“Green” Desks for the Castle Officers

OEC employees have been hard at work designing and building new officer desks for the entrances to the Smithsonian Castle. OEC exhibit designers Bart McGarry and Lynn Kawaratani interviewed the security officers, who are currently stationed at tables, to figure out how the new desks could best meet their ergonomic and functional needs. McGarry and Kawaratani designed two desks with enough space to store wheelchairs, two with lockboxes to provide a space for confiscated items, and two planters to open up the space and provide a place for Horticulture Services Division to display some of their plants while limiting access to the Great Hall to only the security entrances.

In the Fabrication department at OEC, Stoy Popovich is building the desks and planters out of walnut. Part of the wood used is recycled from an old Smithsonian Institution project and the rest is walnut veneer over recycled medium-density fiberboard (MDF). These materials were used as a part of the effort to make this a green project by conserving resources and using environmentally safe products.

After Popovich cuts the wood, makes the decorative moldings, and sands it to a smooth finish, Walter Skinner, OEC’s finisher, is in charge of staining and finishing the wood. He is using Fuhr Industrial water-based products that emit no odors and no gasses–the strongest products possible that are still environmentally safe. The finish consists of a conditioner, the stain, a sanding sealer, and two to three layers of a clear top coat. Each process requires a day of drying time.

In two to three weeks, Popovich will install marble tops on the desks and they will be ready for use by the guards at the Castle.

top photo: Popovich working on the molding for one of the desks.
bottom photo: Skinner finishing the staining process on parts of a desk.

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