Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 6, Issue 6
   July 2012
   Adjustable Laptop Stand

  Adjustable laptop stand
  This stand features a height-adjustable wooden hinge that supports the laptop.
My laptop is handy for occasional portable use, but using it at a desk for any length of time does unpleasant things to my neck, plus its wires trap my coffee cups. Placing it on a stack of phone books or a commercial stand and using it with a separate keyboard and mouse is an option, but it's not usually nice to look at. I wanted a more elegant design.

André Roubo's description of an 18th century folding bookstand incorporated a hinge design that was used in Koran stands dating back to at least the 14th century. The bookstand was the subject of an inspiring article by Roy Underhill in the February 2011 edition of Popular Woodworking Magazine. There is a plan for a simplified version on Roy's website (www.woodwrightschool.com) made from a single plank of wood, marked out and carved with a chisel to create hinge barrels. The gaps between the barrels are drilled and cut through with a coping saw blade, and the edge is rip sawn as far as the barrels to make a wonderful wooden hinge.

As an experiment, I made a five-barrel wooden hinge from a 3/4" thick pine offcut. It was too short for a bookstand, but it worked so well I had to find something to do with it. My solution was to make it the focus of an Arts & Crafts style laptop stand.

A base frame supports the wooden hinge, which in turn supports a platform for the laptop. The hinge acts like a scissor jack; a screw mechanism, worked by turning a knob at the front of the base, raises and lowers the platform. The frame's feet allow cables to pass underneath.

The platform is slightly larger than the laptop by 1/4" around. I made the base frame wide enough to allow room for the plugs and cables and to prevent them from being knocked if the unit is moved sideways.

Brass hinges attach the wooden hinge flaps to the back of the platform and to the front of the frame. The top front flap and rear base flap are unattached, but bear on the underside of the platform and on the top of the base frame rails to keep the platform parallel to the base frame. I used through dovetails and reverse ogee profiles on the feet to give the stand an Arts & Crafts style. The range for the stand height was calculated using books for shims. I also tested the strength of the wooden hinge by placing a small anvil, more than twice the laptop's weight, on it overnight.
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