Taking a Stand

Somewhere in the spring of last year, I noticed a problem. Putting in long hours in my office, staring at the computer and slouched in a desk chair, I would rise and feel awful. Yes, I was running 30-plus miles a week. Yes, I weighed 50 pounds less than I had a year earlier. Why did I feel so crummy? Only later did I realize that sitting is the new smoking!

Standing Desk 1
My new workspace cost nothing out of pocket, using a piece of plywood from the garage and a couple of bolts from my parts bin.

Even without all the recent hubbub about sitting, I wondered what standing through part of my day could be like. With a large bookcase at the perfect height already lining one wall of my office, I had the perfect platform. I started out by doing some pen-and-paper grading on the top of that bookcase. (The pen and paper were on top of the bookcase; not me.) When this worked out, I wondered how I could get my employer to buy me a standing desk.

That’s when I had my eureka moment. I brought a slab of 3/4-inch plywood to school. This board had been cut to fit the space available on top of the bookcase. It had already been used as a desktop in our home, so Penny had finished it and applying some edging to it.

Besides the wood, I carried along a couple of nut and bolt combos–just spares I had sitting at home–along with four washers. Also I brought a drill, bits, and wrenches.

A hole drilled partway through the plywood allows the bolt and washer to be countersunk.
A hole drilled partway through the plywood allows the bolt and washer to be countersunk.

I drilled a couple of 3/8-inch holes in the plywood and then drilled larger holes part of the way through the wood. These larger holes were big enough to hold the washers I would use and just deep enough to allow the washer and bolt head to sit below the surface of the wood.

Next, I drilled a 3/8-inch hole through the top of the bookcase and lined up with the ones in the plywood. From there it was simple to push through the bolts and tighten them down. In just a couple of minutes I had a very sturdy surface extending from the top of my bookcase.

It took longer to move my computer to its new home, but that wasn’t terribly difficult. From there, I started doing my office work standing. My desk still sat to my left, ready for me to plop down in the chair. It would have only taken a few minutes to put the computer back there.

In short, the only thing I had done that could not be reversed easily was those holes in the top of a bookcase. Yes, that piece of furniture does belong to my employer, but they won’t complain.