Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rolltop Desk Scanner Drawer

My HP Scanjet scanner has a pretty large footprint. As a result, my rolltop desktop was kind of crowded. My wife, a devoted minimalist has been muttering darkly about my junky desk for some time. Seems it is difficult to dust - a minor, but serious crime in the household of She-Who-Must-Dust-Daily. So as a Christmas present, as much to myself as to her, I decided it was time to get her off my.....I mean, reduce the clutter on my desk.

Despite opinions to the contrary, I do need a scanner that will handle 8-1/2 by 14 documents, so the problem is how do I find a place for the scanner and make more room on the desktop?

The solution I hit upon involves the following materials:

  • 1 - 24 x 17.5 inch 3/4 inch plywood piece
  • 8 - half inch wood screws
  • 8 - 5/8 inch wood screws
  • Screwdriver
  • 2 - 22 inch drawer slides
  • An iron
  • A 5/8 inch band of oak veneer

The lower right of my rolltop contains a couple of wooden modules with drawers and compartments for computers, miscellaneous junk, my power center and a handful of CDs.  I measured the space above the top of the lower drawer module and above the top of the computer and found there was room for the scanner with a couple of inches to spare.

I removed the upper module with the CD rack and the shelf above the CPU as shown.

I moved the CD rack and drawer to the top of the desk beside the vertical stack of drawers as shown on the right.

I test fit the drawer guides, making sure the space above the slide out shelf would give the scanner a good inch of clearance. I measured and marked where the outside rails would go.

I screwed the rail guides to the sides of the inside of the compartment. I used the 5/8 screws where the sides were thicker and the 1/2 inch screws where the sides were only 3/8 inches thick. With the thickness of the rail guide, the half inch screws didn't puncture the sides of the desk.

I test fit the rails that screw to the shelf and measured the distance from inside to inside to get the proper width for the shelf (17.5 inches).

I cut the shelf 24 inches long to accommodate the full length of the scanner and 17.5 inches wide to fit between the rail guides with the shelf guide rails attached.

I screwed the rails in place on the sides of the shelf with the 5/8 inch screws for a secure fit. Make sure the guide wheels are oriented properly. Different rail guides may line up different ways, so test fit everything before screwing things together.

I screwed the guide rails to the sides of the board with the poorer side of the plywood down where the wheels hang down.

Before installing the shelf, I applied a strip of white oak veneer to the front edge of the shelf.

It comes with glue on the back already and is applied with a hot iron. Later, I'll come back and lay oak veneer across the top of the shelf, stain and varnish it to look like the rest of the desk. One day when I'm fully recovered from our move to Washington, I'm going to buy a solid oak shelf and replace the plywood one, but till then, Mama is happy.

All that's left is to slide the shelf onto the side drawer guide rails and slide it into the cabinet. I did have to drive a screw into the inside of the rail attached to the rail the very front of the rail guide. This prevents the assembly from sliding all the way through and whacking the back of the cabinet. Some of the more expensive guide rails come with such a stopper installed.

And Voila!  The desk is less cluttered and she can dust it daily if she wishes.

I still have my scanner which is a highly useful device.

I figure everything I can repair, organize, make prettier or any thing that irritates my Sweet Baboo that I can eliminate is one more bit o incense in my life, spreading the fragrance of peace and harmony in our happy home.

AND I get to show off my clever bit of furniture modification to visiting males of the species.

It is a little know fact that modern man marks their territory with power tools!

Urh, Urh....

Tom King
(c) 2011


  1. Amazing thing you post in this blog. It help me to solve my related problem. Nice bolg post.
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  2. Also, the drawer runners are only glued to the case sides near the front. drawer runners

  3. I screwed my runners in and they worked fine. No glue necessary.