The Music Stand of Myth & Legend

About four or five years ago, I acquired a copy of How to Build Shaker Furniture by Thomas Moser. It wasn't quite the book of detailed plans that I'd hoped for. Each project only had a rather grainy black and white photograph, and some sketchy line drawings of some of the more problematic areas of construction, with the odd dimension marked on it. Despite this, I was immediately taken with one of the pieces; a music stand. The Shakers frowned upon playing instruments, but they did sing. However, this design is only Shaker in influence and there is no evidence that one was ever made by them. I filed it away as something I'd like to make some day. Then about two years ago I started thinking about it a bit more. I now had a likely recipient for such a piece, and an equally likely date for it to mark; my eldest nephew's 18th birthday in, what was then, two years time. A few months afterwards, a cubic foot of 1 inch cherry boards found a home in the workshop; and I had pretty well decided to take the plunge. I started to think, and refer to it, as the Music Stand of Myth and Legend or "MS of M&L"; simply because I'd thought about making it for so long I wondered if I'd ever actually do it!

With the help and support of the membership of the UK Woodworking Forum, I set out to make it in August 2002. This is the illustrated story of the process...

Above: The only photograph I had to go on from How to Build Shaker Furniture

The raw materials; one cubic foot of cherry. As you can see, there were one or two splits, cups, warps, knots etc... Before starting the process of conversion, I marked up the boards to take the best advantage of the usable timber. In the main, the design called for fairly narrow stock, but I had to squeeze out a few wider areas for the legs. Before I started I thought I'd have more than enough to spare. By the end, it was a damn close run thing...

Above left: The boards sawn to handy lengths and some waney edges sawn off. Above right: The boards planed up. I first planed them to slightly over size, then left them to settle for a few days. After that, I planed them down to the required 19mm, and stickered them with weights to "discourage" them from moving again.

Left: Various pieces being laminated together to form the central columns. The ones with the yellow and red clamps are for the turned column,; the blue, for the adjustable post. An obvious example of why there's that well known woodworker's adage "You can never have enough clamps". If I'd had some thicker stock, this stage would have been unnecessary.

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