Ratcheting Book Stand-Redux

It’s not very often that I get requests for projects that I build.  Some of my stuff is a little out there.  But, when I do get a request, I try to accommodate.  My version of the ratcheting book stand design that Peter Follansbee brought back into focus has proven popular among family members.

The nephew is in from college for the summer and asked if I would make him a “medium” (3/4 scale) version to take back to college in the Fall.  Of course I will!  Apparently the Summer is all but over because he will be packing off for the Fall semester in a few weeks.  Given that sobering time frame I figured that I had better get with it.

I dug through the offcut pile and culled out enough bits from which to mill up the parts.

I began with the posts by first bringing them to a rough round at the shaving horse and then to final shape on the spring pole lathe.  I turned a small urn-shaped finial on them and a single, simple bead.  The locations for the rungs/spindles I set in with a skew chisel and then used my bit of welding wire (shown in use on a garden dibber) to burn them in.


Each of the parts progressed in the same manner, shaving horse, lathe and done.  I’m definitely no speed demon at the spring pole lathe, but I am getting quicker.  So by the end of the day I had all of the parts turned and ready for assembly.


Today I did the boring bit and then shaped the shelf.  Everything went pretty smoothly , mostly due to my working at a relaxed pace.  Or it was just pure luck.  Either way, the dry fit and subsequent glue up is done.

One trick-of-the-trade that I have been using is to pre-finish the individual parts while they are on the lathe.  It gives me a jumpstart on the finishing process.  More importantly though, it makes cleaning up the glue squeeze out much easier.

I’ll add a couple of more coats of my usual Tried & True Original over the next few days and this little ratcheting book stand is ready for college.  I hope the nephew has been saving his pennies from his summer job in preparation for his upcoming economics lesson…

…uncle Greg doesn’t work cheap!

Greg Merritt

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8 Responses to Ratcheting Book Stand-Redux

  1. Some lawn mowing in his future?

    Nice looking project – your lathe work has come far in (what seems to me) a short time.

  2. Coisas EM'adeira says:

    Dusting and sweeping shavings 101 classes? 😀 😀

  3. Salko Safic says:

    I’ll give him some planing to do. I’m guessing tried and true is similar to antique finishing oil

    • Greg Merritt says:

      You pay the airfare and I might send him your way.

      Tried & True is a mixture of food safe polymerized linseed oil and beeswax. So many people ask about it, I may write up a detailed post about it.

  4. Michael Wilcox says:

    Looks great. I saw Peter on Roy’s show The Wood wrights Shop, making one of those. Your’s looks as good if not better.

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