The Ultimate Lap Desk

IMG_20130717_092504My granddad was one of those men you’d call handy. If something needed to be fixed, he fixed it. If you wanted something, but couldn’t find it in the store, he built it, or made it, or jerry-rigged it. Sometimes I wonder what my writing career would be like without him.

When I am in a period of intense revision — like I am now — I print out my manuscript. Then I go over the pages with my favorite pen in my hand, my laptop in front of me, and a revision notebook beside me. And when I am doing this, I am sitting in a comfortable chair somewhere… not always at my house… with one of granddad’s creations. I call it the Ultimate Lap Desk. And I don’t know what I’d do without it.

My grandfather made it for his mother, my great grandmother,  because he couldn’t find a lap desk that she could use comfortably. She was probably approaching ninety at the time, and any desk that simply sat on her lap was not stable enough to hold a dinner plate, or a crossword puzzle. So he made one that would fit across the arms of her favorite chair.

Eventually, my mother ended up with it. I found it in a closet when I was in college and kind of …quietly acquired it. It was great for writing papers then, and it’s great for writing books now! Every book I’ve written, (those sold and unsold) has been composed, at least partially, on top of that desk.

The beauty of this lap desk it is that unlike the ones you can purchase, this one offers SPACE. Almost as much space as a real desk.  And it fits across the arms of almost any chair (excepting those gigantic armchairs that can fit two or three people.) And since it stores vertically, it doesn’t collect papers and other junk (like my other desk which is usually so cluttered I can’t really use it) !

My real desk after my last revision. Please don't look too closely! But it's too funny not to share. See why I rely on the lap desk?

My real desk after my last revision. Please don’t look too closely! But it’s too funny not to share. See why I rely on the lap desk?

I did an on-line search for lap desks and couldn’t find anything comparable. The are all fairly small. So after deciding that I didn’t have time to market a new, super-useful product, I decided to write a post about this one. Maybe one of you will have the spirit of entrepreneurship and decide to make these available for everyone. Whether you’re a writer, a worker of crossword puzzles, an artist, or a player of solitaire… this is a great thing to have around.

And if you’re handy… you can make one! Here are the dimensions. Mine is made from 1/4″ plywood that has been sanded and coated with poly (Actually, I’m pretty sure graddad used shellac), so the surface is fairly smooth.

Want to make your own? Here is is, plain and simple. Dimensions: 32" wide 18 1/4 " deep 1/4" thick 3 1/4" at deepest point of semicircle cutout

Want to make your own? Here is is, plain and simple.   Dimensions:
32″ wide
18 1/4 ” deep
1/4″ thick
3 1/4″ at deepest point of semicircle cutout

Don’t you want one of these? Well, whether you do or not, happy writing, or drawing, or playing solitaire, or doing whatever you do!


A note to our followers: With travel, and writing, it has been a slow July, but we have a great interview with an unusual giveaway planned to post soon! Also, thank you all for the many views and comments on last week’s post. It is still surreal for my family, but your commments meant a lot.  Kami

11 comments on “The Ultimate Lap Desk

  1. rnewman504 says:

    Your granddad sounds a lot like my grandpa. Mine was an electrical engineer and everything in his apt. had been retrofitted for his needs. When he was in his 80s and he had a hard time walking and hearing, he installed no less than six or seven telephones just in the living room. There was one on either side of the sofa, the desk, the coffee table and so on. It doesn’t take much to imagine how loud it was when the phone finally rang.

    By the way, you intrigued me with your revision notebook? Do you just keep notes for revisions in it? How do you use it? I jot things down pretty much everywhere.

    Terrific post! And good luck with your revisions.

    • kamikinard says:

      Thanks Robin,

      Can’t beat granddads like that! Re: revision notebook… this is something that has evolved for me because being organized does not come naturally to me.
      (See above photo of my real desk.) So now when I start a new project, I start a new notebook. Always Picadilly, always large. That way all of my notes for one project are in one place. Then when I start a revision, I get a new notebook (the first one or two are full by then anyway.) So I keep all revision notes in this notebook. This one is almost full, but since I am in the CE stage, I think I can make it! I used to keep all notes from dif projects in the same notebook, but my new system is much better for me. 🙂

  2. rnewman504 says:

    Thanks for the info re the revision notebook. . . I might end up doing that. Organization is not one of my strengths.

  3. Nancy says:

    Love this post. I have a love of Daddys and Grandaddys who can fix anything, and I too have….quietly acquired a few things along the way.

  4. gmom67 says:

    Great ideas are sometimes the simplest -thank you for this post, the memory, and the practical solution. Now, if I could work our jigsaw, I’d be in business! Sincerely, Gail

    Gail Hedrick Author of Something Stinks! Spring 2013 Tumblehome Learning Home (941) 746-9703 Cell (941)720-5471


  5. So utterly perfect–Your Granddad and the desk. ❤

    • kamikinard says:

      Thanks Kim! It’s a good thing…. And my granddad was too, of course! So happy to still have some of his handiwork around.

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