Desk thing! A project I'm making for Gena
Because this is likely our last Christmas off the boat, I wanted to do something special for Georgena. Over the years I have known her, she has become increasingly hard to buy for. ( I'm sure all of you around my age know what I'm talking about!)

A great solution is to make something with ones own hands, like people did 100 years ago -although that was because people didn't have a lot of money back then. So far it has been a humbling experience as it is a lot of work making something that is useful, has moving parts, and looks good - especially on the "sly" !

Gena is an avid reader (no not only of this site ha!) and likes history and geography as well as writing, when (if) she has the time and energy. I have made her a very nice ( so far ) desk on the boat, so what better to put on it than a desktop thingy. I'm not sure what to call it outside of an ornament even though it must have pen holders, a box for stuff like erasers, pencil leads (she still uses those!) as well as a lamp for reading charts, books and a globe for a nice balance.

 
I took the project on having never done anything like this before, not to mention the men in my life (dad, x-boyfriends etc) never really had anything to do with wood. So don't laugh when you see the results, an elf I ain't!

December 3rd:

The above pictured pieces I gathered at Windsor plywood and modified to magically become (left to right) a pen holder, a paperclip holder( film container), a base for the pen holder, and a pivot for the LED lamp. (Pictured right)

 
Not very creative, and it is different from the Maya 3d visualization I had below, but a few enhancements have been made after some thought on the theme of this ornament. Size is also an issue. I didn't want it to take up too much space on her desk or she may not like it. Everything must be fairly packed together, be functional, but still look nice and ornamental.
The lamp, made from 12 SMD style white leds I mounted on a tiny PC board, must be "dimmable" so a potentiometer will be disguised as a cute steering wheel on a pedistal.
   
Because Christmas is fast approaching, ordering anything seems to get muffed up, as such has been the case here.
I required some brass tubing for the lamp, and rather than drive into the city to buy it, it was easier (and cheaper!!) to just get a courier to pick it up. I ordered the materials and called the courier. The first time he went, the order wasn't there for some reason, the second time the salesman was "out" and the third time the courier's knowledge of English was blamed. When he arrived he only had a slight accent to me....but ok, after much ado, the parts arrived. (Right)

Brass isn't maintenance free, requires frequent polishing, and isn't as strong or bright as stainless. But with wood, it looks just marvelous! Kind of old world don't you think? The reason I had selected tubing over rod was to run wire inside that will be hidden completely.

Order muff-up #2
After searching Canadian websites (US shipping would arrive 2 weeks after Christmas) for a small globe I came upon a globe that resembled, well size-wise, the one I had envisioned. It's an antique style globe with a diameter of only 4". Perfect! While on the site, I found a very nice software that would be great to have, at only $289 to go with the $15 globe, so ordered that as well.

When it arrived I was shocked to see they had not only sent the wrong software, but also the wrong globe!

Here's hoping this gets straightened out in time. There's only 5 business days left!

I decided to try laying everything out on the board just to see how it would look.(below) Hmmm. Not sure. I suppose the pens should go on the right, as Gena is right-handed.
 
Positions of pieces.    _December 12th^^
Up to December 23rd below(text coming!!)
 
The lamp head must have a wire running through but still be able to pivot >90 so a "channel" must be routed out. I am using satellite radio antenna wire so it's fairly tough stuff. The edges from the tube must be smoothed so the wire doesn't get snipped off when it reaches the end.

After bolting the pivot together, it ran pretty stiff so I punched holes in some thin plastic (packaging from my dremel he he) and cut it like a large washer. These were then used as spacers which made it run smoother but still stiff enough to hold the weight of the head assembly.

The bolt's head and nut are covered be mushroom inserts. One on the nut side is glued  in but the other isn't so it can be popped off if the bolt needs tightening over time.

The tubing was screwed and glued (not shown) to stop it from twisting. I had to be careful to offset the screws on the side where the wire is so it wouldn't end up with a hole in it!

While at work, I made the little board that holds 12 SMD type LEDs, and the regulator design for about 9 volts down to 1.5 volts. The diagram shows the circuit. It's important the input and outputs are filtered with capacitors. I used the SMD caps to keep it compact.

Head of lamp>>>

The photo below shows just how compact! I have routed a hole for it to go inside, and cut a 1" x 1.5" brass plate to cover it. Little rubber feet will hold the whole thing about 3/16" off a desk so sinking the plate and screws isn't necessary.

I have added a decorative "railing" in front of the box that originally was to be a pen holder slot. Made from brass rod, it really adds to the overall look of it. Also it can be used to hold things like a post-it book, or receipts etc.
 

After gluing the compass into its little slot, then the guard around the pedestal, the lid on the box was removed and routed for a thermometer. ( found in one of those survival pocket knife style items )

It took a long time for the glue to dry under the globe, and probably still isn't dry now. So to be safe, a carefully drilled screw into the plastic base to make sure it didn't fall off while under the tree ha ha!

 

 

I'm not super impressed with the quality of the globe. The plastic seems to be brittle. Of course, the minute I pulled the globe out of the box, I butterfingered it and it crashed to the floor, breaking both pins off as well as the stand from the base. Good thing there are really good glues these days!

There was still enough of the pins left that I could glue the caps back on and all is well again. Getting that globe was such a frustrating experience and then I break it. Jeez!!

   
Well there it is, done and ready for wrapping!

The light is definitely enough to read by. In the photos, the whole area is being lit by the lamp as I had drawn the shades.

I bought some colorful erasers, pencils, a cute matching notepad, and fancy paper clips ( in the film case) as accessories.

Hope she likes it. If not, damn I'll take it for my desk!!

 

 

To be continued to Christmas Day :
It's the 24th and it's under the tree. YAY!!!!


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