DIY Hobbies

Handmade Wooden Cookbook Stand – DIY Tutorial

January 14, 2018

My husband’s mind and meticulous detail fascinates me. Although at times, his attention to detail can be a little much – it does make for a beautiful, handmade design. I have always called him my Lumberjack because of his woodworking skills and awesome beard. Not only is he a handy-man, but he can also dream up some pretty cool designs. We both work full time in IT but a few years ago we started our own Etsy shop. He made all kinds of wonderful custom pieces including a wine bar, a couple dining tables, a storage bench, industrial pipe lamps, end tables and desks. It was a lot of fun but hand crafting those items takes a lot of time – especially the way he does it. You can check out some of his work in our Sold section.

We spend A LOT of time at Home Depot or other local lumber shops picking out the perfect piece of wood. My husband will take a piece from the stack and carefully eye it up from many different angles to check for warping and other defects. He wants it to meet his expectations because if he isn’t happy with his work, he has to start all over. After he has picked out all the right material, he starts to make his design a reality.

A few tips from a Lumberjack:

  1. Draw out your design before you start. Whether it’s planning for new furniture in a space or building something from scratch, Andrew draws it out. This helps him visually plan what he is going to do and helps with successfully executing the plan. Below is an example of a plan Andrew created using some free software. We are in the process of rearranging our living room and getting new furniture so Andrew created this to see what would work for our space.
  2. Create a small model to help visualize. Depending on the difficulty of the design, Andrew will sometimes make a small model of what he is going to build. He does this because it helps him to think of better ways to execute his plan or add to his design. For example, he has built a few wooden cooler stands for decks or patios. In his planning process, he realized it would be very difficult to tip this item over to drain out the cooler after use. Because of this, he added a drain and faucet to his design.
  3. Make a template for repeatable components. Sometimes his work requires a certain amount of the same size piece. If he is using nice wood like black walnut or purple heart, he will create a template using cheap pallet wood for planning. He wants to minimize waste and save his nice wood for the project! Good thinking!

So you want to put your lumberjack skills to the test and try to create a cookbook stand? Let’s get started!

Often times, Andrew will create a design from scratch but for this project he followed the instructions from Build Basic.

Equipment needed:

Table saw

Safety Glasses



Sander or Sand Paper


Kreg Jig (optional)

Tape Measure

Materials needed: 

The 12 pieces of wood pictured below


Craft Glue

Wood Glue

Wood Clamps

The wood pieces pictured above include (from top to bottom):

 4.25″ piece with a 45 degree angle cut off one end

7.5″ piece

13.5″ piece

Nine 10.5″ pieces

Estimated time: 8-10 hours

Level of Difficulty: Great for beginner Lumberjacks!

Finish: Sanded it at 600 grit and rubbed with Danish oil

  1. WARM UP THAT SAW. Get ready for a sawdust party because it’s time to start sawing. If you don’t have a table saw, no worries. You can use a miter or even a hand saw it will just be a little extra work. Cut your pieces according to the sizes listed above.
  2. MARK THE NOTCHES. Using a pencil, mark the notches on your 7.5″ piece. You can do as many as you want. Andrew did five marks every inch.
  3. MAKE THE NOTCHES. Using your saw, make the notches that you just marked. If you are using a hand saw then be sure to take the appropriate safety measures. Use a wood clamp to hold your piece in place.
  4. DRILL HOLES. Drill two pocket holes at each end of all your 10.5″ pieces. *Optional* Use a Kreg Jig to help drill at an angle.
  5. PUT IT TOGETHER! Using wood glue and clamps put your pieces together. Remember, a little glue goes a long way. You will be drilling too so you don’t need a lot. Clamp the pieces together and let them dry.
  6. ADD HINGES. Drill your hinges into place.
  7. FINISHING TOUCHES. Apply oil, stain or paint as desired.

The pictures above show two different ways to clamp wood together. You can use a traditional wood clamp (left) or you can use a picture frame clamp or right angle clamp (right). The type of wood you use will depend on your budget and if you want it painted or stained. Andrew used mahogany for this project. Because he does a lot of woodworking project, he has accumulated a lot of “scraps”. He sometimes uses these scraps to test how different paints or stains will look. Different types of wood are more absorbent than others and the stain may not look as good. If you have a really nice piece of wood with a beautiful, unique grain, you may want to keep it as natural as possible so a light oil or stain will do the trick.

Here is the finished project. He modified his design a little bit. As you can see, there is a nice thick ledge for your trusty cookbook or if you are more modern – set your tablet on it!

There are several different notches in the back so you can set up your stand at different levels. This is a nice feature because you can have your stand almost laying flat if that’s your preference.

Here is a closer look at the notch situation. Andrew put 5 notches about every inch. He made these notches using the lowest setting on his table saw and carefully running the wood through to make it look nice and uniform.

Andrew bought a 4 pack of gold hinges at Lowe’s for about $2.50. There are two on the bottom portion as shown in the above picture and one for the piece that goes in the notches.

Good luck to you and your woodworking project! Be sure to spend lots of time in the planning stage as this will help you execute a successful project. Don’t give up if you mess up. Take a break and come back to it later with a fresh start. You will be at full lumberjack status in no time!