I'm new here, and new to woodworking in general. My first real project
is under way and I'll have a few questions as I go, so here's the
My project is a music stand for myself. Store bought ones just don't do
it for me and I love natural wood anyway. For an idea of the kind of
thing I'm making, I found an awesome website with quality that I won't
even try to accomplish this first time out:
The first question I have is how to join the bottom "music rest" portion
to the back piece? The strongest joint that I can come up with is a
sliding dovetail with the slot in the back piece and the tail making up
the shelf, but I'm worried about how large of a bit to use. The wood
itself is 3/4" thick (both pieces), so is the dovetail going to simply
snap off when I put a heavy music book on it?
I guess the second question would be fitting it together with glue in the
joint without it binding or cracking. I figure epoxy will give me the
time to slide everything together (27" long), but I'm looking for any
advice as I only want to do it once :)
If my description isn't clear, I'll post a quick rendering of what I have
As long as the grain is going horizontally in both pieces there is no
need to do anything other than butt the pieces together. A long grain
to long grain glue joint is stronger than the wood itself.
And if you really are nervous about the butt joint strength, several
dowel pins (or screws covered by plugs) from the rear will reassure
you. Although really unnecessary as others have allready attested.
Regular Titebond. TBII (or TBIII) has more resin, might lock up
before you get the joint driven all the way home. Music
equipment gets babied, so you won't need the extra strength
or water resistance of exterior grade yellow glues. Sliding
dovetails are tremendously strong anyway, by virtue of
Extending the back panel maybe 3/4" below the ledge will
add strength against the back panel breaking at the joint.
You've considered that, seeing how you've placed the dovetail
Do you need full 3/4" lumber? 1/2" or 5/8" might be
sufficient, and will weigh less.
I found this (to me) nice looking coffee table that I'll be using as my
"source" lumber at a local pawn shop. It's 3/4" and made up of a
lamination of a think centre piece of something (maple perhaps), and two
thinner pieces of a rich darker wood that was exactly what I was looking
for when I first designed it.
I'll be posting finishing suggestions soon, I'll upload a pic of the wood
to see if anyone can identify it whilst helping me decide on a finish.
Wed, Aug 8, 2007, 9:46pm (EDT+4) email@example.com (Steve) comes in,
waves, and say, Hi All,
<snip> I love natural wood <snip>
so is the dovetail going to simply snap off when I put a heavy music
book on it?
I guess the second question would be fitting it together with glue in
the joint without it binding or cracking. I figure epoxy will give me
the time to slide everything together (27" long), but I'm looking for
any advice as I only want to do it once :)
Yeah, unnatural wood gives me the creeps.
How 'heavy' do you consider a 'heavy' music book? Me, I'd glue 2-3
braces under if I was worried about it holding. But that's me. If
you're worried, make a prototype, with cheap wood, and check how it does
before you do it for real.
Just how long do you think it takes for glue to set anyway? I'd
use Titebond II, I use it for about everything.
I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do
Well, I typically have a 4" binder full of paper that I need to leaf
through whilst playing, and there's often a hymnal that I have to throw on
top if the music leader chooses something from there instead.
Good idea. I think I have some cheap 3/4" wood lying around, it will help
me set up the router table for the passes as well.
Dunno, hence the request, thanks for the input.
A sliding dovetail can indeed be a very strong joint.
Considerations - if the direction of the grain in both pieces is the
same - like almost all the stands in the website you referenced - then a
simple butt joint, long grain to long grain, will be stronger than the
wood itself. This will easily hold up any music book you have. It takes
hundreds or thousands of pounds of force to crack a well made glue joint.
You have to be careful that the dovetail socket is not too close to the
edge of the board. Also, 27" is a fairly long joint, and making sliding
dovetails is not terribly forgiving. How were you going to accomplish
this? Router table? Special jig?
A well-fitted sliding dovetail has lots of inherent mechanical strength,
glue is only necessary to keep the joint from sliding apart. You can
slide the joint mostly together dry, and only need to put glue on the
last couple inches.
remove no.spam. to email
You're over-engineering, that's for sure. I'd use a simple rabbet/dado for
extra glue surface and realize that the loading on the book ledge, trying to
rotate the ledge into the bottom of the backing. Can't when the wood butts
against it, as long as the glue's intact. The unrabbeted part of the ledge,
fitted in the dado of the backing, should be at least 1/4" to provide shear
resistance, that's all.
If you're using plywood the mechanical joint makes a bit more sense, but
adds a degree of difficulty in cutting the joint without chipping the
veneer. Score in advance.
If you get the show, try watching a few episodes of The Router Workshop.
Stuff here at http://www.oak-park.com/ that they use all the time. The
joint's not difficult on a table, just remember to leave the bit height the
same to cut both pieces, and sneak up on the thickness of the dovetail,
ending up with what most would call a loose fit. The thing'll split for
sure if you have to whack the glue-expanded piece into a glue-expanded
If you're using plywood
That was the plan :) As posted above, it's more to help with any
"accidental" droppings this thing might take from the 3' box it'll be
I guess it'd be considered a plywood, but with only three "parts". The
centre is a maple or maybe even nice pine, but the visible faces are a nice
(but thin) dark wood veneer that has the color and grain I was looking for.
I'll take a pic tonight and post so that folks can see the wood I'll
actually be working with.
Thanks for the input.
You are making way too much out of this. A plain butt joint with yellow
glue is all you need.
A sliding dovetail would be weaker.
I would throw in some biscuits and a few screws wouldn't hurt, but neither
Could you elaborate on this for me please? Others have posted that it's a
decent and possibly over engineered joint, you're the first to indicate
that it's weaker, and as a newbie, I want to make sure it's going to stand
up to the years of (ab)use that it's intended for.
I'd make a triangular (or pie-shaped) piece, 3/4" thick, with a hole
in it. Dado the back (1/4" is fine) piece so that one side of the
triangular piece fits. A little more complicated if you want
adjustable tilt. A sliding dovetail is good too--the unglued sliding
dovetail can be fragile but after the glue fully cures (overnight) it
becomes very strong.
Fuss with the dry fit, snug but not tight. I'd use woodworker's glue
and a small flux brush. Put glue on the deepest 10" of mortise and
the last 10" of the tenon. You have 5-10 minutes of open time with
the yellow woodworker's glue.
Cured yellow glue is unbreakable in shear. Just glue the last 2" of
each piece. Use a pipe clamp to drive the joint home instead of a
hammer, and don't stop moving -- if the joint's cut tight, which
likely be for appearance, it'll lock up hard if you pause for even a
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