The Other Roubo Bookstand


No doubt many of you are familiar with the famous one-piece bookstand from plate 331 of Roubo’s “With All Precision Possible” popularized by Roy Underhill. This past week, we decided to build a nice bookstand for the shop copy of the incredible deluxe edition of the Roubo text on furniture, and while looking at the same illustration found a second bookstand on the same plate that seemed a more fitting design for the hefty tome.

Using some mystery wood that I picked up at the final closing of Midwest Woodworking (I believe it’s a rosewood, or possibly Pao Ferro) I built a slightly redesigned version of the bookstand illustrated in the Roubo text. I’ll be making a measured drawing for the blog in the next few days for those who might be interested in making their own but I wanted to share a short video Chris and I shot that shows off the details of the piece. UPDATE: The measured drawings can be found here.

Stay tuned for more details on building one of these bookstands – it can be easily scaled to any size of book and I think it’s a rather poetic build for those of you who might have one of the deluxe editions already (or maybe a good reason to buy a copy!). There’s some fun chisel work, careful joinery and simple shaping, which all lend themselves to make a bibliophilic piece of kit. I had a blast making it, and look forward to building more for my bookworm friends and clients.

Brendan Gaffney

Roubo Bookstand from Christopher Schwarz on Vimeo.



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12 Responses to The Other Roubo Bookstand

  1. hgordon4 says:

    Beautiful stand Brendan! I look forward to your drawings – I definitely will be adding this to my list of things to build.

  2. Randy Allen says:

    Looks like it would make a nice tablet stand too.

  3. Nate Harold says:

    Looks great! I’m looking forward to drawings as well. I’m working on a scaled up design that is fixed rather than folding.

  4. Daniel Williamson says:

    Gorgeous work! Definitely looking forward to some measured drawings. I’ll build one for my father to use while studying (medical boards and Sunday school research primarily) out of some walnut that his father milled in the 60’s. Three generations based on a several hundred year old design! Can’t beat it.

    Where did you get the hardware from? (Planning on clocking the screws?)

    • brendangaffney says:

      The hardware is nondescript solid brass butt hinges from a drawer – no brand on them and really anything will do. I’m not a screw-clocker, or as Chris puts it, I haven’t caught that form of neuroses yet.

  5. Well described and beautifully executed Brendan.

  6. Rob says:

    Did you scale 1 for 1 in all dimensions (like a blow up on a copier) or like it needs to be 20% wider to accommodate the book’s width but only 10% in hieight? BTW – beautiful work.

  7. DLawson says:

    I’ve enjoyed this video, at least in the bits that I’ve been able to see.

    But it is clear that your streaming/web app caps caching at 20 seconds. For those of us in the data drylands of Dayton Ohio, I pause for 3 minutes, listen to 18 wonderful seconds of content, and then pause in the middle of a word.

    Just FYI. We are used to doing this dance. Just less happy about who we go home with.

    • DLawson says:

      And, FYI, while I typed that, you app reset me to the start. 12 seconds at a time.

      I want to believe it is worth the wait.

  8. Sam says:

    Beautiful work! I just watched the video and as a side note I’d put my money on that wood being mesquite. I mill and build furniture out of mesquite here in Tucson . We specialize in mesquite and it surprised me to see it. Anyway still just a guess 🙂

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