A computer armoire will keep your computer close by, and let you hide it away within an attractive piece of furniture when you are not using it. Construction plans for computer armoires are available on the Internet and in woodworking books. Building one yourself can save money and let you create a piece specific to your computing needs and home decor.
Choose Armoire Plans for Function
Choose plans that match the way you will use your computer. A gamer may want space for a large monitor, while people who use their computers primarily for email or paying bills may be content with a small monitor. In general, laptop users will not require as much room as desktop users will need. However, if laptop users choose to build a computer armoire, it probably means they need a dedicated workspace and somewhere to house their peripheral equipment.
Inside the armoire, the plans should provide for a desk height shelf where the keyboard or laptop will rest. The keyboard shelf should be wide enough to hold a keyboard with space to maneuver a mouse. Check that the plans call for the monitor screen to be roughly at eye level and between 18 to 30 inches from your eyes, as suggested by Princeton University’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety.
Older plans may assume that you are using a CRT monitor. CRT monitors are bulkier and heavier than the flat screen monitors which dominate the market today. These plans will leave you with an armoire with a bigger footprint than you may need.
Check the plans to see where your CPU will rest. You need easy access to turn the computer on and off and to reach the input and output jacks. However, it is very dangerous for the CPU to rest on a high shelf. Lightweight printers or scanners can go on a top shelf; but place heavy equipment on a bottom shelf.
Choose Armoire Plans for Style
Many plans claim the armoire will match any home’s décor. Only you can decide which style will actually fit your home’s style. Do-it-yourself woodworkers, who are adept with a router, can add decorative features to a plain design. Anyone can reduce the number of adornments called for by the plans.
You can find free plans online by Popular Mechanics (http://www.popularmechanics.com/home_journal/woodworking/1273126.html) or for a fee at sites such as Wood Projects (http://www.woodprojects.com/IW-34.html) or Plans Now(http://www.plansnow.com/compcabws.html).
The look and feel of the wood is the single biggest factor in determining the overall quality of the finished armoire. For instance, pine will create a different impression than western red cedar. Some types of wood are easier to work than other types. Some wood species are naturally stronger and require fewer additional supports. Gold Country Woodworks provides an informative comparison of wood types, which considers both the aesthetic and strength properties of popular wood types. Only those who are very well versed in wood properties should switch up from the computer armoire plan’s specifications. It is best to choose a plan for your computer armoire that specifies a type of wood you are willing and able to use.
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