simple keyboard stand

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Forum topic by Rye posted 02-19-2018 11:09 PM 580 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 874 days

02-19-2018 11:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: joining dovetail desk table basic tools traditional

I want to build a simple keyboard stand. I plan to buy three pieces of 3/4in plywood, each one about 2 ft by 3ft. Two pieces will be the legs with the third piece resting on top. Basically a 3-sided square. What would be the best way to join the “legs” to the tabletop? Having watched a bunch of youtube videos, I’d like to try something like a dovetail joint, or anything that doesn’t rely on brackets or screws or nails. The dovetails could be vertical, the idea being that if I were to lift up the stand by its tabletop, then the joint (even if unglued) wouldn’t allow the legs to drop off. I don’t have any tools at the moment and no experience and can afford to take my time. Any advice on the most appropriate joint here?
thank you.

6 replies so far

View clin's profile


1113 posts in 1774 days

#1 posted 02-20-2018 03:45 AM

Welcome to LJ’s.

I’m not sure what you’re trying to make. What kind of keyboard, computer keyboard, music keyboard? Just trying to better understand what you’re trying to build.

Tough to suggest a joint when you have no tools. I assume you are prepared to get some tools. In any case, more details might help to better answer your question. Also, are you just trying to have something to get the job done, or trying to make something nice with a certain look to it?

-- Clin

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2219 days

#2 posted 02-20-2018 04:22 AM

You’re going to need more structure than just two sides and a top, IMHO. You’ll need some racking resistance.

At a minimum, I would add a center stretcher, something like this:

For joinery, you could use dowels, biscuits, Dominoes, floating tenons, pocket screws, desktop fasteners, screws, dovetails, box joints, ....

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Rye's profile


3 posts in 874 days

#3 posted 02-20-2018 06:36 AM

Yes, I plan on just getting the tools I would need. It’s for a music keyboard and it will be going into a chapel so I’d like for it to look nice. The diagram with the center bar is very helpful. Thanks, this gives me some ideas on how to move forward.

View 1finger's profile


9 posts in 1619 days

#4 posted 02-20-2018 06:54 AM

Stand up or sit down

View Rye's profile


3 posts in 874 days

#5 posted 02-20-2018 07:49 AM

sit down

View clin's profile


1113 posts in 1774 days

#6 posted 02-20-2018 07:51 PM

Something like Jerry showed was going to be my suggestion as well. Keep in mind that a keyboard stand usually just has support at both ends. A table top isn’t really necessary. But a simple desk, like jerry’s, is inherently sturdy. Lots of those European style screw-together furniture works like that. Which is something to consider using instead of making your own.

Concerning that style, the joints are all butt joints. You could use dowels that go into the edge of a panel, and line up with holes in the panel. Simply in concept, but you do need to locate the holes very accurately.

You could also run screws through the panel into the edge of the the mating panel. Though screwing into the edge of plywood is pretty weak. Depends a lot on the quality of the plywood. I know there are special screws for particle board called conformant screws. Not sure if these or some other special screw works good in going into the edge of plywood.

Similar would be to use dowels like you do screws. Just drill through the panel into the edge of the mating panel. In this case the dowel end would be exposed, but that could even look cool if you used contrasting wood.

Dados would improve the joints, but you need to make stop dados (dados that don’t run all the way across a piece). These are a little more involved to make. In either case to make dados you’d need a table saw or router.

Unless you have screws pulling the pieces together, you’ll need some rather large clamps, though I guess a strap type clamp would work.

And of course, any of those joints could be reinforced with blocks of wood. This could be made to look just fine.

Having made a keyboard stand and modified a desk to have a slide output keyboard under it, I found that you need to put some real though into the height. A typical desk is about 30”. That’s much too high for a music keyboard unless stool being used is unusually high. But if the musicians uses foot pedals, that my be awkward.

This of course is not what you want to do. But it gives you an idea of the height of a keyboard to a desk. Been too long since I built this to remember, but this probably puts this keyboard a little lower than a typical piano. Just looked online, and apparently Steinway pianos are 28 1/8” from the floor to the tops of the white keys.

Bottom line, be sure to put some thought into the height. Also, in my case, the slide out the piano sits on effectively has a large notch in it. So there is nothing under the keyboard in the middle. This gives me more leg room from the floor to the underside of the keyboard. That’s not a big deal for smaller people, but tall people, like myself, it helps.

I made a dedicated keyboard stand years ago. Unfortunately I don’t seem to have any photos of it. I think I built it before digital cameras existed. At the time I had very limit tools to work with. This is a rough sketch of what it looked like. The supports for the keyboard and the large feet were made from 2” thick oak. All the other boards were made from black melamine shelving.

I’m sure those top and bottom stretchers had some sort of wood blocks behind them for the joints. See sketch for what I mean. The structure was not really strong, but with the wood blocks, it proved plenty strong for a fixed keyboard stand (wasn’t meant or used as a portable stand).

This actually looked real nice with the lighter oak pieces and the black panels.

-- Clin

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