Music stand - how thick should the back be

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 08-20-2011 03:51 PM 933 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 3276 days

08-20-2011 03:51 PM

I’m building a music stand with red oak. I’ve glued up what will be the back of the music holder. It is currently about 3/8” thick and, IMO, it looks too bulky. I want to make multiple passes through the thickness planner and make this back thinner.

Essentially, I want to make it as thin as possible without compromising it’s integrity more than I should. I’m thinking about 3/16” but that may be too thin.

I want to connect to the back of this holder with no additional framing on the back. I will be adding 2 small vertical pieces to the back that will form the outside of a sliding dovetail and the sliding dovetail will connect to the stand below (allows for movement).

Does anyone have experience or an opinion on this they can share?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

3 replies so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3505 days

#1 posted 08-20-2011 04:17 PM

ive never done one but im thinking 1/4 would be thin enough , and yet not to thick, once you round over the edges, i would think it would look mighty nice…in my thinking, if it gets bumped or if somehow it would get knocked over , if its to thin, then it will break…if it were metal, it would be a whole different animal here, but we are talking wood…and what kind are you using, is it red oak also…that would be pretty sturdy ..ill be interested to find out in what you decide and how it does…good luck

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3360 days

#2 posted 08-20-2011 04:53 PM

I think it might depend on the cut of the boards, Rich. If you glued up your stock with flat-sawn boards, you might be in some trouble going that thin. If you use QS boards, you’ll be able to go thinner. Think in terms of a guitar sound board here…despite the fact it’s soft wood (e.g. spruce, cedar), it still becomes very rigid because the tightness of the slow growth, QS grain. I would think that a panel made of QS oak could be pretty thin, especially if you do some decorative reinforcements along the sides and top. The shelf part of the project should quite a bit of support to the back.

To me, the question would be how the stand connects…looking forward to see how you do that. It’s not that big of a deal from a structural standpoint, but aesthetically, perhaps you can radiate some supports from that joint?

Whatever you do in terms of thickness, I’d definitely refine it with hand planes and/or scrapers. As a rule (my rule), anything less that 1/2” thick I keep out of the clutches of my planer.

-- jay,

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2877 days

#3 posted 08-20-2011 09:32 PM

I think with the other structure you are putting behind it you could do to 3/16 or 1/4 inch.I was reading Cosmics reponse about the thin material. I am cautious there and might put this on a piece of material to hold it while it is planes. Maybe a piece of plywood or mdf for additional strength and stability. You know this but I needed to say it for myself.

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