Boxguy's Bookstand

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Project by Boxguy posted 05-26-2019 07:26 AM 1554 views 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Thanks for clicking in! I try to respond to any questions or comments and will look forward to hearing from anyone who takes the trouble to make a comment or suggestion.

PICTURED is an American Walnut and White Oak bookstand. Is it made in two pieces so it can fit in a backpack and simply be slipped together.

The bottom piece (on the right) has two dado cuts across it. One is at 90 degrees to hold the stop. The other dado is slanted and holds the vertical piece (on the left) If you look closely at the picture above, you will see that the oak insert crosses the slanted dado.

At the bottom of the vertical piece is this notch. The vertical piece with the notch straddles the oak insert piece. Straddling the oak insert means the vertical piece is aligned side to side. The top of the notch is angled.

When the two pieces are slipped together it will hold a book or papers at an angle so the pages can be easily seen.

Since the bottom of the board and the notch are slanted, the three oak “dots” in the vertical board just show on one side. Their purpose is to let you know which way the slant is cut at the bottom. When the dots show, you know the board is face-side-up so it will fit together and straddle the oak insert in the bottom slot. By having this slot and notch insert system the two board are always aligned correctly side to side.

STORY My eight-year-old grandson is taking ukulele lessons and wanted to be able to see his music book when he goes for his lessons. So this stand is made to be taken apart and slipped back together. It fits in his backpack and is easy to assemble. Like many kids his age he can simply fold up and play his uke while seated on the floor. This stand helps him see his music better when seated. This will slip into a pocket of the case for his uke, so everything is easy to carry. This isn’t a box, but “bookstand” is not a LJ choice.


Cutting the correct angle on the notch can be tricky. Simply slip a scrap piece of wood that is wider than the bottom piece into the angled dado in the bottom. Clamp your vertical piece to the scrap and let this be the guide for angling the notch as you cut it with your dado blade. Use your fence to keep everything aligned with the blade.

If you make the vertical board longer, you can clip a battery powered light on the top and it helps older eyes to see the music.

If it doesn’t have to be portable, you could glue the two parts together and this back area would be a good site for a small built-in box to store picks, a tuner, or a capo.

I used the same radius for the ends and the stop, so if you use a band saw to form the ends you could add some length and use scrap from that cut to make the stop.

The most efficient way to make the insert and dados is to use this sequence:
1. Shape the rectangle for the bottom, round over the two long sides.
2. Cut the dado in the center length.
3. Cut the angled slot
4. Install the oak insert board into the long center groove and sand/plane it flush.
5. Cut the ninety degree dado across the bottom and fit the stop.
6. Round and route the ends and edges of the bottom.

Keep boxing and keep posting!

-- Big Al in IN

16 comments so far

View MrLaughingbrook's profile


312 posts in 3427 days

#1 posted 05-26-2019 10:06 AM

I like it. Good pictures and pleasing mix of wood colors.

-- MrLaughingbrook

View Tooch's profile


2018 posts in 3336 days

#2 posted 05-26-2019 10:09 AM

All this piece shows not only great craftsmanship, but also the ingenuity to design for a specific purpose. The only problem is, A. it’s not a box and 2. there are no splines on it :-P

The added time you spent on the oak strip and angled dado cut will help him get it assembled quicker time after time. The dots on the front remind me of Dots on a fretboard, but I can’t remember if ukelele’s have dots or not?

Great work, I’m sure it’ll get lots of use.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10290 posts in 2042 days

#3 posted 05-26-2019 10:46 AM

Nice, Al. Looks handy, and should serve your grandson well. Nice to see you posting, too!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View jbschutz's profile


622 posts in 4151 days

#4 posted 05-26-2019 11:17 AM

Al, a really clever and useful design, besides being very beautiful! The walnut and oak play well together.

-- jbschutz

View drewpy's profile


1098 posts in 2817 days

#5 posted 05-26-2019 11:29 AM

Looks great, Al. Thanks for sharing all the details. I always enjoy seeing your work.

-- Drew -- "The greatest wealth is health".

