The Bookstand: William & Mary Style 2

This week’s entry should wrap up the additional construction photos on the William & Mary bookstand from the November Arts and Mysteries column in Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Given the number of photos still remaining for me to post, I think this blog entry is going to be more of a photo essay than a written step by step set of instructions (ok, you can stop cheering now). So, let’s get to it because we have lots of ground to cover. I’m adding minimal captions with the photos just so the post doesn’t go so long you’ll still be reading when next week’s entry comes out (which will be the beginning of how I aged and finished the bookstand). If you’re confused by the placement of the captions (I know I am…Wordpress isn’t caption friendly…or at least to the average woodworker it isn’t.), hover over the picture and the number goes with the caption. Simple, isn’t it?

Now that I said I would keep the captions to a minimum, I’m going to start off with a longer one. We left off on last week’s postwith a brief discussion about the surface left behind on the cutout aprons of the outer frame. At this point we need to discuss the surface of the flat portions of the aprons. On the original piece the interior surfaces were left right off the plane. This included any tear out that might have occurred during the facing process. The top edges and outside surfaces were originally left hand planed but had been polished over the years both from use and from refinishing. To a minor extent the interior surfaces also showed evidence that they too might have received some sanding or polishing over the years but the tools marks were still clearly evident. When I say “tool marks” I mean there are still slight variations, and irregularities in the surface. For those of you out there using hand planes that are trying to get an absolutely dead flat, smooth surface…if you’re trying to reproduce period furniture, in most instances, you’re going too far. This certainly hold true for the majority of interior surfaces as well as surfaces that face the floor and/or wall. Most of the time those surfaces were scrub planed and left or fore planed (with a slight camber on the blade) and left. If you’re trying to make your bookstand look like it was made 300 years ago, now is not the time for you to set your plane mouth to 1/64″ and attempt to take those gossamer shavings. End of first long winded caption.


(Caption 2) The next thing I did was take my book support rails and layout my mortises. Yep, the mortises are in the rails not the stiles…


(Caption 3) Once laid out, off to the mortiser.

(Caption 4) Layout the bottom rail cut out for the round tenons and layout the tenons while you’re at it.

(Caption 5) Everything dry assembled with the mortises cutout on the book support frame rails.

(Caption 6) Cutout the bottom rail for the round tenon.

(Caption 7) If you cut out your bottom rail and it doesn’t look like this…head back to the wood pile.

(Caption 8 ) Nick the corners of the tenons before rounding.

(Caption 9) Scribe the end of the pivot for the round tenon. You’ll nick the corners with a saw the same you you did on the bottom rail then you’ll round the tenon.

(Caption 10) Ease the bottom edge of the bottom rail with a hand plane. You can actually round off the front bottom edge pretty heavily so it doesn’t bind on the outer frame.

(Caption 11) Drill the support frame stiles for the pivot tenons.

(Caption 12) Transfer the marks for the tenon on the pivot leg. I use the same method to transfer the marks for the support frame stiles as well.

(Caption 13 & 14) You can cut the tenons using a handsaw if you wish but I still have that bandsaw gathering dust so…

(Caption 15) Since I used a bandsaw to cut my cheek and shouder cuts, I need to touch up the shoulders with a plane.

(Caption 16) Layout the taper on the pivot leg. Cut the taper with a handsaw or on the bandsaw.

(Caption 17) Plane the surfaces of the pivot leg smooth.

(Caption 18 & 19) Here we are back at surface preparation. Since we used a saw to cut out the sawtooth, we need to remove the saw marks (that sounds confusing even to me). First I slice the vertical surfaces of the sawtooth, then I slice the angled surfaces with a sharp, wide chisel. This leave a clean, tooled surface.

(Caption 20) Make sure when you assemble the outer frame that you’ve installed the bottom rail of the book support frame. It’s not really possible to put it in AFTER you’ve assembled the frame.

(Caption 21) Once you have the outer frame, with the bottom rail of the book support frame, assembled you need to check it for square. It’s also a good idea to make sure the frame is flat. If it isn’t flat when you place it on a flat surface, you may need to clamp it down and possible shim the corners to get it to lay flat once it’s dry.

(Caption 22) Once you’ve assembled the book support frame, make sure it too is square and flat.

Between the photos in this and the last post as well as the article in the magazine, you should have a pretty good idea how this little piece goes together. If not, sign up for the class I’m running on this piece in 2011 by clicking here. This is a pretty good project for the beginning woodworker and the experienced woodworker alike. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Next week’s blog post will begin the aging process. See you then.

Posted on

6 thoughts on “The Bookstand: William & Mary Style 2

  1. Nice job on the step by step post Chuck. Welcome to the world of blogging and building. I wonder does all this documenting slow you down like it does me or are you just that good. This project is on my list, I just got my hands on a copy of American Furniture from the Kaufman collection and I think this stand would make a nice way to show it off. Either that or my signed 1st edition of Harry Potter

  2. I am in the final stages of this project and just realized that I never cut out the scalloped shapes in the apron. Oh! Well, since that was the only mistake, I am actually happy.

    This was a fun but challenging project and will have to make a few more as holiday presents.

  3. Shannon,

    Thanks and yes, I’m just that good… actually these were the shots for the Popular Woodworking Magazine article from which the editors had to choose. Glen and I just thought folks could benefit if I published nearly all the photos I took. And yes, it slowed me down…a lot.


    Lay them out and use a coping saw. It’ll add an even bigger challenge to the project. Good luck and make sure you send photos of your completed stand. I’d love to see how it looks. Tomorrow’s blog post might help you with the finish.

  4. Thanks for posting all this material on the book stand.

  5. Thank you for the great post and detailed pictures.
    It really helps in laying out & accomplishing this piece.

  6. Hey Chuck, I see you are going to be on Rough Cut this year. That’s great news. Elmer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *