Time to finish

Earlier this week subscribers to Popular Woodworking Magazine were mailed their November 2010 issues (you may not have even received it yet). In the issue, you’ll find an article I wrote for the Arts and Mysteries column. The subject of the column is how to make the bookstand pictured at the head of this post.

What you see in the photo in this post is the original bookstand from around 1690. In case you aren’t aware, bookstands from that time period are extremely rare. I feel very privileged to have had access to an original and even more so that I could bring it to you in the pages of Popular Woodworking Magazine.

The article was limited in size due to the structure of the magazine. So, in the interest of further education, next week’s post will be a ton of additional step by step photos on how to make the bookstand. Call them “supplemental” photos to the article. Once you read the article, the first place you should check to get the answers to your questions is right here on my blog. The second place you should check to get the answers to your STILL unanswered questions is…well, right here on my blog. If something in the article, or in my blog post, is unclear make sure you ask the question in the comments portion of the blog. I’ll do my best to answer any questions put forth…within reason, of course.

The following week’s post will begin a short series on how I “aged” the finish on the piece in the article. I get questions all the time from folks wanting to know how to patinate a finish. The blog series to follow is but one set of steps that can be followed to color and distress a piece. I’ll be showing everything I did on this particular piece to achieve the look you’ll see in the magazine. Some of my alternate methods, however, will remain a secret.

Until next week, you’ll have to be satisfied with drooling over the picture of the original bookstand at the top of this post. Enjoy.

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12 thoughts on “Time to finish

  1. Who would ever want to build this? Why not publish an artice about something useful – practicle?

  2. I would consider building this piece. I’m not sure why this piece wouldn’t be useful or practical. I still own a ton of books and I buy more good books every chance I get. I’m sure Chuck could have tried to modernize the piece, but who realize wants to buy a 17th century style iPad stand.

  3. John,

    This is a great piece. Immediately upon seeing the article idea, the editor at PWM jumped on it. Beyond the great look, you have a functional piece that is a study in joinery. The book stand has mortise and tenon joints and dovetails, and you have a small bit of turning on which to practice that technique. This piece could even be a project built completely using hand tools, if that’s your desire. Additionally, the material cost is small (something we’re asked about constantly). There is probably enough scrap lying about the shop to make the piece.

    I can tell you that this is a project that I’ll build numerous times. And with Chuck giving us a lesson on finishing the book stand so the look is centuries old, I’ll be back to his blog time and again.

  4. My first thought on “Practical” use would be to hold a dictionary! I then agree with Mr. Huey with all of the above statements. This 17th century piece is a great little weekend project, that can be used to hone your skills, with handtools or a combination of handtools and machinery. The challange is not so much the build, but trying to finish it to give a 300+ year appearance.

    I also look forward to working on this project and following along to possibly pick up a few tricks on finishing from a gifted Cabinetmaker

    Joe C.


  6. Looking forward to this article as I haven’t received my copy yet. I’m really interested to read your take on finishing it as well. I actually still read printed books (gasp) so I can see this fitting in nicely with my Queen Anne furniture. I hope I don’t anger the style gods by mixing this Jacobean (or whatever) piece in.

  7. Yeah Chuck, why not something practical like a workbench!

    I think this would be a cool project to do. I look forward to seeing the supplemental photos & finishing into.

    1. Dave,
      Much like Glen’s lowboy from the June issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, it takes a little creativity but once you figure out where to place the vise, it’s all down hill.

      Btw – How are you liking Philly now?

  8. Let’s see we only have to win the next 3! (yeah, I couldn’t type it with a straight face.)

  9. A little off topic, but here goes

    Um Dave, what happened? You could always move East to be part of a winning team!!


  10. Well, it only holds one book at a time but it’s a great looking little piece. I intend to build one or two. I love these little pieces that are often hidden off in the corner of some exhibit room. Good to see you moving this one front and center.

  11. What a fantastic piece! I plan on starting as soon as I get my copy! My first one will go into a church auction. For those who have large family bibles I cannot think of a better way to display!

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