Live Edge Walnut Cookbook Stand

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Project by Alan posted 01-18-2019 10:49 PM 1505 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few years ago, a good friend of mine from college let me raid her childhood home’s basement for woodworking tools. She knew that my brother had gone postal on me and demanded that he get to keep everything my dad left when he passed, so after her brother and husband got first dibs, I was allowed to claim whatever was left. I scored a Craftsman 12” bandsaw, two handsaws, an eggbeater drill, two braces, a jack, smooth and block plane, a DeWalt corded drill, a DeWalt cordless drill with two batteries and charger, and a whoooole bunch of other stuff.

So when she told me a year or so ago that she wanted a cookbook stand, it was a no-brainer that I was going to make her a cookbook stand. It just took me a bit to find a design I liked because my woodworking skills are still… uh, nascent, and I also don’t have a lot of time to spend on my own woodworking. So I needed something simple.

Then one of her German Shepherds finally passed in May, and right after that her other GSD was diagnosed with lymphoma, so I knew I wanted to get this done for Christmas this year. Fortunately, I stumbled across mjandhj’s Phone/tablet stand:


Also, my friend is kind of a hippy, so I knew I wanted to do something live-edge.

The best part is, I got to use a bunch of the tools from her basement to make it. I used the bandsaw to cut the slots, the jack and smooth planes to plane the parts flat and square, and the eggbeater drill to drill the holes for the hardware.

Other than the slots, everything was done with hand tools, including crosscutting the boards to length. I had to purchase and learn to use a card scraper for this project, I simply couldn’t get that wavy walnut to not tear out with my hand planes.

Honestly though, the padauk page weights were possibly the hardest part to make. Very difficult to hold/clamp once all four bevels are cut on one end.

I stabilized the bark with Minwax Wood Hardener. The bark was enough of a pain that I probably won’t leave the bark on for future live-edge projects.

Finish was two coats of Tried and True Varnish Oil thinned with natural pine gum turpentine, followed by one full-strength coat, and two coats of a homebrewed carnauba wax blend. I mentioned my friend is kind of a hippy, right? Polyurethane might hold up better in a kitchen, but natural finished are more environmentally friendly.

-- I have some idea what I'm doing.

2 comments so far

View Hawaiilad's profile


3386 posts in 4483 days

#1 posted 01-19-2019 07:44 PM

Very nice. My wife and one of her high school friends have exchanged cookbooks for nearly 50 years and this would be great for both of them. I know it was not your idea, but thanks for passing it on. Did you cut the slot halfway on each board?

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View Alan's profile


44 posts in 2764 days

#2 posted 01-20-2019 12:24 AM

Yeah, the slots are cut halfway. I recommend leaving them like 1/16” short and then fitting. It’s easy enough to pare with a sharp chisel. Just don’t do what I did and shoot the ends square AFTER you fit the slots. Do that first :/

-- I have some idea what I'm doing.

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