Now that the crib is finished, and little Titus is using it, the desk takes center stage again. Frankly, I gave so much attention to the crib, that it took me a while to refocus and to start thinking about the desk once more as a project.
An idea rolling around in my head before I left this project was a pull-out writing shelf for each side of the desk. This requires some rework and some structure to support the shelf, but I loved these shelves since the first one I came across as a youth. Since this desk follows no set plan or schedule, I decided to add them.
In general, that meant finding a place for them that would be functional and not weaken the structure too much. The only practical spot for the shelf is at the end of the apron, opposite of the the drawer end. I want a nice wide shelf, that could potentially support most of a piece of paper or mouse pad or electronic item.
I ended up deciding on about 9 inches wide. I did not have a piece of oak that wide, so I took a 5 inch wide piece and cleaned up one side for gluing. I ended up with about a 3 foot long piece and just over 9 inches wide which will be cut to finish size when I get everything done. I plan to build a simple wood track for both sides that the shelf can slide on.
The size became a concern when I considered that the usable length might be quite short after it cleared the overhang of the desk top. The ruler said that 12 inches long would be half the width of the desk, and the maximum length of the shelf. Figuring that the desktop would hang over the sides by about 2 inches, that leaves 10 inches. Some of that length needs to remain inside the desk to keep the shelf stable. Somewhere between 2 to 3 inches needed to remain inside the desk for strength, which would leave me with a usable 7 to 8 inches. That is simply too short.
After a little head scratching and some drawing, I decided that what was left inside the desk needed to accomplish two things. First, I needed enough wood to provide good strength and support for the portion extending outside the desk. Secondly, I needed a full width shelf so that it stays in the track and does not flop or shift. I came up with a plan for interlocking fingers that will extend the shelf length and by cutting the outside fingers in a diagonal, I could keep a full width for both pieces.
Those fingers will not show from the top side of the desk and extend the over all length enough that I should be able to gain a couple of usable inches. Since this is a Greene and Greene style, I have the luxury of extending the shelves out beyond flush with the apron and doing some extra stuff. But, I think I am far enough along now so that I can finally glue the entire frame together.