The Desk Volcano – Organise in Style

You know my shop. Care to take a guess at my desk? Well, it is not that bad, but still, I recently realized that I do not have any kind of organiser for pens and the like on it. That, and an idea on what to use an angle grinder for melted into this project. And since my desk usually looks like after a mild catastrophe had struck, I wanted to do it justice – with the desk volcano! Enjoy, and remember to be Inspired!

Material Choices

In the voiceover I mixed up MDF and particle bpard several times. So the question is, what materials can you use for this method of shaping? I have not tried them, so this is based on theoretical knowledge and experience from past projects:

  • MDF – I will mention this first since I mentioned it several times. From my experience, sanding MDF is not a nice experience, creating lots of nasty dust. Not only is your personal protection from that dust even more important here, but it is also likely that you will create a mess in your shop that will cause fond cleanup memories for days or weeks to come. Also, since MDF is pretty uniform, you have no texture to work with, and even if that is what you are going for, the glue lines might be that more visible and stand out in the finished piece.
  • OSB – Basically, this will probably work similar to particle board, just with a coarser texture and potentially more blowout and a rougher surface. I have no idea though how the glue in the OSB will affect the process, since there are some higher quality products out there these days.
  • Plywood – At first glance plywood might not be a good choice due to the hardness of the material – no matter where, there is always endgrain to sand (more or less), and the amount of glue is bound to make things even harder. But on the other hand, the layered structure of plywood would allow for some really neat textures (see Barkchiller), and the glue lines would vanish, too. The question that you have to answer for yourself is whether that is worth the investment – in material and time for sanding.
  • Solid Wood – Wood, that is untreated boards, might look like a good material at first glance, but in this application I would not recommend it compared to the other materials mentioned above. The main reason is the change in hardness depending on the grain flow, as well as, depending on the board, from one part of the wood to another. You might end up with an uneven surface because some areas sand easier than others, causing effects that you might not want. Also, the glue line is bound to show up. If you intend to paint the project, though, and want to use up some scraps, using solid wood might still be a valid option.

I hope that list helps you to decide on a material if you decide to do something similar yourself. If you do, please send me a picture, I would love to see what you make and share it, too!

Thanks for reading and watching, and remember to be Inspired!


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