Lap Desk

Lap Desk

Colonial Lap Desk

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The first Lap Desk I made was probably about 1998. I had a customer that wanted me to make a Lap Desk for her Mother who was starting to be confined to bed. She obviously wanted it very special, historically significant, light, and easy to use. She wanted it to have several dividers inside to separate stationary, envelopes, stamps, and pens. I researched the history of lap desks and found that George Washington carried one with him on campaigns. It was simple and had a leather strap. I decided the leather strap was not needed and took the photograph to heart to reproduce this simple design.

The Desk that I designed had a sloped lid that lifted on two brass hinges. The top was made using breadboard construction to insure that the top would remain flat. It had a small lip at the bottom of the top to keep paper from sliding off, and had a “pencil groove” made into the fixed portion of the top. The case is constructed using hand cut dovetails, and the dividers fit into hidden dados and are half lapped where they intersect. The case is hand finished with a 14 step process that gives it a beautiful look and wonderful feel.

As many of you know, I just recently retired from teaching mathematics. I had a lot of grading to do at the house, and had made myself a nice grading board that would help keep papers straight while I sat watching a weekend football game. The lap desk would have helped me, but really helped the English teacher that was trying to keep a class set of term papers straight. She ordered the one in oak seen above. She made some pictures for me since I did not have the web site at the time. The size can vary as can the inside dividers. The size for the teacher was 16”x19”. I had one client use it for storing his computer.

The old notion of putting pen to paper may be somewhat outdated. We may not have to find an envelope and stamp like we did in the olden days, but some of us still like the niceties in life. These make some beautiful presents, and as usual, will make a priceless heirloom in the future. Your Grandchildren will always treasure Grandma’s Lap Desk.

The mesquite Lap Desk shown was created to reflect the uniqueness of a “live” edge for which mesquite is famous

Mesquite Lap Desk with Live Edge
Mesquite Lap Desk with Live Edge

Mesquite is difficult to work with and the finish is usually natural after many sandings and just a few coats of finish. The cracks and holes found in raw mesquite wood have been preserved to keep the character of the wood but not impede the writing surface. The wood hinges of mesquite shown are handmade and finished to a satin sheen. The dimensions of the lap desk can vary to accommodate your needs. This lap desk has no inside dividers. Mesquite Lap Desk shown has a table top which is 16”l x 19”w and the inside dimensions are 13”l x 17”w. The outside base is 4”at the back of the piece in height and slopes down to 2.75”height. This will accommodate a lap top computer.

Lap Desks are available in all my standard woods of oak, maple, and mahogany and cherry.  The specialty woods such as Texas mesquite or walnut must have many weeks to prep before making the desk. Check out our price list on the Contact us page. Call Red to discuss your needs and lets work together.