Chris Schwarz's Blog

Roy Underhill's Folding Bookstand

While teaching at Roy Underhill’s school
in Pittsboro, N.C., I spied this folding bookstand in the front of the
school’s storefront. I’d seen the episode of “The Woodwright’s Shop”
that featured this project, but seeing the little sucker in the lignum
(so to speak) was different.

I had to build one. It is made from
one piece of walnut and you create the hinge with some crazy triangular
mortises. I kept flipping it open and closed. Too cool.

Note that this was before I had consumed any malted beverages.

I took a picture of it with my phone, sent it to Megan and told her to get a contract to Roy for an article for Popular Woodworking Magazine.
Those are the days I enjoy being editor. (Unlike the days when I clean
out a seriously clogged cyclone filter. Or when I unclog the toilets
with a wooden stick.)

We’re taking a photo of the bookstand this
week for the February 2011 issue and so the artifact is sitting on my
desk. And let me say that Roy’s article that goes with the piece is
fantastic. I’m not going to spoil it here by telling you about it.

I’m afraid you’ll just have to subscribe,
or buy the issue at the newsstand. The February issue mails out to
subscribers after Christmas and hits the stores in mid-January.

Meanwhile,
I’m going back to fiddling with the bookstand. Perhaps I’ll build one
this week for grins. Or perhaps I’ll just make another magic stick for
the loo.

— Christopher Schwarz

5 thoughts on “Roy Underhill's Folding Bookstand

  1. Chuck Nickerson

    I also discovered this in one of Roy’s earlier books. It is an excellent exercise in precision chisel and saw work.

  2. Tom Holloway

    I have made two of these, following Roy’s original instructions–I think from one of his early books. They are great conversation pieces. People seem duly impressed when they see from the grain pattern that it originally started as a single board, and when they see the way the hinge is made.

    Finding the original angle of display awkwardly high for using the stand to hold copy on a desk beside the computer, I cut the length of the "front" leg (the extension of the back) by about 1/3 of its length. This improved usability greatly without altering the basic mechanism.

  3. Bryce

    Chris,

    Maybe if you hadn’t spent so much on tools, you could afford a plumber? And you’ve certainly encouraged me to stretch the tool budget (not to mention the book and dvd budget).

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