I Can Do That: Convertible Magazine Rack

Because you’re holding this magazine, chances are you could use a magazine rack by your favorite chair to hold your current crop of periodicals and catalogs. And because you like magazines, I suspect that you also like books, and you might have need for a stand to hold open your favorite reference book – whether that’s a dictionary, “Baking Illustrated” or “Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking.”

If you’re nodding your head in agreement to either of the above statements, we have one project that can scratch both itches. This simple project has only two parts and they interlock: Slide them together one way and they make a magazine rack; slide them together the other way and they make a bookstand.

This scrap of wood acts as a reliable way to set your jigsaw.

This scrap of wood acts as a reliable way to set your jigsaw.

And here’s the best part: You need only a handful of tools to make this project. Plus, it’s a quick job; I built the version shown here in just a couple hours. It’s the perfect “I Can Do That” project.

Gather Your Materials
As with all “I Can Do That” projects, we buy all our materials from the local home center. So with a construction drawing in hand I hit the lumber section. I wasn’t happy with the No. 2 pine in the racks. The poplar was an uninspiring purple. But there were a couple promising red oak 1 x 12s. These were expensive: $40 for a 6′ length. But that was enough to make two racks, so I pulled the trigger.

Make a Simple Jig
This project requires you to set the base of your jigsaw at 35° to the blade, sometimes tilted left and sometimes tilted right. To make these changes quickly and reliably, I made a little jig from a scrap. You don’t have to make the jig for this project, but it sure makes life easy.

You can rotate the blade in its frame with a coping saw to make a tricky cut like this very easy.

You can rotate the blade in its frame with a coping saw to make a tricky cut like this very easy.