Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Folding Book Stand Revisited
One of the very first posts on this blog was about a folding book stand I made for my wife. In The Woodwright's Workbook, Roy Underhill writes about this stand, which he calls a reading stand. It's in the Domestic Devices chapter of that book, which is a must read if you are interested in hand tool woodworking - as are ALL his books.
As I stated in the original post, it was the first true hand tools only project I attempted. I also helped my nephew James create his own version (which you can read about here, here 2 and here 3). I think it is a fun, and challenging project with some "wow" factor as it is made out of one piece of wood.
A while back a blog reader, who has made some awesome book stands of his own, asked if I could post some more detailed pictures of the hinge layout that I used. This post is the belated (sorry Craig) response to his request.
The first step is to lay out a square on the edge of the stock. Then, divide this in half both vertically and horizontally. Finally, connect the four mid-line points to make a diamond shape (okay, okay - so it's really just a rotated square - sheesh, Shape Police!). This then gets transferred across to the other edge and replicated. Lay out an odd number of hinges and start chopping and paring. If you work on the hinges closest to the edges, you can use the side layout to help guide both your angle and depth. Use these as guides for making the rest of the cuts. Then it's just a matter of sawing down and up to the hinges - look for the sawdust falling out from the hinge openings. If you worked carefully, the only thing holding the stand together at this point is the thin web of wood between each hinge. Use a very thin knife blade to cut these free and the stand will pop open. Fun!
Here's a close-up of the closed joint and layout lines. As you can see, I was not particularly careful with the rip sawing coming in from the left. I over-cut into the edge hinge. Doh! But it all came out okay - just be careful on the last couple of saw strokes.
After that, it's just deciding what shape to use for the legs and decorative top. The one in Roy's book, from Andre Roubo's Art of the Cabinetmaker, has a kind of double ogee top. I decided to base mine on the shape of old tombstones I used to see back east.
One last note - Roy mentions that Roubo describes creating a circular joint for this stand. I can see how that would work, but I've never tried it. Maybe on my next one...