Introduction: Music Stand From a Single 8 Foot 2x4

In order to make this from a single 2x4 I used a bandsaw to create compound curves for the legs with a minimum amount of material.

Step 1: Cut Pieces to Rough Dimensions and Remove the Rounded Over Edges of 2x4

Start by finding a 2x4 with as few knots as you can.

Cut list:

Main front leg 1 1/8” x 1 1/8” x 50”

(2) side legs 1 1/8” x 1 1/8” x 36”

(2) tray pieces 5/8” x 2 1/4” x 22”

several 3/8” pieces for the rest of the music rest

I was able to first cross cut a 73" piece and then rip it in half which gave me enough material for the three legs.

Step 2: Laying Out the Curves and Taper

After checking each leg blank for square I laid out the curves and taper for the legs. I left a few inches where the legs meet as a square section to make joinery easier. Do this by making a straight cut through the middle of the leg. One key to compound curves is that the cut has to start at one end and go to the opposite end without ever coming out the side. I laid out the curve on a piece of hardboard and then transferred it to each leg.

Step 3: Compound Curves on the Bandsaw

The concept of compound curves on the bandsaw is a great way to make the legs using a minimum amount of wood.

I started by cutting the taper. Then use tape to attach that piece back in the same place.

Make your second cut (the curves) and tape it back together again. (It should look like the square leg blank you started with)

Now, rotate the leg 90 degrees and make the cuts on that side, again taping back together between cuts.

Before moving on to the next step, discard the scrap from the two taper cuts. Use a hand plane to smooth the two tapered surfaces. This is important because in the next step the four outside surfaces become the inside surfaces and get glued together. (I didn't do this the first time and the glue up was ugly)

Step 4: This Is the Cool Part

Once the tapers and curves are cut, separate and reassemble the pieces by rearranging the pieces so that what was the inside corner becomes the opposite corner. Use tape to hold it together and get ready for the glue.

Step 5: Glue Up

Cut the tape and add glue to two halves, tape it back together, cut the tape on the adjacent side and add glue so that all four surfaces are covered. Tape it back together again and clamp it with as many small clamps as you can find. In some spots I used tape to pull it together. On a different leg I tried using some stretchy packing plastic but that created a lot of glue squeeze out which needed a lot of sanding to remove.

Once the glue dries remove the clamps and do some sanding.

Step 6: Drill Holes for the Adjustable Shelf/music Holder

I wanted the shelf/music holder to be adjustable so I drilled a series of holes in the top 12 inches or so of the front leg. First, I needed a flat surface on the front and back of the leg which was easy to do with a hand plane. It is a tapered cut starting at the leg attachment point and going toward the top.

I cut a piece of wood about 12" x 1 1/4" x 5/8" and glued in a 3/8" dowel. Drill a hole 2" above the dowel. After drilling the first hole in the leg at the bottom insert the dowel in that hole and drill through the other hole into the leg. Repeat this all the way up to the top of the leg. The piece of wood with the dowel gets attached to the back of the shelf/music holder with screws after countersinking the head of the bolt.

Step 7: Attach the Legs

Trying to calculate the angle to cut to attach the legs was making my head spin so I put the front leg in my vise and leaned the two back legs against it. I had marked a triangle on the floor with tape to get the spacing even. It looked like about a 22 degree angle so that is what I cut at the tops of the two short legs. A hand saw was good for this since the cut is made after the glue up and the leg is no longer straight enough to cut on a miter saw. I attached the legs using a Festool Domino which makes things really easy but you could also just use screws and glue to make a solid joint. Sorry but I didn't get photos of the Domino joints.

The 22 degree angle didn't work out as I had planned. I wanted the legs to be equally spaced at about 12". Instead I ended up with 13" between the front leg and both sides and 17" between the side legs at the back. A friend of mine tells me that modeling this in sketchup could give me the correct angle to cut but I'm not that good with sketchup. If someone wants to do that and let me know that would be awesome. I would edit this instructable to include it.

Once the legs are attached the bottoms will not be flat on the floor. I used a scribing tool to mark a line and then cut the bottom of the legs. You could adjust the length of the front or back legs if at this point you need more or less tilt by adding shims before marking the line.

Step 8: Be Creative for the Shelf/music Stand

Overall dimensions of the shelf/music stand are 22" x 12". The bottom pieces are 2 1/2" wide. One has a 1/4" rabbet cut into it and it is glued and nailed together.

The curved pieces are all 3/8" thick. I cut a piece of brown paper out that was 22" x 12" and used that to arrange the pieces and then glued and nailed them together with some short brass nails.

Step 9: The Original Prototypes

This project started for me when my daughter decided to play the string bass. She came home from school and told me she needed a music stand and that I needed to have it done in 5 minutes! It took me 18 minutes but she did end up with a functional stand - although not very pretty. The second prototype had straight legs and the same shelf/music stand as the current version. My other daughter told me that she liked the curves and that the legs should be curved also which led me to the third/current stand. The plan for that one included folding legs which didn't work out.

Step 10: Things I Learned or Would Do Differently

When researching music stands I learned that the bottom of the music shelf should be adjustable between 40" and 50". There should be about 2 1/4" and no lip on the bottom of the shelf to hold the music and make it easy to turn pages. A musician friend of mine likes that there is only one leg in front - less chance of knocking it over when performing.

I have not figured out a way to make the shelf tilt which might be a nice addition.

The joinery for the shelf/music stand could be a bit nicer, perhaps with lap joints.

If you have made it this far, Thanks. This is my first attempt at publishing an instructable.