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For the June 2018 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, I’ve built a folding and adjustable bookstand that is assembled with copper rivets and folds up to a neat package about the size of smartphone.

It’s a quick and fun project that uses shop scraps and regular shop equipment. The result is great for reading, cookbooks or even holding your iPad while watching movies. It can be scaled up or down in size to suit.

My bookstand is based on similar designs from the 19th century. It was a popular item with military officers on a campaign and musicians.

The only tricky part of making the bookstand is getting familiar with installing the copper rivets. These No. 12 copper rivets are typically used for leatherwork, but they show up in some mechanical furniture pieces as well.

You don’t need fancy equipment to install the rivets. The holes and counterbores are made with a counterbore bit made by Timberline that is intended for pan-head screws. Once you get the shaft of the rivet in place, you press the “burr” (it looks like a washer) onto the shaft of the rivet.

While you would normally use a metal rivet-setter for this job, I made a wooden one with a dowel (it took 2.1 minutes) that works just as well. Then you snip off the excess copper with nail snips and peen the shaft with a hammer.

(If you want a lesson in riveting, check out my video on building a Campaign Chair in

I’ll post a video of the process as we get closer to the publication date of the article.

— Christopher Schwarz


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Showing 10 comments
  • shehandmg

    nice idea and easy to make…

  • davetorg

    What did you use for the hinge on the “kick stand”?

  • Paul Moldo

    We can’t get the #12 Copper Rivets here in S. Africa, but there are others in Nickel and Brass in various metric sizes available. So can you please tell me how long they should be for this particular project?

  • ryanjrotar

    So cool! Perfect quick project for someone who has no shop time!
    How wide is the counterbore diameter?

  • wolffullmoon

    Wow! This is a wonderful idea. I have many small precious (to me–the wood hoarder) bits of neat wood I can visualize using to make some of these as gifts. Too long for one sentence. Sorry.

  • GFusek

    I look forward to this project. I will make about six because my family love reading books.

  • John Passacantando

    Thomas Jefferson would definitely have put in an order for a bunch of these.

  • Just_Iain

    Looks grand as a Christmas/Hannukah present!

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