walnut and quilted maple veneered Shtender (lectern)

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Project by Eyal posted 04-15-2015 03:34 PM 4032 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A little over 6 months ago, my 9 year old son asked me to make a shtender for him, “one that opens up so i can keep stuff inside” was the description from my new client. i was a little daunted about the idea as i have not made anything aside for boxes as of yet. In my school in the 9th grade class, the teacher uses a table top shtender and i decided that this was going to be my prototype.
So what is a shtender exactly?
learning and in depth study is a central component to Judaism and covers a very wide range of subjects, philosophy, ethics, history to name a few.
The “study house” or yeshiva as it is called, are the learning institutions that enables and facilitates in depth study of these texts.
traditionally, and still in effect today, students learn in groups of two on a table either side by side or across from one another, which provides them with the opportunity to discuss, debate and understand topics that otherwise would be less effective if done alone.
The shtender was a historic implement, used for this purpose.

i used 3/4 inch plywood as the substrate. the side panels are entirely veneered. For those side panels, i jointed the walnut sides, top and bottom to the quilted maple center, then veneered it onto the plywood. the little gap that was apparent in the areas where the veneer was jointed was covered up by the banding which i made myself from solid maple and black and white dyed veneers.
the top and front panel are made from solid walnut with a veneered plywood panel. the front has two 1/8 veneered panels, one panel veneered with quilted maple rabbeted flush to the outside, the other, from walnut, rabbeted flush to the other side. Hence there is a floating gap between the two veneered panels.
the back, not shown in the photos, is 1/4 inch veneered walnut that was glued flush to the back of the frame. I rabbeted all corners of the frame and added appropriate matching wood banding to create a seamless transition to all joints.
The inside is also completely veneered.
I initially thought that this piece would be more simple and therefore chose appropriate handles before i started the project. after i had attached them to the finished piece i concluded that drop handles would have looked nicer.
there is a full mortise lock installed, the front gets closed with brusso ball and catch mechanisms.
I finished the piece with waterlox varnish that was rubbed out for a mirror look.
All in all a very enjoyable project. being that i was not working of any particular plan and as i am relatively new to woodworking this project took about 150 hours over three months, but who’s in a hurry when your enjoying what you do?
thanks for looking and i look forward to your comments.

Eyal Bension.

11 comments so far

View Jay Boutwell's profile

Jay Boutwell

51 posts in 2733 days

#1 posted 04-15-2015 04:26 PM

Eyal, this is some beautiful work, Excellent execution on the inlay and the design is excellent with all the contrasting woods. A superior show of craftsmanship. Thank you for showing your work.

-- Jay-- Cabinet Technology

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 4622 days

#2 posted 04-15-2015 05:35 PM

Very nice indeed!


View shipwright's profile


8822 posts in 4295 days

#3 posted 04-15-2015 07:33 PM

Beautiful Eyal. Your son is a lucky student.
You seem to have a gift for this as your early progress is nothing short of amazing.
Please keep posting your fine work.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 3366 days

#4 posted 04-15-2015 08:43 PM

This is gorgeous. Well done!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View SawdustyDan's profile


82 posts in 2673 days

#5 posted 04-15-2015 08:51 PM

A labor of love takes as long as it takes. This shows in your work on this shtender. Beautiful peice! Also, thanks for the background information, as well; it helps us better understand its use and meaning..

-- Sawdusty Dan - Bellevue, NE - "Women and cats will do as they please. Men and dogs should just relax and get used to it." Robert A. Heinlein

View jbschutz's profile


624 posts in 4189 days

#6 posted 04-15-2015 09:05 PM

Eyal, beautiful piece! I get the lecturn function, but I could see it as a magnificent way to dispiay a treasured volume.
I have a few antique, though not particularly valuable, books that would look good displayed on a stand like this. I may have to do somethng along this line.
Walnut and maple are always play well together… this piece, especially so.

-- jbschutz

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3672 posts in 5210 days

#7 posted 04-16-2015 05:12 AM


What a magnificient shtender! I wish I were so new to woodworking. LOL I’ll never accomplish something so outstanding if I live another 50 years!


-- Voltaire: “Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities, Can Make You Commit Atrocities” There are 112 genders (not including male and female)

View Eyal's profile


91 posts in 3064 days

#8 posted 04-16-2015 12:05 PM

Thanks everyone for the encouragement! i wouldn’t be doing this wonderful hobby without you all at lumberjocks!

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2874 posts in 5089 days

#9 posted 04-16-2015 02:33 PM

Beautiful Shtender, Eyal!!! Congrat’s on a great job.

-- Dennis Zongker

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4831 days

#10 posted 04-17-2015 08:28 AM

Wonderfully done project with a very interesting background. I hope you are reconciled to the possibility of getting a lot of requests to make more of them. Your son must be very proud of what his dad made for him.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View mbs's profile


1720 posts in 4437 days

#11 posted 04-19-2015 12:02 AM


-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

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