Sunday, 27 April 2008

My Desk

In January, some friends came for the weekend and helped us finish painting the den. (Good friends eh?! No, you can't have their number.)

Now it's carpetted, and thanks to Billy (of Ikea) there are, at last, lots of shelves for books (which have been in boxes since we moved in seven years ago...).

Next we need a desk. We want a corner desk, and want it to look like a piece of furniture, not something from an office. Looking round the shops, there's not as much choice if you want a corner desk. In the shops, the best we saw was a solid ash desk and matching two drawer filing cabinet, in the January sales for £700. But it wasn't really big enough.

I went to a local shop that sells rosewood and ash furniture, and got talking to the owner. He explained that he gets the furniture made in China, then ships it over in containers. I explained what I was looking for, and he said that if I drew a sketch of what I wanted, he could give me a price. The only downside was that I'd have to wait months for the item to be made (including two weeks just for polishing!), then wait for the next shipment, which only happens every three months. Also, I wasn't that keen on the style of the furniture (too many ridges and twirly bits).

But the idea of designing exactly the desk I wanted and then getting someone to make it seemed like it might be a solution, so I pulled out my trusty Sketchup, and started modelling. And here's the result:

Next I googled for someone to make it, and found a furniture-maker in our village, who by coincidence also uses Sketchup. I sent an email explaining that I didn't expect I'd be able to afford a piece of bespoke furniture, but just in case could I have a ballpark figure, and attached the sketchup file. Later the same day I received quite a long email in reply, explaining how the edging would be done and one or two other details, and quoting a price of £1300. That's probably a very reasonable price, but it was way over budget.

Having designed the desk, I felt as though I'd done half the work already. So I decided to make it myself. I hadn't, it turns out, done half the work already, but it felt like I had at the time.

My wife just rolled her eyes when I told her. I thanked her for her words of encouragment. What's the saying say about the woman behind every successful man? Nothing about rolling eyes I suspect. Anyway, she has a point - my ratio of ideas to output is a little high (approaching infinity, in fact).

It was going to be quite an undertaking, I admit, but I had a cunning plan to bring it from the realms of Outer Space and down to planet Earth...