I’ve been watching Marc’s videos for the last few months, and find them very enjoyable. I watched Part 1 of the gadget station last night, and what you’re working on is very much like a project I built for myself earlier in the spring.
Back in the old days, Stickley built a desk called the #706. It’s a small secretary-type desk, and the top of it is basically a gadget station with a drop down door for a laptop (like your first station, but this one has a better way for supporting the door). For somebody who wants a gadget station but also needs a small desk for a laptop, it’s perfect. That’s what I use mine for.
The desk itself was built entirely with hand tools…vintage panel and back saws, hand planes (most vintage, but a few new Lie-Nielsen and Veritas planes), and chisels (short chisels are Ashley Isles, long chisels are mostly vintage). The top and bottom shelf are attached to the sides using hand cut wedged through-mortises. The back is ship lapped pine boards. The door utilized haunched mortise-and-tenon joinery with floating solid panels. I will admit to using a random orbit sander to get the inside of the door perfectly level though, but I did get it pretty close with just hand planes. :) I finished the desk with shellac…something like 18 coats padded on.
It’s built with clear pine. I’m a total hand tool person so quartersawn oak was not going to happen (original Stickleys in QS oak looks AMAZING though). One pic is when it was brand new and one is with the adjustable shelving system I built for it. Devices that need charging sit in the middle (iPod, cellphone, etc.), and the side shelving is wide enough to accommodate CD/DVD storage. When not in use, the laptop stands on edge and leans back against the shelves…it tilts backwards slightly so it won’t fall out.
You’ll see that the door’s pivot location is about 1/4 from the bottom, so the shelf in the desk actually supports the door when it’s open (better than using mechanical supports). Overall, I’m really happy with it.