How To Make Keyboard Trays Into Shelves

Ergonomic experts love keyboard trays. The rest of the world is far more split; some folks like having the keyboard and mouse slide out from under their desks, while others just find it annoying to bump their knees into the trays.

In the office where I work, the latter sentiment has become dominant. I think the desks are a bit shorter than most, so the trays hang down even closer to the ground than usual.

Keyboard tray

It may look innocent, but it’s hell on the thighs.

On about half the desks, the keyboard trays have been removed entirely, leading to a pile of metal and wood in the IT closet. I decided these supplies were too good to go to waste, and some small shelving units would be easy enough to construct.

I tried to come up with a way to make the existing holes in the metal supports work, but came up empty. Because the supports would obviously be turned vertical instead of horizontal, nothing lined up nicely. Still, those two bits jutting out on each arm sure looked like nice shelf supports. So I got out the drill.

Messy 1/2-inch hole

Yes, my tetanus shot is current, Mom.

That’s a rather messy 1/2-inch hole. All it does is allow me to access the much neater 1/8-inch hole I drilled in the other side of each metal support, through which a single screw went into the pre-drilled holes at each of the wood planks’ four corners. The screws were also part of the tray assembly; in fact, I used no parts that weren’t part of the original assembly, and the only pieces I did not use were the ball bearing arms that allowed the trays to slide out from under the desks.

Finished keyboard tray shelves

Admiral! There be shelves here!

There’s a touch of wobble to this unit, but as you can see, it does not immediately collapse when items are placed on it. That’s about as much as I could hope for.

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