Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Extensive Ivar Hack: Workstation & Micro-foyer
Materials: Ivar shelving, lumber (luan, pine plank, molding), various mending plates, L-brackets, handtools (saw, screwdrivers), power tools (circular saw, drill, Dremel).
Description: My flat is rather small and I have a large computer workstation so maximizing space and being able to integrate work and living space is important to me. Also, from the outside, the flat's front door opened into my living room. If the front door was open there wasn't much privacy and too much gear would be potentially on display for my taste. This Ivar hack solved these two issues for me.
The "smart" side of the hack provides adequate ergonomic space for my workstation and the "dumb" side works to create a micro-foyer. By adding a "ceiling" above the smart side I was able to create some space to keep the gear I'm not using on any particular project nearby.
This is a big, multi-day, project for those with intermediate "home improvement" experience. For those with several years of intermediate experience I don't think this hack should present any challenges not encountered before but there are a couple of areas where calling on a friend for an hour or so of their time to assist is a good idea.
The unit is mostly standard Ivar shelving & cabinets. Ikea discontinued their corner shelves so I had to go to my local home improvement store for lumber that I cut to size and secured to the adjacent shelves with mending plates and to the Ivar vertical supports with L-brackets. Brackets and mending plates are used to secure the "ceiling" and elsewhere, throughout, for structural reinforcement. Where necessary and appropriate, shims were used during leveling.
To create the micro-foyer I used luan and standard molding to construct a "flat" or fake wall. The fake wall is two parts, a top panel and a bottom panel, with their seam hidden behind molding. In order to access the back of my equipment and patchbay, the upper fake wall panel is hinged at the top and the lower panel is completely removed. When closed the two panels are secured in place with screws & bolts at the corners and 3M Dual Lock attached to the Ivar vertical supports along the edges.
It's important to use angle brackets for reinforcement during assembly and, as always with any shelving unit, judiciously distribute the weight among the shelves after completion. This amount of pine will noticeably contract and expand with the weather as it continues to cure (most Ikea pine pieces I've assembled seemed to finish curing over time) and the extra reinforcement helps mitigate the potential for going catawampus. If you live in earthquake country and secure it to a wall make sure there is some give; the straps included with the Ivar units, when properly secured to a properly assembled unit, should be enough.
Everything associated with wood working and "home improvement" apply to this hack: measure twice (or more), cut once, use the proper (quality) tool for the task at hand, give yourself enough time and be realistic about the time it takes to complete. I used an accurate carpenter's level throughout. When measuring and cutting the luan I used a carpenter's chalk line. I also used hand tools for most of this. When using wood screws on the Ivar vertical supports use a hand screwdriver to avoid splitting, even when screwing into predrilled starter holes.