02-01-2011 11:29 AM
Please help. Need some advice on converting a desk drawer into a keyboard drawer. I want to take the front off the drawer and put some hinges and magnets so it folds down when in use. I'm a bookkeeper not a carpenter
02-01-2011 01:57 PM - edited 02-01-2011 01:58 PM
Hello MJSAVE and welcome to The Community! We are glad to have you here!
This project is not hard to do, but it will require some measuring and analysis on your part. How old is the desk, how is it constructed, and is it part of a furniture collection? Since there are many types of desks and ways to manufacture them, I want to give you some general advice on how to make this conversion. For best results, I recommend taking the entire drawer to the store and asking a knowledgeable hardware associate to help you “engineer” the project since size and box style will be the most important elements in converting this drawer.
Before you start, be sure to use proper eye protection when working with power tools. First you will need to remove the desk drawer from the rails. Remove the front of the drawer by either cutting it off with a saw or unscrewing it from the rest of the drawer. (This will depend upon the construction of the drawer box.) If you are cutting off the drawer, be sure to sand the cut end to maintain a clean front and apply a clear coat to protect the surface.
NOTE: Several years ago, I decided to remove my desk’s drawer front to create a keyboard drawer and I was able to simply use the magnets to keep the drawer front in place when the keyboard was not in use. I did not have to worry about hinge alignment since I was “hinge-less.”
If you decide to use hinges, then hinge placement is next. There is an excellent Project Guide in our How-To Section that details how to work with hinges. Without knowing what type of desk you have, I recommend a piano hinge which will have a minimal effect on the profile of the drawer. The piano hinges sold at my store are 36” in length, so it would need to be cut down with a hacksaw.
Depending upon the width of the box, you may be able to use a cabinet hinge or a fold-down hinge. But hinge placement is where the project gets interesting. If you place the hinge on the lower section of the front of the drawer box, how far down will the drawer front sag? If you place the hinge on the upper section of the front of the drawer box, will the drawer shut completely? (This is why I recommended taking the drawer to the store and talking to a hardware associate before starting the project.)
Once the hinge question has been answered, it is time for the magnets. Open the drawer front and place magnets on the left and right side upper portion of the inside drawer front to match up with the “cut” ends of the drawer. This will help keep the drawer in place when not in use.
Now you will need to drill a hole for the keyboard cable. Again remove the drawer. I like to make a large hole (relative to the size of the wire) so you can get the connector through the hole and move the keyboard around easily. (I don’t sit still!) You will need to drill the hole with respect to the location of the rails. If your drawer has rails on the bottom, drill a hole in the bottom of the drawer away from the rails on the side closer to the computer. If the drawer has rails on the side, you will need to drill a hole on the back of the drawer and possibly through the back of the desk. You can install a cable grommet for a finished look.
Slide the drawer onto the rails to make sure that all is operating properly. Then insert the keyboard cable through the hole. Now you should be ready for the upcoming tax season!
Please let us know how things turn out and we would love to see photos of your finished drawer.
I am a Home Depot Store Associate, trained and authorized to help people on the Internet.
04-15-2011 10:26 PM - last edited on 04-21-2011 11:20 AM by HomeDepotTia
Hi, I was Just looking through this section trying to get some ideas for a project myself. I have never tried to convert a desk drawer into a keyboard drawer, But I can definatly help you with your problem. After reading the home depot person's advice I noticed a problem with it. when your putting hinges into the bttom of the front of the desk you will be screwing into that thin wood that they ise to make the bottom of most drawers. This will seem like it works up until you rest your wrist on the open drawer front. a good idea to fixthis issue would be to epoxy a thin but sturdy piece of wood to the bottom of the desk drawer befor taking it apart. Then after the board is dried you can use a hand saw to cut down the front of the drawer. Normally I would say a use a sawzall but i you mentioned you dont have much experience so I would saw use a pipe metal saw it has a high bar that will fit over the edge of the drawer. then you can use small wood working screws and a dab of the same glue or epoxy to hold the hinge in place. After placing the hinge pick up a gel wrist rest at five below and epoxy that into the inside of the drawer. The weight of the gel pad will hold the drawer in place instead of a magnet. it will also make the inside of the drawer look nice for the most part the inside is not stained to match the out side. before screwing the hing in drill a small hole half the size of the screw to avoide cracking the dry wood that the desk is made of. This job willl be cheap and easy to do. i would say it will cost you no more then 20$ for the whole thing. drill a small hole in the back of the drawer so you can send the wire through the back.
as you have read i am not a carpender, but i've been called a handyman. I can give you some advice next time you come to a job or a project that you need advice on don't go to home depot support your local businesses go to your local family owned hardware store, and just ask the employees. I have found that they can answer any questions you have, and they don't have to look it up or call a manager, they just know their stuff. I hope this has helped you and enformed you. I dont know exactly how this blog thing works so if you have any problems or questions email me directly so put something like desk drawer in the subject. he emails are sent to my phone so i can get back to you in like a half hour so if you have any problems or questions arise during the project just email me, and i will give more advice.