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4264 days

#6 posted 05-26-2019 11:31 AM

Very slick Big Al

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10290 posts in 2042 days

#7 posted 05-26-2019 12:27 PM

Also, very nice minimalist box, Al. Leave off three sides and a top, and you’ve given boxing a whole new meaning! ;-)

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8639 posts in 4813 days

#8 posted 05-26-2019 12:34 PM

Nice work Al! Having the notch is key for an easy assembly as Mike mentioned. Any book worm would enjoy having one of these!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View Jerry's profile


3577 posts in 3108 days

#9 posted 05-26-2019 04:30 PM

Beautiful work Al, as usual your design and finish is top notch.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View Diggerjacks's profile


2331 posts in 4599 days

#10 posted 05-26-2019 04:40 PM


What a great idea !!!

Well done as usual ..

Thanks for all the pictures to explain

Thanks for sharing

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View KimAccurso's profile


511 posts in 1600 days

#11 posted 05-26-2019 06:14 PM

Nice work, Al. And clever as it can be taken apart and transported easily to your grandson’s music lessons. I’m sure he is quite proud of it!

-- Kim - imperfection is the pursuit of perfection

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4302 days

#12 posted 05-26-2019 06:53 PM

Hey Al,

Hope your enjoying memories this memorial day. Nice and fun-ctional

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 4084 days

#13 posted 05-26-2019 07:43 PM

A unique and beautiful solution. Simple AND elegant.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3727 days

#14 posted 05-26-2019 08:56 PM

Replies to Comments:

Wow! It has been a while since I posted. We went to church and came home to lots of replies. How nice! Now to reply to what all of you have said.

David, I really liked the chest of drawers you made. The maple fronts are beautiful. Thanks for the comment. I have worked with lots of exotic wood combinations over the years, but I think my favorite is still walnut and oak. It is classic and ages well.

Tooch, if you squint your eye a little and look sideways the oak strip down the center looks a little splinish. Eight-year-olds tend to get frustrated if things don’t work easily. At least if it doesn’t require a screen and a controller. He likes to use this bookstand to read or prop up his iPad, or to hold his music. It is getting a good deal of use.

P.S. My uke does have spots on the fretboard.

Dave, I have been enjoying your box, plane and tool postings. Thanks for the nice comment. My wife’s health has made demands on my time, and I am glad I can help her. She is the love of my life. I have also changed from a Microsoft based system to an iMac and there is a learning curve involved in the process. All this to say I have not had as much shop and posting time as I have enjoyed in the past. Glad I could do this again.

As to your second comment that this bookstand is a minimalist box; you could be right…or you could need to cut back a bit on that CBO oil. It pretty much a bookstand.\

Tony, thanks for commenting on the notch. It is a key feature in a portable bookstand. The notch is a bit of trouble to make, but it is key in making the design work.

This bookstand looks to be a distant cousin to your clever napkin holder. I like the elegance of the curve in the “tongue” that holds the paper napkins in place. I wondered if you did it with the spring in the wood until I saw the metal spring and hinge. Great design.

John, thanks. Oak and walnut are my favorite wood combination.

Drew, nice comment, thanks. You are right. The devil is in the details of most really good woodworking. It is the little things like proportions, rounding, fit-ups, color choices, and function that really make some things seem like they are made just right.

Jerry, thanks for the nice comment on the design and finish. I looked back at your stunning projects. Great boxes. I like the variety in your designs and looks. About finish: I mix my own finish. 50% Minwax poly and 50% mineral oil. It is fresher that the mix I buy in the store. When I get bubbles in my finish I find that it is because I am moving my foam brush too rapidly. This often happens when I am working outside on a hot day. If I slow down my brush strokes, and work at a cooler time of day it solves the bubble problem for me.

Roger, good to hear from you. Hope you are back safe from your travels and are happily making sawdust in your squeaky clean shop.

Digger, how are things going in France? I like your turnings. The earring holders are especially fun. Looks like you have been busy at the lathe.

Kim, my grandson does like his music stand. It sort of sets him apart. He also uses it for reading when he is not snuggled into his bean bag with his Switch. What he and I like about it is that the exact fit is automatic when the board and notch are matched.

Doc, Memorial Day is a good time to look back and quietly celebrate loved ones who have gone on…especially those who will never grow old.

Jumbo, thanks. Making anything that is eloquent and functional is the ultimate goal of my wor

-- Big Al in IN

View pottz's profile


25832 posts in 2444 days

#15 posted 05-27-2019 12:18 AM

nice book stand and very beautiful,great for a reader or to display your favorite page of a book.your quality is top notch as always.great job al.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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