Three book stands to build … lectern, wall-mounted, desk-top Essay

Practical in the library, living room, den, or home office, a bookstand allows you to keep your unabridged dictionary or other text openfor quick reference. Here and on page 174, we show three easy-to-build types–afreestanding lectern, a wall-mounted shelf, and a tabletop stand.You’ll need just a few hand and power tools, described with eachproject.

Freestanding lectern The leg pieces for this stand were all cut from a single 8-footlength of clear fir 1-by-10. The 3/4-inch plywood shelf was cut to fitan unabridged dictionary measuring 12 by 22 inches when open. If youwant a more finished look, you could use a laminated solid wood shelf.For the front lip, we used a 1/2- by 1-1/2-inch piece of pine molding.

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You’ll also need 36 #8 flat-head wood-screw 1-1/4 inches long,wood glue, 32 wood plugs sized to a #8 screw head (if you have a plugcutter, make them yourself), and four small rubber tack feet. For eachscrew hole, predrill with a 1-1/4-inch #8 screw pilot bit andcountersink 3/16 inch for plugs. Cut the pieces as shown in the drawings. Cut the ends of the feetand shelf supports at 45 [deg.].

Angle the leg tops so there is a 1inch difference from the front of the forward leg to the back of therear leg. To mark cutting lines, lay three legs next to each other withtheir bottoms square. (The middle leg is just a spacer; remove it aftermarking the outer legs.) After cutting all four legs on the angle, lay the two shorter legson their shorter edges parallel to each other and 10-1/2 inches apart.Screw and glue the crosspieces to the longer edges, one piece flush tothe bottom, the other flush to the angle cut at the top, using fourscrews for each crosspiece.

Repeat for the longer legs, but attach the crosspieces to theshorter edges flush with the bottom and 1/8 inch below the top anglecut. Plug screw holes on the crosspieces; let glue dry, chisel offexcess plug wood, and sand smooth. Lay each pair of legs on one side, sliding a 3/4-inch-thick pieceof wood between the crosspieces, and clamp the two pairs of legs inplace. Check that the leg bottoms are even, then drill, countersink,glue, and screw the feet to the legs (four screws on each side). Repeat for the shelf supports, lining up the four screws along theslant of the supports. Add plugs and smooth. Cut the shelf to size. If you use plywood, trim it with 3/4-inchstrips of fir.

(This step will require gluing and clamping; maskingtape or bar clamps will hold the strips in place as glue dries.) Screw(or nail) and glue a 1-1/2-inch-wide piece of molding or scrap fir tothe down-sloping edge of the shelf to keep books from sliding off. To attach shelf, center it over angled supports; drill two screwholes through it into each support. Countersink screw heads, then glue,screw, plug, and smooth holes. Sand the wood and finish with clearsealer, oil, or paint. To help the lectern stand evenly, attach thefour rubber tack feet at the ends of the wooden feet. Wall-mounted shelf The shelf shown on page 172 is mounted onto a wall stud. It has asingle support arm, but for bigger books, you could build it with twosupports.

First build the plywood or laminated solid wood shelf to fit yourdictionary; a stop block attaches near the bottom. The wall supportpieces are made of 3/4-inch-thick walnut or other even-grained hardwood(about $7). The drawing on page 172 shows the proportions of thetwo-piece shelf plate, support arm, and wall plate.

You also need eight1-1/4-inch #8 flat-head woodscrews, four 2-inch #10 flat-headwoodscrews, and wood glue. Use a router or dado blades to cut the 3/8-inch-deep, 3/4-inch-wideslots in both the shelf and wall plates. The top and bottom of the wallplate slot are filled with 3/4-inch-wide filler blocks, as shown in thedrawing.

Mount the support arm to the wall plate and the wall plate tothe wall with the 2-inch screws. Use the 1-1/4-inch screws for theother joints. Designer-builder was David Amendola of Belmont, California.

Acrylictabletop stand To bend the acrylic, you’ll need to buy a strip heatingelement (about $16) from a retail plastics store. Follow the directionsand practice bending scrap pieces before starting on your final version.An unabridged dictionary requires an 18-by 24-inch sheet (about $8), acollege-size dictionary about a 16-inch-square sheet (about $5).

With a felt pen, draw two lines across one side of the acrylicsheet: one line 1-1/2 inches from the bottom edge, the other 4 inchesfrom the top. Heat and bend the sheet along the lines, flipping thepiece over to make bends in opposite directions. Both bends should beabout 120 [deg.

] angles. The edges may warp inward, but a hardwood lipwill help keep them straight (see picture above). Cut two piece ofhardwood the length of the stand, then cut a 1/8-inch-wide, 1/4-inchdeep kerf in each piece. Epoxy the acrylic into the wood.

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