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Dream projects

I think every woodworker has a file full of notes and sketches on dream projects they want to do “someday.” I know I do.

There are maybe two dozen of these in my projects-to-make file. In a manila folder I have photos clipped from magazines and books, plus rough, quick sketches of things I want to build. On my computer, meanwhile, I have a similar folder with even more clips and screenshots gathered over several years.

Between the two folders, there are more projects than I’d be able to do in two lifetimes. But every once in a while I pull one out, study it a bit more, refine some sketches and get to work. Of all the projects in those files, there’s one I keep coming back to, but still haven’t attempted, and that’s Thomas Jefferson’s revolving bookstand.

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An intricate project, it features five moveable surfaces for books and papers, using wooden rests and a series of notches to adjust the surfaces. With all of them folded down, the bookstand is a simple cube. The original is walnut, but I’m torn between using that or cherry, which I think would be especially handsome. Besides the wood species, I may also make a few other tweaks to the design.

Jefferson’s original is on a tripod stand as in the photo above, but I may adapt it for tabletop or desk use. Maybe. The more I look at it, though, the more I like the stand. And with the stand it’s more like the original, which brings me back to thinking about doing it in walnut. Yeah, I’m still thinking a lot about this and how I want to approach it.

The weird thing about this project is that I have no use for it, or any particular place I want to display it. But it’s just so cool, and so historic, and looks like so much fun to build that I find myself “needing” to make it. And when I think about that, I can’t imagine a better reason for doing so.

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