House Technique Woodworking

Book Stand – part 3

So, I’m making a book stand…

In the beginning of this story, I made a picture of a White Horse. Later, I built a frame for the picture, then I made a tray for books to stand in and a pair of legs for the frame to stand on. Now to put all these things together. So far, my design looks like this:

Legs would attach directly into the back of the frame at one of several possible positions. Different positions would cause the stand to hold books at different angles.

At first, I thought I could make the legs push-fit. I could fix a dowel of some sort into the leg, with holes in the frame into which the dowel could be pushed. I tested this on a couple of spare bits … but it didn’t work. The frame was not thick enough to accommodate that long a dowel. Then, the weight of the book pushing downwards on the stand would make the frame try to twist away from the leg. With a short stub of dowel, I found the leg would pop out under the weight of a big book.

I could have dowels fixed into the frame, with a hole in the top of the leg that could accommodate a longer and stronger pin. However, this would mean I would have a row of dowels sticking out of the back of the frame, which would look silly!

My next thought was to use some kind of screw thread. A while spent hunting online led me to Wood Screw to Threaded Adapters and Threaded Metal Inserts. The former are short metal rods with a bolt thread at one end and a wood screw thread at the other. The latter are metal tubes having a wood screw thread on the outside and a nut thread on the inside.

The Adapters could be screwed into the legs, leaving a bolt thread protruding. The Inserts could be screwed into the frame, sitting flush and with the nut thread available. The bolt threads of the adapters could then be screwed into the nut threads of the inserts. I could have several inserts at different positions up the back of the frame, and could then screw the legs into whichever inserts would give the desired book angle.

Of course, making it so that the legs screwed in to the frame would mean I could no longer attach the legs together, as I had drawn in my design. I would need to lose the cross-piece of dowel. Good job I hadn’t drilled and assembled that first!

The Inserts have a slot that allows them to be screwed into place using a screwdriver. The Adapters however don’t have any such screw head, so I had to use another method. I remembered a technique that would allow them to be driven in using a spanner. The idea is you put two nuts onto the thread then tighten them hard one against the other. The top nut can then not go any further down the thread, as it binds onto the bottom nut. So, if you try to turn the top nut on its own it will turn the entire assembly and so screw the Adapter it into the wood.

Once in place, you can loosen and remove the two nuts, leaving the screw thread protruding.

A quick test demonstrated the principle very well, with the leg able to take a considerable weight without budging.

So where should the Inserts go? I had planned to use some basic trigonometry to calculate locations for the screws, but the maths became complicated due to the curves I had put into the legs and the book-support. I plumped instead for a practical measure.

I found a sheet of paper, marked a dot on the bottom edge, then used a protractor to mark out lines at 30°, 45°, 60° and 75° from this dot. I then put a straight edge along the bottom of the paper and used this as a guide for setting the stand at each angle.

I then stood the book stand on its side, and positioned it so it’s base rested on the straight edge and the back of the frame followed one of the lines I had drawn. I then put a leg on the paper up against the stand, and moved it down until it touched the straight edge. From this I could mark the position of the leg onto the stand, and so mark out where each Insert should go.

With Inserts fitted into the underside of the frame, I could then test that the stand would work at each angle. Everything seemed fine!

And so, I could finish the job with a heap of sanding and polishing, and a coat of Osmo oil. I followed the same process as I used for the TV Table: sand with progressively finer paper until the grain felt really smooth to the touch. For the last rounds of sanding, wet the wood to raise the grain, and polish off any further lumps and bumps that appear. Then on goes the Osmo.

For the plywood used for the Horse and the base, I was a little limited in ability to sand. The layers of wood in the ply were really thin, and more than the gentlest of sanding would remove a layer entirely, exposing the layer underneath, which was invariably a different colour. So, I worked mostly on the edges where the horse had been cut out, and on the edges of the base to make them smooth and even.

I used my test cutting of the horse’s head (as seen in the Scroll Saw post) to make sure the plywood would work with the Osmo oil. It came out ok, so I gave the horse itself a coating and fixed it into place in the frame.

And there stood my Book Stand!

As I write this, my son is busy using the stand as he follows a recipe to make bagels. This is a good thing – his bagels are really tasty!

By nickcnickcnickc

I spend my working life staring at computer screens, so in my spare time I look for things to do with my hands, preferably involving wood. It's a little ironic then that I've now starting writing a blog about my woodworking, and thus introducing computer screens to my main hobby..!

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