The tables must give 68.58 cm (2¼ ft) clearance above the floor. The tables will normally be laid out in a U shape like this.

plan of desk

I am not too particular how the table is supported. It might have four legs or two side panels and a back panel, so long as the front surface allows free leg motion and the table does not wobble.

There are two holes — one in the back left and one in the back right corner of the tables to allow electrical cords to get from underneath to the desk surface. Ideally the holes are about 3 by 1.5 with plastic liners and cord guides to make them look neat and to reduce binding when you pull a cord through.

The Hutch

The hutch fits across the back of the middle table. It is very similar to the hutch I have now only longer and taller.

front of hutch

The horizontal lines represent shelves. The brown boxes represent cupboards. Inside each cupboard is a horizontal shelf. The entire unit is four feet high, 6 feet wide and, 1 foot deep. One unit is 2 feet wide and the other five feet. The cupboards clear the desk surface by 1 foot. The middle shelf gives 20" clearance from the desk surface. The cupboards are 55.88 cm (1.83 ft) tall. The hutch should be sturdy, no particle board. It could be surfaced in wood or arborite.

The Table Book Cases

The bookcases sit against the back and right walls of the right most table, resting on the table surface. Plan view of where bookcases go.

bookcase placement

They are 4 feet tall and 1 feet deep. One is 2 feet wide and the other 5 feet wide. The cases should be sturdy, no particle board. They could be surfaced in wood or arborite. They are freestanding and hence could also sit on the floor away from the desk.

The Floor Book Cases

There are two bookcases that stand on the floor. They are 6 feet high and 3 feet wide and 1 foot deep. The cases should be sturdy, no particle board. They could be surfaced in wood or arborite. The shelves should mostly be designed to accommodate 21.59 × 27.94 cm (8½ × 11 in) ring binders with one taller shelf and one shorter one. There is probably no need for these to be custom built.

Improving The Design

I am open to suggestions to improve the design. In particular I would like to avoid wasting the 1 foot column between the two desk book cases.

The desk’s dimensions may seem overly large. I am a very tall person and so would have much less trouble reaching the upper portions of the desk.

Another possibility would be to make the large desk bookcase rest on the floor. That way it would not subtract from the surface area of the right most table. It would be somewhat awkward to get at the lower shelves since you would have to crawl under the desk.

By cutting off the sharp right angle corners or slightly rounding them, the pieces would be less susceptible to damage should they be banged into a wall during a move.


I would like to gradually add the pieces, depending on cost, perhaps at the rate of one or two a month. I would like to acquire the pieces in this order:
  1. floor standing book case 1
  2. floor standing book case 2
  3. table 1
  4. large table book case
  5. small table book case
  6. table 2
  7. table 3
  8. hutch

Future Desk

A desk a device to store objects and make it easy to find them. It also holds things in position for you to read them or write on them. Imagine an intelligent desk, that holds the objects you need exactly at the right place, not necessarily on a common level surface. Imagine a small team of people who held books in the air at the correct page for you. Another would hold you monitor at the correct height and distance, perhaps moving it about a bit to exercise your eyes. You could call out like a surgeon pen, blank DVD (Digital Video Disc) dictionary and it would appear at the usual place for that object. Stuff you were not using would be automatically filed away clearing your workspace. Think how many desks there are in the world and how much some of the people are paid each hour who use them. Surely even a small improvement in efficiency would have a very short payback time.

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