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The quality is of the plywood is a little questionable, and the top layer seems to be some kind of laminate (you can see the pixelation sort of pattern up close). The stacked layers of plywood have some chipped out holes like other reviewers have shown in photos. I plan to fill mine with wood filler and sand it down--maybe add some danish oil for protection. Not a huge deal--especially for the price.
The overall execution is super clean though. I love how light colored the wood is, with just enough texture and warmth to make it perfect for a minimal desk setup. It's actually a shade lighter than my desktop, which is an IKEA GERTON for reference, with no stain or finish added.
There's plenty of room to store and keep exactly what I need at my fingertips (my DAC, headphone amp, audio interface, and closed 16" macbook pro), while hiding a majority of the black metal electronic boxing and cables from sight. This makes a big difference in how cozy the setup feels with that much going on.
I don't plan on putting my monitor, or anything else, directly on the stand. The main function of the shelf to me, is to hide what I want to arrange under it. That said, it feels extremely sturdy, and sits very flush on my desk with no wobble (contrary to other reviews I read). I did have to use quite a bit of strength to force the cork legs into the openings on the underside of the wood. I suspect people who reported a wobble may have no wedged all of their legs in completely.
A few positives over the Grovemade, if that's what you're comparing this to:
- The open underside is far more practical for storing things. Grovemade's current desk shelf now has a metal shelf running along the entire length, which limits what you can put under it to a max height of 2" on the bottom, and about 1.6" on the metal shelf. For me, this would have made storing all of the electronics (minus my laptop) impossible, and ultimately became the dealbreaker on the Grovemade for me. I asked if they would be willing to sell me their previous design (it had JUST changed online), and they wouldnt.
- The cork legs are a more typical cork color--like you'd see on a wine bottle. Grovemade's cork legs on their light version of their desk shelf are more of an orange hue. Just an observation--take that how you will.
** This is in no way meant as a knock on Grovemade's shelf. I desperately wanted to make their shelf work for me, and was willing to pay the premium for their beautiful build quality/finishing. When it comes to build, this product doesn't even compare to Grovemade--and the positives that it DOES have, should really be attributed to GM as they pretty much stole the design from them.
But if you're like me... willing to compromise with the quality, potentially patch some chips in the plywood (or live with them as is) and prefer the open underside, I would definitely recommend this shelf.