Desks have changed more during my woodworking career than almost any other common piece of furniture, with the possible exception of TV cabinets. The main reason, of course, is that the way people use desks has changed. The desk where I am currently working is smaller than what I formerly used, has fewer drawers, and has a long shelf surface at the back, a kind of parapet, for computer monitors.

Structurally, desks are similar to tables, with many of the same issues and opportunities. The further we move into the digital age, the more the difference between a desk and a table seems to shrink. The fundamental requirement of a desk is a work surface, and it may be that physical storage in drawers will become a minor element. I have made a couple of stand-up desks, excellent for sufferers of low back pain and people tired of the sedentary life.

Chairs, on the other hand, haven’t changed much. Functional chair design remains the eternal quest for the chair that is comfortable and remains so as you sit. The arched chair shown here has been made in two versions, each of which has its partisans, and several recent benches shown here have also been successful. The benches turn out to be very versatile pieces of furniture, which can double as occasional tables and move around the room as needed.


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