I’ve maintained for years, if you want to up your game in the shop you need to learn how to turn and carve. With a statement like that some have accused me of being singly focused on period furniture. In fact, a few have gotten downright nasty. Called me a period-furniture snob, an elitist or other unsavory names. But I won’t let them get under my skin. In fact, I’m making a stand in support of my assertion.
Sure, you can build beautiful furniture throughout your entire life without learning how to turn and carve, but your work takes on new dimensions if you do. And while those two skills lend themselves well to period furniture, you aren’t limited to that old fashioned stuff. Learning to build period furniture properly expands your skill set to the point of being able to make whatever you desire.
When I started to look for a project that would help others develop those skills, my mind instantly recalled an object I saw on one of my trips through Winterthur – a pedestal stand (Fig. 1). Yeah, I know it’s a period piece, but the skills needed to make the piece are broad and can be applied to many different forms. What I like most about the piece is that neither the turning or carving is overly complex. This a solid, intermediate-level woodworking project.
The body of the stand consists of a faceplate-turned base and a spindle-turned column. There’s a brace, or cleat, at the top of the column to which the book rest is attached. The piece that keeps your book in place is an applied molding. It’s positioned above a simply carved, cutout crest. The pedestal stand is finished off with a breadboard end across the top that’s mitered to two side-trim pieces.