Monthly Archives: December 2012

Magazine Stand–Background

346 Magazine Shelf

The cutouts and sloping sides of Limbert’s No. 346 Magazine stand distinguish it from more pedestrian offerings from other makers.

The Morris Chair is often regarded as the epitome of Arts & Crafts furniture, but the same argument can be made for the lowly magazine stand. These small shelves featured in the catalogs of most manufacturers and their low prices made them an easily attainable item for households that otherwise might not have been able to afford a piece of Arts & Crafts furniture. The same traits that made them economical for makers to produce also makes them a relatively easy to recreate in the home shop &mdash they use minimal material and simple joinery.

At their most basic, the stands are two sides linked by shelves (usually three or four), often with some kind of toe kick. Variation in the shape of the sides, orientation of the shelves and sides, and how the shelves joined the sides produced a surprising number of variations on the basic theme. Plugged screws, pocket hole screws, dadoes, or tenons can join the shelves to the sides. Using screws or keyed tenons allows the stand to be broken down for storage or transport.

Altering the shape of the sides transforms the character of the shelf. Gustav Stickley’s No. 79 features rectangular sides with a rounded corners at the top. Charles Limbert’s catalogues

Change the shape of the side and transform the character of the stand.

Change the shape of the side and transform the character of the stand.

featured several versions with trapezoidal sides. Limbert’s No. 346 takes the trapezoidal form further, tapering from top to bottom on the sides and faces.

More Information

Popular Woodworking offers a free plan of a simplified version of Stickley’s No. 79.

Gary Rogowski’s “Classic Craftsman Bookcase” (Fine Woodworking No. 136) details construction of a stand with keyed through tenons.


One of the side sections. Deciding how and where to adjust the fence to meet the slope of the yard required quite a bit of head scratching.

One of the side sections. Deciding how and where to adjust the fence to meet the slope of the yard required quite a bit of head scratching.

To keep fence construction manageable we tackled the three sections (two sides and back) one at a time. Construction began with a materials list–gravel, concrete, pressure treated posts, cedar, and stainless steel screws–and a trip to Mill Outlet Lumber. Then it was time for demolition. Taking a chain link fence down is relatively easy, but posts set in concrete are another matter. If the posts weren’t located where new posts would go in, I cut the posts off with a reciprocating saw where they met concrete. Digging out the posts that had to go was less pleasant.

The fence in potentia

The fence in potentia.

There’s a surprising amount of debate online about whether posts should be set in concrete or alternating levels of dirt and gravel. I opted for a base of about 6 inches of gravel in a thirty inch posthole, then concrete. To avoid showing the perforated faces of the pressure treated posts, they were wrapped in cedar once the concrete had set. To avoid visible fasteners, I screwed the fence rails to the posts using pocket holes drilled with a Kreg jig. With the rails in place, the infill went in fairly quickly.

In another departure from the source design, only a few sections were topped with the gable roof. To produce the gable, two boards were butted together at a 90 degree angle and screwed together. Other posts were capped with a simple 7″ x 7″ beveled cap. I ripped a 2″ x 8″ to width, then cut it into squares. The bevel was cut on the table saw with the blade set to about 7 degrees. After sanding, the caps were fastened to the posts using silicon caulk.

The back section of fence.

The back section of fence.




Shadow Box Fence

Here’s an interesting variation on the the shadow box fence (where the infill boards are placed on alternate sides of the rails) taken in Kamakura outside Tokyo. Using 5 rails here instead of the more typical two or three imparts the impression of a basket weave. Metal flashing protects the top from water although the wood has been left to weather naturally.

A shoadow box fence in Kamakura

A shadow box fence in Kamakura