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It starts out the size of a smartphone and opens to make your reading (or cooking) easier.

By Christopher Schwarz
Pages 50-54

How-to books, cookbooks and sheet music are inconvenient to use while you’re in the workshop, kitchen or concert hall. That’s why bookstands (and music stands) were invented.

These, however, can be bulky. And so the mechanical minds of the 19th century devised several clever ways to fold up a bookstand so it can fit in your pocket.

This version is based on several British and Chinese versions I have studied and is designed to be robust and easy to make with standard workshop equipment. It requires less than one board foot of wood to build, so root through your scrap pile and get started.

How It Works

The bookstand is basically a bunch of sticks that have been glued or riveted together. The middle section of the bookstand is created by gluing up three pieces of wood, which creates an opening to hold the kickstand and the foot of the piece – these bits of wood make the bookstand adjustable.

Around the middle section are sticks that are attached with copper rivets, which work like hinges and allow the whole thing to unfold. If you’ve never used copper rivets, don’t worry. Installing them is as easy as drilling a hole and hammering a nail.

Note: To make the nomenclature easy for this project, I call horizontal members “rails” and vertical members “stiles” – just like in a door or a face frame.

Purchase the June 2018 issue of Popular Woodworking here.

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