Practical in the library, living room, den, or home office, a book
stand allows you to keep your unabridged dictionary or other text open
for quick reference.
Here and on page 174, we show three easy-to-build types–a
freestanding lectern, a wall-mounted shelf, and a tabletop stand.
You’ll need just a few hand and power tools, described with each
project. Freestanding lectern
The leg pieces for this stand were all cut from a single 8-foot
length of clear fir 1-by-10. The 3/4-inch plywood shelf was cut to fit
an unabridged dictionary measuring 12 by 22 inches when open. If you
want 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.
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 plug
cutter, make them yourself), and four small rubber tack feet. For each
screw hole, predrill with a 1-1/4-inch #8 screw pilot bit and
countersink 3/16 inch for plugs.
Cut the pieces as shown in the drawings. Cut the ends of the feet
and shelf supports at 45 [deg.]. Angle the leg tops so there is a 1
inch difference from the front of the forward leg to the back of the
rear leg. To mark cutting lines, lay three legs next to each other with
their bottoms square. (The middle leg is just a spacer; remove it after
marking the outer legs.)
After cutting all four legs on the angle, lay the two shorter legs
on 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 to
the bottom, the other flush to the angle cut at the top, using four
screws for each crosspiece.
Repeat for the longer legs, but attach the crosspieces to the
shorter edges flush with the bottom and 1/8 inch below the top angle
cut. Plug screw holes on the crosspieces; let glue dry, chisel off
excess plug wood, and sand smooth.
Lay each pair of legs on one side, sliding a 3/4-inch-thick piece
of wood between the crosspieces, and clamp the two pairs of legs in
place. 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 the
slant of the supports. Add plugs and smooth.
Cut the shelf to size. If you use plywood, trim it with 3/4-inch
strips of fir. (This step will require gluing and clamping; masking
tape 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 to
the down-sloping edge of the shelf to keep books from sliding off.
To attach shelf, center it over angled supports; drill two screw
holes through it into each support. Countersink screw heads, then glue,
screw, plug, and smooth holes. Sand the wood and finish with clear
sealer, oil, or paint. To help the lectern stand evenly, attach the
four 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 a
single support arm, but for bigger books, you could build it with two
First build the plywood or laminated solid wood shelf to fit your
dictionary; a stop block attaches near the bottom. The wall support
pieces are made of 3/4-inch-thick walnut or other even-grained hardwood
(about $7). The drawing on page 172 shows the proportions of the
two-piece shelf plate, support arm, and wall plate. You also need eight
1-1/4-inch #8 flat-head woodscrews, four 2-inch #10 flat-head
woodscrews, and wood glue.
Use a router or dado blades to cut the 3/8-inch-deep, 3/4-inch-wide
slots in both the shelf and wall plates. The top and bottom of the wall
plate slot are filled with 3/4-inch-wide filler blocks, as shown in the
drawing. Mount the support arm to the wall plate and the wall plate to
the wall with the 2-inch screws. Use the 1-1/4-inch screws for the
Designer-builder was David Amendola of Belmont, California. Acrylic
To bend the acrylic, you’ll need to buy a strip heating
element (about $16) from a retail plastics store. Follow the directions
and practice bending scrap pieces before starting on your final version.
An unabridged dictionary requires an 18-by 24-inch sheet (about $8), a
college-size dictionary about a 16-inch-square sheet (about $5).
With a felt pen, draw two lines across one side of the acrylic
sheet: one line 1-1/2 inches from the bottom edge, the other 4 inches
from the top. Heat and bend the sheet along the lines, flipping the
piece over to make bends in opposite directions. Both bends should be
about 120 [deg.] angles. The edges may warp inward, but a hardwood lip
will help keep them straight (see picture above). Cut two piece of
hardwood the length of the stand, then cut a 1/8-inch-wide, 1/4-inch
deep kerf in each piece. Epoxy the acrylic into the wood.