Thursday, September 29, 2011

How to Build a Standing Desk

A few weeks ago, I enlightened you all to my standing desk:

Looking down at my monitor was getting old fast...and you can only stack your computer on so many books before it becomes unsafe. 

Luckily, we just got a new test machine at my office, which came in a big wooden box made of 2x4's and OSB (oriented strand board - I didn't know what it was either). 

Liiiiiight bulb!

Naturally, I took some measurements and built a m.a.s.t.e.r.p.i.e.c.e. of a standing desk:

See, there are perks to being an engineer! It was actually pretty easy once I had all the materials.

  • a sheet of OSB
  • about 108 inches of 2x4
  • 16 screws
  • a drill
  • a rotary saw
  • a tape measure
  • a pencil
  • safety goggles (!!)

  1. cut the OSB into one 30"x16" rectangle and one 24"x16" rectangle (these are your table tops) with the rotary saw. don't forget to wear safety goggles when cutting!!!
  2. cut the 2x4's into four 17" segments and four 10" segments (these are your legs)
  3. at the four corners of each table top piece, drill pilot holes through the OSB and into the legs. you might want to do this one at a time to make sure they match up
  4. attach the legs to the tops using screws. 
  5. place mini-tables on top of your desk and decorate with you computer, monitor, keyboard, etc.
Keep in mind that those height measurements are for someone my size (a towering 5'0" tall) so if you want to do this, you should definitely measure something that will work for your height. Also, the length and depth measurements might need to be tailored to your desk.

It definitely helped that I had all the tools and materials at my disposal. Also, my lovely colleague, Aaron, who did all the cutting while I stood by and supervised!

I've been standing at my new and improved standing desk for several days now and it's much easier on my neck not having to look down all day. Since I've been standing for a while now, it's been much easier on my lower back too! I had a few really good suggestions on my last standing desk post about what to do about pain or discomfort while getting used to standing all day:
  • for lower back pain, rest on foot on top of something (a box, footrest, etc.) to help curve your tailbone forward and allow the lumbar spine to curve forward
  • alternate sitting and standing (I can do this pretty easily because I can just un-dock my laptop and put it on the real desk)
In general, if you're switching to a standing desk, just take it slowly. Listen to what your body is telling you. Be kind, rewind :)