I was asked by our college librarian if I could design and build an original stand she could use to display large rare books on. Once she provided overall dimensions for the stand I set about sketching out a few alternative ideas.
Initially I wanted to use Northern Hard Ash, but after finding a couple rough Ash boards in the college wood storeroom and planing them flat and clean I discovered they were riddled with bug tracks. My local source for hardwoods would also not sell any Ash for the same reason.
While I don't usually care for white oak thanks to its busy face grain and color, I bought 26 board feet of it for this project. I ripped it into 1" wide strips and turned them 90 degrees to glue them into quarter grain panels for most of the stand parts. After the glue dried I scraped one side flat before running them through the planer. The resulting planks look beautiful showing medullary rays and far more interesting color variation than the original face grain ever did. The Probotix.com CNCs I oversee in the college shop were used to cut the edge and joinery details needed to create the parts and assemble the stand.
The top of this stand is 25" deep by 45" wide. Most parts are made from layered quarter sawn white oak. It is held up by two 3" x 2" posts connected with 4 bowtie tenons through-cut in their top end grain. The tenons are slim waisted which increases the contact area between mortise and tenon, and also resists racking of the joint which can lead to loosening.
As this is a stand for books I added a couple of famous quotes about books/reading on the visible faces of the two stretchers.The librarian also requested that the stand would have a shelf to keep a box of cotton gloves on.
Rear view. Shelf to hold boxes of cotton gloves.
I could find no better words than these about the value of reading.
You can see the varied grain patterns in the top.
The design is a result of my pursuit for simplicity in structure.
The 2 columns of 4 bowtie tenons are endgrain of the posts peeking through the top.
Photos were taken in the finish room of the fabrication lab where I teach. They were taken right before I delivered the stand to the college library.