Making Old Desks New at PADT

By: David Mastel
– October 26, 2015
Categories:
  • whiteboard-desks-icon1It has been a long time since I have written any articles. I thought to get me back into the flow of writing and share a recent fun project that I completed at work, where I was able to reuse and re-purpose abandoned 20-year-old office desks. The issue started out as a frustration related to note-taking and I wanted something better. What is my frustration, how did it start? It was started by simple pet peeve of my own. I do not like using paper to jot down quick ideas, thoughts or a to-do on! I write numerous quick notes down during my day at work.

    Some examples of my daily office dilemma:

  • Rapid fire phone calls that can bounce my phone off the desk.
  • I just have to jot something down less than a single sentence down.
  • A conference call occurs I need to capture a couple quick thoughts down because I am such a great active listener and don’t want to interrupt.
  • Even sketching out a quick design for a new CUBE HPC cluster or workstation.

My whys may not be your whys and I feel like it is a time & resource waste! You might too especially when I the thoughts go something like this.

Should I:

  • Use a new piece of paper to write quick notes on? Nope
  • Find the special square colored sticky things? Nope
  • Dig through the paper recycling bin and get strange looks from my co-workers? Nope
  • Cut my own square colored sticky note things? Nope
  • I can’t seem to find a pen, open a brand new box of pens? Nope
  • Take your notes on the electronic device of your choosing, okay which one phone, laptop, and/or tablet or how about use that conference room computer? Then I end up having quick notes and scribbles EVERYWHERE!
  • Sigh…

I hope those points made you laugh and frames a picture that I was not in my comfort zone. I knew what I wanted. I had used the same note taking process for years. Probably every day I would use my two whiteboards to write quick notes on. Whiteboards worked for me, I loved my whiteboards and life was good. What happened and where the frustration occurred was that I had four office desk moves over a time span of a year at PADT, Inc. Guess what happened the new office areas did not have whiteboards in them!

Here is a picture of a bunch of abandoned desks here at PADT, Inc. I walk past desks like these every day. Then during the office moving a thought occurred to me that maybe I could use paste or mat whiteboard type surface to them and make a whiteboard type desk?

whiteboard-desks-01I figured that someone had already thought of the idea already and remembered about a business trip that I took to California this past year. I remember walking through the insides of startup lab office building. You could feel the venture capital money pulsing through the office walls. This office building environment was sophisticated and exciting. What did I notice? I am sure you can think of some good examples. Haha, but what I found fascinating was groups of people collaborating with dry-erase markers in hand and notes scribbled over entire sections of walls. On huge conference room tables I even saw that large sections of glass walls where used. Boom! I had my solution.

I did my research and this is what I used.

The primer & the solution:

The cost:

  • About $50 and a few hours of time
    • One package of the dry erase can do about 3-4 coats for a 30 sq ft area, or about two thick coast on two desks.

The steps:

  1. Lightly sand the top until smooth.
  2. Clean the top of the desk.
  3. Mask the ends of the table
  4. Apply coat of primer
  5. Apply the solution
    1. After the third or fourth coat is on, wait 3 days for use.

The results:

whiteboard-desks-02 whiteboard-desks-03 whiteboard-desks-04

Do It!

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