Desk mounted keyboard tray

You know those handy trays that they have on premade desks? I was wondering if it's possible to buy one, and attach it to your own desk. See, I'm using the old 'two-filing-cabinets-and-a-door' desk, and I love it. But it would be better with one of those under desk keyboard trays.

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you bet!

go to office depot web site and search for keyboard tray - there were quite a few listed and one of them was under $20! Sounds like a cool desk - I have been wanting to do that! I have the door and the file cabinets, but am short on space right now. I will have to wait until my next house!

happy shopping,
nay nay



Yeah, I'm probably going to have to get rid of the filing cabinets I currently use, but I like my set up, and plan to use the same set up after I (finally) move out.

Desk mounted keyboard tray

Good ones are $$$. Be careful with the cheesy plastic ones that clamp on. Mine kept falling off. I finally got something called a desktop keyboard drawer - basically a box that the monitor sits on and the keyboard slides in and out of the box on a tray. Much better.

Lisa P.


Yeah, I figured that I'd have to shell out the mo-lah for it. But that's ok with me, if it means saving space on my desk. :D

Besides, it the money evens out, since the only real money I'll have to spend is on good filing cabinets, and the keyboard tray. Which will most likely end up being a lot less than if I actually bought an entire desk.

Keyboard drawer...

What I did when my company had some custom built in desks installed in our new building was keep checking the clearance shelves at CompUSA,OfficeMax,Staples, and Office Depot in my area and after about 2 weeks I caught CompUSA selling the nice $50 sliding tray for $10 each... I bought all 6 of them that they had. These often end up in the clearance bin, specifically if you want the version w/o the extended area for a mouse. I prefer my mouse on the desk anyway rather than in the tray.

As for filing cabinets, I'd keep a lookout for small business liquidation sales or government auctions, as the units sold there are strong and high quality for continual use... I have been shopping for a vertical file at the local staples/Office depot and even their top end units are crap, and feel too lightweight for my uses. I lucked up 2-3 years ago and was able to buy 2 two drawer fireproof filing cabinets from a local bank that was moving to a smaller building along with some other office furniture. It made it a lot cheaper to fit out my home office, and they are a great base for a desk as they are heavy and wont slide around.

In regular steel units, I look out for steelcase,han, and other good brands though the Han units at staples did not strike me as top of the line.

Also, I have gotten some real bargains in the "dump" area of used office furniture stores around town... The stuff in their main showroom is always too expensive for my budget, but if you look around their is always a back room or warehouse that you can walk through and look at less expensive items or items that are not complete... Last time I went looking, I found an awesome corner desk, that was designed as an add on corner unit for a larger system (which they did not have) but the corner unit was perfect for me and my space giving me an L shape of 3 feet turn 90 deg. then 6 feet, with a 30" depth... this thing was built like a tank with a 1 1/2" thick MDF top with woodgrain veneer and plastic edging and cost me $110!! Let me tell you that the guy showed me a catalog with this unit pictured priced at $450 new and my unit was hardly even used! You just have to have time to get out and hunt around ( I often just stop on my way home from work for a quick look) as most dealers get shipments weekly.

If you want to fabricate your own drawer to your exact specs... shop an industrial computer vendor or pro audio store for 19" rack rails... these are heavy gauge and use ball bearings for smooth action even when loaded up to 100 lbs... they come in different lengths an would easily mount to your door with matching L brackets of the correct size to match the holes... Buy the 1 U size which will hang down about 1 3/4" or so... they come in different excursion lengths and you can fab up your own custom tray out of whatever... good opportunity to customize your setup:)

I have always liked the idea of the door desk ever since I saw my neighbors setup a few years back... I think it is neat that it already has a hole cut to pass monitor and keyboard cables through and you can get a good solid core wood door from a real hardware store as a 2nd or from a job site where they screwed one up and the inspector said to replace it...I've paid as little as $10 for an oak or maple fire rated door if it had a gash in one side or something (and who cares as you just turn it down and forget it:)

Have fun with your project!!


Build your own?

That sounds perfect...but I'm not that handy. I wonder if there's some sort of tutorial on this online somewhere...

Online info...

If you don't care if it moves in and out, you can buy a fixed keyboard shelf from Middle Atlantic Products, here: part number(FWS) should run about $20 thru a dealer.

They also have a sliding shelf that takes up 1 3/4 RU and comes either with or without a new keyboard... Either Model KB-SS (without) or RM-KB (Keyboard Included)

See the KB-SS here: link

It is too expensive, IMHO, considering you can find rack rails for 10-15 bucks each and build your own shelf form a wooden plank, but you get the picture... There unit say it will hold 50+ pounds and still roll well so it is a tank:)

Take it for what its worth... My shelf from CompUsa is made of plastic and never broke yet... but I have used these Mid-Atlantic units at work for years and you could sit on it and not break it if it was bolted on well. I have many times picked these up with the keyboard and trackball installed for about $35 or so on EBAY or as leftovers after big jobs I was involved in...


did this work?

I want to do the same thing, but I'm worried that the door (which is hollow) won't support the weight of a keyboard tray plus the pressure one puts on a keyboard while typing. Did you use hollow doors for your desk? Were you able to get the keyboard tray to work?



Hollow doors are not going to have enough material to hold the screws for a good keyboard drawer. The shell of a hollow core door is very thin stuff, easily broken and stripped out.

You'll want something solid if you're going to put screws in it.

However, if you're going the cheesy clamp-on route you might be OK because the edges of the door tend to have thicker material as a 'frame' over which the 'skin' has been glued. That frame will be solid, at least for a short thickness, which might keep the door from collapsing when clamped.

As far as weight and strength, it sorta depends on the construction of the door. If it's got some 'honeycomb' structure, then it may have more strength for supporting weight. If not, though, then it's that very thin luan that's holding anything up--not very strong at all.

If you have the door just laying around, you can look inside the knob/lock holes with a flashlight to see how it's built. If you're gonna buy a door, buy a solid one and save yourself some headaches.


one caveat

One caveat to watch for there, though, is that I've seen some luan hollow core doors where the keyhole had a frame (i.e., it looked like solid wood if you looked through the hole. But just a half inch or so past that, it was hollow.

Most luan doors I've seen in the past 15 years do have a honeycomb structure of some sort, but it's not much of anything one way or the other. So they should maybe just tap on it and see if it sounds hollow or not.

Just thought I'd jump in...I ran into this same problem when I turned a hollow door into a drafting table when I was in college.


possible solution

If you have a hollow door, mark where the mounting screws are going to go and then fill that area with expanding epoxy foam. Then before the foam cures drill the holes and add hollow wall fasteners. Once everything sets it'll be solid.

Alternately, drill and glue some 1/2" dowel into the door where the mounting screws need to be. Then fill that area with expanding foam to lock the dowels into place. Your mounting screws will go into solid dowel wood, not the hollow door. (this trick works well if you need to remount a door hinge too, but you don't need the foam)

You can find the foam in any home improvement store fairly inexpensively. Just don't overdo it, it'll expand a *lot*!