The Sawdust Chronicles 2010 Build Challenge, Part I

The finished book stand.
I begin with an apology. I'm sorry for not having posted since October 22. I try to post at least weekly. A number of personal and work projects have conspired against me lately to prevent my posting. Chief among them was the Sawdust Chronicles 2010 Build Challenge.

As I was entered in the Build Challenge, I've spent every free moment over the last few weeks working on the book stand which I submitted as my entry. When I lost my build time on the final Friday and Saturday of the challenge I feared it may have all been for naught if I failed to complete my project. Thankfully Rick was nice enough to extend the deadline for all and I successfully submitted my project almost 4 hours before the it was due!

Here for you, my dear readers, is part I of my submission description.


As my entry to the Sawdust Chronicles 2010 build challenge I have constructed a book stand. The book stand is constructed from walnut and glass tile, assembled using Domino joinery and finished with 6 coats of de-waxed shellac.

Design Process
When I decided to enter the Sawdust Chronicles 2010 build challenge in late August I had already been asked by my mother (a second grade teacher) to make a book stand for the dictionary in her classroom. She had given me a print out of some book stand designs, a physical copy of the dictionary to be held on the stand and a request of a 60 degree display angle. On review of the Sawdust Chronicles 2010 build challenge rules and entry form I quickly abandoned the designs she had suggested and got to work on my own.

The Bell Forrest project pack &
the glass tile laid out on my
table saw.
My starting point was walnut. I had always wanted to work it and when I saw Bell Forrest Products labor day sale I ordered a 10 board feet project pack and hoped that would be enough (it ended up being almost twice what I needed). Another point I wanted to incorporate from the beginning was a secondary material. My initial though was copper, as I have experience working with sheet metal at work, and copper is such a beautiful metal and so easy to work with. My idea was to use copper sheet metal to veneer a piece of MDF which would act as the arm portion of the stand. Unfortunately, the build challenge rules forbid the use of MDF, so I began to track down some plywood to veneer with the copper. During this early stage of the design I was walking through Home Depot and was inspired by the glass tile on display. I bought some there on the spot and decided that rather than use copper to veneer the arm portion of the stand, I would use the glass tile as an inlay for the center section of the top where the spine of the dictionary rests.

The tile laid in position during
a dry fit.
Incorporating the tile into the design was the inspiration for the top. I recessed the center tile section for the practical purposes of housing the tile and holding the dictionary spine and for the aesthetic purpose of allowing the side sections of the top to rise up and away from the center like wings. After some trial and error with the actual dictionary, I decided on 10 degrees as the appropriate angle for the wings. Once I had the top designed, I set to work constructing it. I had finished assembling the top before giving the base design any serious thought. Since I knew the top had to be held at a 60 degree angle, I started with that and cut the now walnut support arm at 60 degrees. I ripped it to width so that it matched the top. The base was the final component I designed. I made it slightly longer than the support arm to give it small lips in the front and rear. I determined the width of the base though a combination of what looked good to my eye and what was wide enough to support the top. In order to give the piece visual balance, I gave the bottom wings angled down at 10 degrees to mirror the angle of the upper wings.

More on the build in the next post. Until then check out my 2010 Build Challenge Photo Album.

What did you build this fall?