I had a couple of hours in the shop today, and made one of these “Roubo bookstand” thingies. I’m sure most folks have seen this before, either on The Woodwright’s Shop, Christopher Schwarz’ blog or in PWW. I say Roubo bookstand in quotes because I believe this style actually dates from the 13th century.
Regardless, it was a simple, fun exercise. I used the drawing from Roy Underhill’s website, and a 15″ long scrap of 1×8 pine.
I did all of the layout first. Laying out the s-curves was an interesting exercise. Prior to building this I did some web searching and came across techniques to layout different kinds of arches. I’ll have to play with that another day.
Once the layout was done I sawed the profile in the top and bottom, somewhat badly in spots, and proceeded to start chopping the knuckles. I used the scroll saw to cut the separation between the knuckles as my fret saw is too shallow to reach.
What makes this work is the alternating chisel cuts to form the knuckles. Nothing magic about doing this. I could see using a block with a 45 degree angle to make the final paring cuts as perfect s possible, but since this is just a fun piece (and Pine is so forgiving) I just eyeballed it.
Before I knew it, all of the knuckles were cut, and I was ready to resaw this to open it up. I expected to have to fuss with this to get it to pop open…or to make a mistake with the ripping and end up with scrap. No such (bad) luck, it opened right up. A little sanding and it’s presentable.
I padded on one coat of Blond Shellac, and rubbed it out with some paste wax and that’s it. Simple. Simpler than, say, a pocket-holed cabinet. There are places I could do a better job. I think a narrow rebate plane could be used to clean up any inconsistencies in the knuckles once it’s opened up, as an example. I’d like to use this kind of project as a basis for a carving or inlay project some time in the future.