Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jefferson's Desk

     This past weekend I popped into my favorite used bookstore in San Diego.  A few stores down is a small but quaint antique store. I decided to stop in and take a look.  It is packed -- jam packed -- with old signs, art, dressers and desks.  The items were all priced reasonably ("and an additional 10% off!" the owner said). I left empty handed and told them "I would be back with the boss" (i.e., my wife).

     They had a few nice wooden desks -- small and in fine condition.  The desks had a few drawers and were large enough to store a few pieces of paper and a pen or two, but their simple form and small size reinforced their primary purpose -- a surface to write on; not a land to get lost in.  It is a completely romantic notion, but I always wanted a desk like Jefferson's.  I had thought, probably from glancing at a picture of Jefferson's study in Monticello, that he had a slanted desk near his bookshelves.  Maybe even a stand-up desk.  What I didn't realize is that his desk -- or at least the one he used to write the Declaration of Independence on -- was a portable lap desk.

     The only concern with using a portable desk, which let's face it, this is the first laptop ever created (you can write on it and it stores stuff), is trying to take advantage of its portability by writing in front of the television (which you should never do).  I'm simply excited that while I may never find the perfect Jefferson writing desk at the local antique store,  I now know I can pay for the plans at Fine Woodworking magazine and just make it myself.

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