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Download the Free Woodworking Plans
Many people who have a number of books on display in their homes like to use book stands to show off their favorites. Coffee table books, with their beautiful layout and often breathtaking photography are commonly displayed on a book stand.
In this set of free woodworking plans, we walk you step-by-step through building a hardwood book stand that, when finished with shellac, will be attractive enough to display almost any hardcover book. This woodworking project is relatively easy to build, and takes only about an hour of actual woodworking.
In the following pages, you may notice that we built our prototype with oak, but you can use almost any hardwood that will stain well. If you ever need a good gift idea, keep these plans in mind.
Download the to build this Hardwood Book Stand (PDF).
Difficulty LevelContinue to 2 of 10 below.
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Trace the OutlineTo begin this woodworking project, print the template you downloaded in the previous step and carefully cut out the outline with a pair of scissors. Then place the template on an 18" long piece of 1x10 hardwood and trace the outline onto the hardwood.Next, reposition the template so you can get a second identical piece and trace the outline in this position.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
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Cut Out the Hardwood Pieces
Once the template has been traced onto the hardwood to outline two identical pieces, cut out the two pieces using a band saw. Cut close to the outlines but not directly on the outline, as the cut will need to be cleaned up with a sander in the next step of these free woodworking plans. If the cut is too close to the line, sanding will leave the part smaller than outlined.
When making some of the sharp cornered cuts, be sure to use relief cuts to ease tension on the band saw blade. Forcing too sharp of a corner on the band saw can easily snap the blade.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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Sand the Curves
Once the two halves of the book stand have been cut out, the next step is to smooth out the curves. The ideal tool for this task is an oscillating spindle sander. However, many woodworkers don't have access to one of these specialty woodworking tools.
A more commonly available choice is to use a drum sander installed into either a drill press or router table (with the variable speed router set to the slowest speed possible). Hold the stock on the table with both hands and sand the curved portions of the cutout smooth. Continue sanding until the curved cutouts are consistently on the pencil outline.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Round Over the Curved Edges
Once the rounded edges have been satisfactorily sanded, set up a stationary router with a 3/8" radius roundover bit equipped with a bearing tip. Position the router in a router table and adjust the depth of cut so that the bottom of the bit's roundover carbide is just a hair beneath the table.
Test the cut with a piece of scrap material, and adjust the bit's position until the roundover profile is just right. With the depth set appropriately, round over both sides of the curved sections of the two halves of the book stand. Do not round over the straight, back section, as this edge will need to remain flat to accommodate the hinges in an upcoming step of this woodworking project.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Sanding the Book Stand
With the curved sections rounded over on both sides, it's time to sand this woodworking project. Begin by sanding the flat portions of each piece with a random orbital sander, but sand the curved sections by hand.
To prepare for a glassy-smooth finish on your book stand, complete the sanding process by sanding both pieces completely by hand, using progressively finer grits of sandpaper.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
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Attaching the Hinges
Once the sanding is completed, the next step is to pre-drill the holes for the hinge screws.
While there is no specific required positions for the hinges, I positioned one hinge two inches up from the bottom and the other hinge two inches down from the top along the back edges of the two pieces. Position each hinge and mark the locations of the holes for the hinge screws with a pencil.
With a drill bit smaller than the diameter of the brass hinge screws, pre-drill the holes for the hinges in both pieces of the book stand. Then, using a hand held screwdriver, attach one hinge with the wood screws to the lower section of the left half of the book stand, and attach the other hinge to the top position of the right half of the book stand. You'll connect the two halves together with the hinges in an upcoming step of these free woodworking plans, but we need one hinge on each side for the next step.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
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Now that the woodworking is complete, its time to apply the shellac finish to the entire woodworking project. Rather than laying the pieces on a table and applying the finish, in this case, we'll use the hinges we applied in the previous step. Thread a piece of string or fishing line through one of the screw holes in one of the hinges and hang the piece from the ceiling. Repeat with the other half.
After wiping any sawdust off of both pieces of stock, use a clean bristle or foam brush and apply a thin, even coat of shellac to both pieces. Holding the piece by the hinge should stabilize the piece enough to allow even coverage.
Once the first coat of shellac has dried thoroughly, sand both pieces lightly with 400-grit sandpaper. Wipe off the dust and apply another coat of shellac. Repeat these steps until you've reached the desired smoothness of finish, which will probably be 4-5 coats.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Connect the Two Halves
Once the final coat of shellac has dried thoroughly, connect the two halves of the book stand with the remaining brass hinge screws using a screwdriver. Check to make sure that the two halves of the book stand will open and close smoothly at the hinges.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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Display the Book StandIn the final step of this woodworking project, we'll display the book stand with a large book opened to a beautiful photo. Adjusting the angle of the book stand will adjust the angle of the book. Widening the two halves of the book stand will make the book more upright, where narrowing the book stand will lean the book back further.