Installing A New Laminated Desk Countertop

I have specifically titled this entry “Installing A New Laminated Desk Countertop” on the off-chance it would help someone out there Googling this sort of thing.  For I could not find one worthwhile article out there to tell me how to install a laminate countertop, let alone installing one in the desk configuration I had tasked myself with this morning.  A couple of articles came close but they all basically said after removing old counter top install new one using old screw holes as a guide.  Well #1 – my counter is new, #2 – my counter has only one little cabinet on one end, and #3 my cabinet seemingly had no means by which to secure it to the countertop.  The counter was fabricated by a third-party that Lowes uses.  This particular desk counter was a solid 1-1/2″ of particle board with no apparent means to secure it except screw straight up into it from below.So I went to Lowes after church today and picked up some Stanley “L” brackets as well as, one each of a two foot and four-foot 1×2 poplar boards.  I figured god helps those who help themselves so I’d figure it out on my own.

I made a level line on the wall, even with the top of the cabinet. I also marked out all of the studs.

I leveled out a line where the bottom of the counter would go.  I then took my 1×2’s and mitered the ends where they’d meet.  I also mitered the end of the 18″ one that was to along the wing wall.  The idea is to attach these to the walls and they’d support the counter.  I predrilled everything….both the holes through the boards to attach them to the studs in the walls, and the holes that the screws for the countertop would pass through.

Predrilling and even preinstalling 2″ cabinet screws. through the flat side of the board to attach to wall. Through the skinny side of the board for the screws to attach the counter from below. Bonus points for countersinking.

I then attached the board to the wall.  Next I install some simple “L” brackets into the top rails of the base cabinet.  I’m not sure how else you’d secure the counter without using these “L” brackets.  The rails are thin but the screws that came with the brackets were only about 1/2″ so they didn’t pass through the front rails.  I put two brackets up front and one in the back.  When drilling the pilot holes, I put some tape on the drill bit to indicate how deep I could drill.  This way I drilled far enough to make installing the screws a piece of cake, but not too far that I passed through the cabinet face.

Wood supports in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

L brackets in place.

 

Once all the brackets were in place, the wife helped me hoist the 4′ wide countertop in place.  For whatever reason it fit like a charm.  Not sure what I did but the house gods gave me a little love today.  I then secured the cabinet from below using 2-1/2″ screws in the wood support rails and 1″ screws through the cabinet brackets.  The desk is now complete and looks great.  Best of all I have a place for my desktop computer and half of our “office” is complete.  This little nook is the perfect space and saved us money by allowing us to avoid dedicating one single room to being an office.  We can easily drop off mail, send emails, etc. from this one convenient little nook.

Detail of desk countertop secured from below.

completed office nook, I made this all by myself.

In the yard we’ve been busy getting ready for the new swingset.  I’ve spent the last few days clearing out a small area for the playset to go.  Originally the plan was for a 30′ x 30′ play area but this encroached too far into our preservation area so it’ll be more like 30′ wide and 20′ deep.  It will also be angled slightly differently to accommodate the natural terrain.  None the less I’ve had a lot of brush to clear and land to level by hand. In the process of weed whacking I tangled with poison ivy so now my legs are covered in an itchy red rash.  If that wasn’t enough I got it on my arms too.  This sucks.  I’ve put cream and lotions on and they help, but I couldn’t help but scratch it like crazy this morning in the Giant Eagle parking lot and it felt downright orgasmic.  I will not survive a couple more weeks with this rash.  Help me.

Area being cleared for playset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The playset area had some nice baby trees in it.  The guy from the playset sales office came out and laid out the location with flags so I’d know what to clear and how we could incorporate one of the little trees so I wouldn’t have to cut it down.  Unfortunately four other scrub trees would have to come down.  I decided to take a stab at moving them.  Wow, that’s the hardest I’ve ever worked.  I’ve moved two so far, one of which was a thorny little guy that any normal person would have chopped down.  I’ll get the other two in the coming week.  Random chest pains forced me to quit while I was ahead.

Thorny baby tree I transplanted.

I’m having some playground mulch delivered this week.  I’ll lay down about 5″ of it uniformly throughout the playset area.  The guys will then just build the set right on top of it.  Looking forward to the set.  We didn’t plan on getting it right away but the boys will love sliding and swinging.  Best to get it now while they are still young. And to prove I’m not a complete monster nor completely lazy, I’ll tell you what I woke up to.  Finally I’d gotten fast asleep despite my poison ivy.  The alarm rang too early for a Sunday so I dragged my ass out of bed, put in my contacts and looked out my window as I love to do in the morning.  There was a bird skating along the mesh fence around the raspberry bushes.  Back and forth he’d go.  I was wondering what he was up to….then it dawned on me.

Ugh.  I went and begrudgingly put on my shoes.  Opening the door to the pleasant morning air I walked across the porch, then down and around the corner.  Across the yard I trekked to find myself standing in front of my little feathered friend eyeing me.

“Seriously?” I said aloud.

He looked up at me, batting his glossy black eyes.

Shaking my head I grabbed the top of the appropriately named bird netting and wrestled it from the pronged stakes holding it in place. My friend skated back and forth as he had been for the last twenty minutes.  Eyeing me the whole time, his little feathers tossing this way and that….his disposition bordering half on fear the other half on embarrassment.

“Relax.” I said, slightly put out.

Chrip.  Chrip.  I release a foot more of the net fence.  Chirp.

He skates to the far end not so gracefully, his grey feathers all in a fluff.  All the grace he commands in the air is totally lost; tangled in this net.

“Alright…” I encourage him as the last of the fence is released.

His face is perplexed and he sideways glances at me towering six feet above his small grey body.

“Here…Go.”

Lifting the netting, nearly dumping him on his little bird ass he finally tastes his freedom and hops out.  His wings catch air before his feet ever touch the ground.  In a moment he rockets forward toward the small thorny tree I’d transplanted the day before and finds unlikely relief in its thorny branches before jetting onward; probably too embarrassed to hang out with his friends any time soon.

I saved a bird today.

Okay, okay the last bit is an embellishment, he didn’t fly to my transplant tree, which was twenty feet over my shoulder.   But I did save him and he did fly quite gracefully to a nearby tree. Life’s funny I guess.  If I hadn’t gotten up and looked out my window this morning and watched that bird fly into that fence and observed his futile attempts to get out who knows what would have happened.  I’m too damned busy and too damned itchy to contemplate what this says about our world, but there is something there, I’m sure of it.  And there’s one small grey bird who’s thrilled that I came around at 7:30 on a Sunday morning.

There’s a couple handfuls of things I’ve done that I think are pretty cool….and they are things that most other people wouldn’t even consider noteworthy.  For me though I guess I’m just wired differently.  My bird moment was pretty cool.  Transplanting a thorny “throw away” tree ain’t too bad either.

Here’s to all the truly “cool” stuff you do in your life.

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