The adjustable angle and the location of the
support, high on the back, allows for bent knees. A laptop
docking station can be securely attached to the desktop,
to keep the computer in place while the desk is moved around.
This is especially helpful because it
protects the computer from being dropped.
use this design,
when there are so many commercially available lap desks and
over-the-bed tables? This specific desk was built for a patient
in recovery from a severe spinal injury, which required long months of
in a totally flat position (no propping up on pillows or sitting in a
possible). Horizontally oriented tables
and standard lap desks are totally unusable from this position.
Even over the bed desks require the user to
be able to reach out of bed and apply leverage to adjust them, which is
impossible with a spinal injury. So we
came up with a solution, which is easy to manipulate and adjust without
up and without applying very much force.
Since the desk was
we were much more likely to customize it, which in the end resulted in
more useful item than anything we could
have purchased. We added velcro and
other attachment points for pens, cell phone, and other items, to
from falling out of reach.
The combination of
laptop screen and adjustable desk legs makes it easy to find a
viewing angle from just about any position between lying flat and
upright, whether you’re in bed or on the sofa.
Best of all, the
someone who is confined to bed a bit of autonomy and the freedom to
Internet, watch movies, and even work at home without need of
While the user is
- Measure the width of the user
across the hips, all the way to the outside edges. This is
measurement A (width of desk).
- Measure the height from the
surface they are lying on to above the hips.
This is measurement B (height above bed).
- Have the user bend his or her
knees, and bring their legs up into the highest comfortable position
want to lay in while using the desk.
- Measure the distance from the
top of the hips to the top of the
knees. This is measurement C (height of
Get out the laptop
docking station that you will be using.
- Make sure that your
measurement. A (width of desk) is greater than the widest point of the
and/or docking station plus 2 inches. (If
you want to put a mouse pad beside the laptop, add the width of the
as well.) If this new measurement is
greater than the width of the user across the hips, it will replace
A (width of desk).
- Make sure that your
measurement C (height of knees) is greater than the deepest point of
and docking station combined, plus 3 inches.
If this new measurement is greater than the distance from the hips to
the knees, it will be measurement C1 (depth of desk).
measurement B (height above bed) to measurement C (height of
This is measurement D (length of legs). Note, don’t use C1 (depth
desk). It’s OK if the desk top extends
past the end of the legs, but you want the hinge to bend right about
knees do, for stability.
Step 2. Materials
- One piece of plywood with
dimensions A by C or C1 whichever is greater (desk top).
- Four pieces of 1 x 2
measuring D in length (legs).
- One piece of 1 x 2 measuring
A minus 2 inches in length (brace for back legs).
- One piece of 1 x 2 measuring
A minus 2 inches in length (front ledge).
- Two ¼ inch bolts, 2 ½ inches
- Two ¾ inch nylon washers
- Six 1 inch steel washers
- Two wing-nuts
- About eighteen screws or
Step 3. Assemble
- Center the front ledge
to one edge of the desk top, leaving one inch empty to the left and
right. Apply glue to the front ledge
and nail or screw from the back of the desk top through to the front
ledge, so the heads won’t show and so the user won’t have to rest his
her hands on anything rough or made of metal.
The glue-sealed seam is optional, but is useful to keep papers from
slipping through the crack.
- Drill a ¼ inch hole centered
in the ends of all four legs (hinges).
- Choose two of the legs
for the front. Mark measurement B
(height above bed) from one end.
(Alternatively, you can have the user lay down and assist you in
the most comfortable height for their body and arm position.)
- Align the desk top at
the line and nail or screw from the front, through to the legs.
Keep the legs as close to the edges
of the desk top as possible.
(There is an inch at right and left of the front ledge to allow
for the screws.)
- Bolt the back legs to the
inside of the front legs, using the nylon washers and wingnuts to
the hinges. File off and round the corners of the back legs
the hinge, to allow a full range of motion.
- Have the user lay down again,
with their knees bent and their legs pulled up into the highest
position they may want to lay in while using the desk. Mark a
place for the brace for back legs
at the lowest point possible, while allowing for the user’s
There’s really no way to measure for this,
you just have to set the desk in place and work with what you’ve got.
or screw the brace for back legs to the back legs, and you are
Step 4. Finishing Touches
- Finish and/or seal the wood.
- Mount the laptop docking
- Add velcro and cord loops, to
keep everything easy to reach and tidy.
- We filed away some of
the front ledge to make room for the PC’s power button.
is greater: width of user across hips OR
width of laptop + width of mousepad or peripherals
laptop + depth of docking station + 3 inches
B + C
laptop + docking station =