Red Oak Music Stand

Linda, my dear, very understanding and long suffering wife, plays the cello. She wanted a nice wood music stand to replace the flimsy metal one she had and I agreed to make one "when I got around to it". She couldn't come up with any that she wanted me to copy and the few designs I'd seen looked awful to me, so I kept putting her off. Finally I got serious about it and came up with this stand. For numerous reasons, itís undoubtedly the most challenging piece I've yet made. I'm very proud of it and, more importantly, my wife loves it. I've tried to talk her into letting me enter it for sale in an upcoming show ( and I'll make a better one for her), but she refuses. So I guess I'll have to get busy and make another one.

The challenges in the piece were both creative and technical. Above all I wanted the stand to look graceful and pleasing to the eye. For me, this translated into gentle angles and curves. It also had to be practical. I had to make it so she could use it and put it away when she wanted to. I also wanted to minimize the use of any metal hinges and fasteners. After some insomniac nights, I decided on a tripod design that could be easily taken apart. I made the front frame and rear piece first without a clue on how I would attach the piece that holds the music and forged ahead confident that inspiration would eventually solve the problem.

The technical challenges were mainly in the joinery. Most of the permanent joints are angled mortice and tenon joints, which I'd never made before. I learned a lot making this piece and think the next one will go more easily. Unlike most of my other simpler pieces where my "mistakes" are usually fixable, on the music stand I ended up doing a lot of it twice. I sort of planned on this. I debated making a prototype out of poplar, but decided to be a little braver and settled on more expensive, but not exorbitant, red oak, a wood I normally don't use too much of. I ended up becoming very fond of red oak as a result of this project.

The main part of the frame is began with 8/4 (2") thick oak for the vertical pieces and 4/4 for the horizontal sections. I cut the M&Ts in the rectangular stock and then shaped the pieces on a bandsaw using a spokeshave, rasps, files, planes, scrapers and a little sanding.† The back leg hooks over the top horizontal piece and is secured with a wooden pin that fits into a hole into the back leg. This was the simplest design I could come up with, yet it seems plenty sturdy for the application. The pin was hand carved from a chunk of cocobolo and I think it's quite spiffy.

The top piece for holding the music is all angled mortice and tenons and was a real challenge to build. There are three different angles and everything has to be "just so" for it to fit right. I did a lot of fine tuning of the fit with a shoulder plane. Figuring out how to attach this to the base was another cause of sleeplessness. I finally settled on two slots that hook over the horizontal top piece. The slots are angled for viewing in a seated or standing position, in case Linda ever decides to take up the double bass. :-)

I have a lot of honey amber aniline dye mixed up and a liked the slightly darker color it gave the red oak and the way it brought out the grain. The top finish is 3 or 4 coats of tung oil.

Back to Home Page?

This page hosted by Geocities Get Your FREE Homepage!