I sketched out the design for this project on October 2, 2006, and buffed the wax off the completed stand on October 20th. It took a total of around 100 hours to complete. It is made of solid walnut and birch, with an apple knob on the pivot lock rod, and oak dowels used for the pivot axle and lock rod.

The desk is about 32" wide, which is not quite wide enough to fully support four sheets of US letter sized paper side by side, but will accommodate them, and is 12" tall. The minimum height puts the music self at about 30" off the floor, and the maximum height is about 48". The stand weighs 35 pounds empty, and has space enough to accommodate something on the order of six reams of paper, with a storage compartment between the desks, and a 2.5" music shelf. It is finished with innumerable coats of blonde shellac.

I documented the contruction of this project as I went along, and you can follow it from a notebook sketch up to the day before final finishing if you desire a look at how it all came together, and how it almost came apart.


I'm standing with my new baby in front of one of my older babies. I bought this tree for $1.70 at the end of summer one year. Putting a stand made of birch in front of a birch tree seems like a cruel irony to me. Something like eating a steak beside a cow pasture.

The height adjustment is locked in with this knob, which I turned out of a solid hunk of walnut.


The desk can pivot through almost 90 degrees of motion, stop by stop. I designed the pivot with fixed stop holes, rather than a continuous slot, in order to better support its great weight. It carries a scar from over-zealous use of a scratch awl as the marking point of a compass. The entire project carries scars in various places from the hard fought battle to wrestle this beast out of the wood.

The massive base keeps the heavy desks steady even at full extension (this is not quite at full height.) It was very windy on the day these photographs were shot, and it did not budge.


The height adjustment knob can't exert enough force to spread apart these joints. The metal bolt stops well short of contacting wood, and the gap is bridged with a pencil eraser that exerts just enough force to keep the center column elevated. In the event of a failure, shock protection is provided by eight high-bounce rubber balls on the inside of the base column, which make for a very effective cushion, but also increase the minimum height of the desk beyond spec from 27" to 30".

The rear desk is made exactly like the front. The overall width of the desks was a function of how much I could cut out of the boards I wanted to use. The final dimension is 2" narrower than spec, and prevents me from using the full width of the space inside, effectively reducing its holding capacity by one fourth. If I had thought of that wrinkle sooner, I might have decided to saw the desks in half and cut in a filler strip. I considered, and then rejected that idea, perhaps unwisely. It is far, far too late now.


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