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    Does anyone have any suggestions for how to build a shtender from scratch (i.e. I want to go to the hardware store, buy planks of wood and put it together myself). Is there a specific type of wood I should buy, etc… Thanks for your ideas.

    PS-to all members of the CR who have too much time on their hands, I am NOT interested in ASCII art.


    go to corner hardware, and ask!!

    Dr. Pepper

    I built one from scratch when I was younger (15), it was allot of fun and it made me look forward to coming to davening. (Metoch shelo lishma ba lishma…)

    Don’t use plywood or pressed wood spend the extra money and use cedar or oak. Start with 1″ X 12″ and choose a length depending on if you are building a tabletop or floor shtender. Go to your local Home Depot and choose a nice board with no knots.

    Use screws instead of nails to hold the wood together (it lasts longer). You may also want to drill a .25 in wide pilot hole about .25 inches deep before driving the screws. You’d be surprised how easy it is to fill the cavity with wood putty and sand it smooth before applying the primer and finish.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Good Luck


    Thank you Doctor. Do you know anything about maple-wood, poplar, or redwood (those are some of the materials I saw at


    1) Tabletop or floor?

    If floor:

    2) What height?

    3) What angle top?

    4) What angle footrest?

    5) How large a top surface?

    6) How large a lip?

    7) Do you want a closable top compartment?

    8) If yes to 7, hinged top, hinged front or hinged side?

    9) Do you want to keep seforim in the shtender?

    10) If yes to 9, how many and how large?

    The wood used is usually shelving pine and/or plywood. Don’t use pressed wood or particleboard of any type.

    If you want to stain and varnish plywood, birch is nice, for painting luan is fine. Scraps are cheaper than a full sheet.

    Molding, 1×2, iron-on or stick-on edging can also be used for the exposed plywood ends.

    Go to yeshivos and shuls with a tape measure and sketch-pad, measure and draw designs you like, and (of course) try on shtenders for size, both while seated and while standing.

    Circular saw


    Electric screwdriver

    Manual screwdriver

    Router (sometimes, for notching or a decorative edge)


    Compound miter saw (makes cutting angles much easier)

    Measuring tape

    C-clamps (for holding work in place before fastening and after gluing)

    Countersink drill bit(s) (depending on how well-finished you want the completed product to be)

    Chisel (for hinges)

    Once you have a design in mind, come back with more specific questions.


    Wow, thanks for all the information.

    To answer your questions, my design is:

    1) Tabletop or floor? Floor

    2) What height? 4 Ft

    3) What angle top? ~30 degrees

    4) What angle footrest Slightly tilted (I’ll mostly used this pulled back while I’m sitting)

    5) How large a top surface? Large enough to hold a regular-sized Gemara

    6) How large a lip? Large enough to make sure that my regular-sized Gemara doesn’t fall off

    7) Do you want a closable top compartment? No

    9) Do you want to keep seforim in the shtender? No


    This is a very basic and simple design.

    Alter measurements to fit your personal preferences.

    From the bottom up:

    feet: 4] 15″ 1×3

    feet: 4] 3.75″ 1×3

    sides: 2] 4′ 1×8. Cut tops to preferred angle. (four feet is quite tall – I suggest you measure an existing shtender to confirm your preferred height)

    footrest supports: 2] triangular 7.5″ pieces of 3/4″ plywood, cut to the desired footrest angle (i.e. .5″ x 7.5″ x 1.5″)

    footrest: 1] 16.5″ 1×8

    shelf: 1] 16.5″ 1×8

    shelf lip: 18″ 1×2

    shelf back: 1] 18″x12″ plywood (or 18″ 1×12 shelving pine)

    top 1] 14″x20″ 3/4″ plywood

    top lip: 1] 20″ quarter-round molding (height your preference)

    1) the 1×8 side pieces will fit vertically into the rectangular hole.

    Use carpenter’s glue on all joined surfaces.

    The bottom of the side pieces should be flush with the bottom of the feet.

    Make sure the side pieces are vertical when the feet are on a straight floor.

    use 2″ screws, since the total width of the feet will be 2.25″

    The feet will look as follows, viewed from above:

    | |

    the outer layers are the 15″ 1×3’s, the inner layer is the 3.75″ 1×3’s with a 7.5″ gap for the vertical pieces.

    2) glue and screw the angled 7.5″ pieces of plywood to the inside of the side pieces, resting on the feet.

    use 1.25″ screws

    3) glue & screw the footrest into place. you can drop a couple of screws from the top of the footrest into the angled plywood, and a couple of screws thru the sides into the footrest’s ends. Keep in mind that you dont want to split the wood, and end-grain isn’t that strong, so I’d use 1.25″ screws from the side & 1 5/8″ screws from the top.

    Once the footrest is fastened, make sure the side pieces are vertical when the feet are on a straight floor.

    4)Fasten the shelf back on the outside of the verticals at the top of the back of the shtender.

    (the shelf back and shelf will add strength and rigidity to the shtender even if you don’t keep anything in there.)

    Use 1.25″ screws and glue.

    5) Fasten the shelf. use 1.25″ screws.

    6) Fasten the shelf lip. use 1.25″ screws.

    7) fasten the top lip to the top from underneath. Use screws that are long enough to secure the lip, but short enough that they won’t penetrate its top. you may want to sand the ends of the molding first for a more rounded appearance.

    8) center the top and fasten it. some people put a small piece of wood at the angle between the top and side pieces and screw the top and sides into those to avoid having the top screwed only into end-grain. if possible, use 1 5/8″ screws, otherwise use 1 1/4″ screws.


    -Sinking the screw-heads slightly below the wood’s surface will allow you to fill the holes and stain or paint them.

    -you can cover ugly plywood edges with molding or iron on / press on edging that can be stained or painted.

    -you can cut small 45-degree angles on the foot-tops to eliminate the corners.

    -you can carve shallow .75″ notches for the footrest and shelf using a router and the appropriate bit with an angle guide. if you do this, make the notches very shallow, so as not to weaken the sides.

    -the shelf back and lip can be placed inside the sides if you prefer. adjust the size by the 1.5″ thickness of the two sides.

    -examine the lumber to ensure it’s straight, not full of knots, etc.

    -don’t use redwood. it looks nice, but is soft and light.

    You may have more fun experimenting and trying more elaborate designs and woods, like “Dr. Pepper” did.

    As always, be careful and use goggles when using power tools.

    Any questions? please ask.


    good luck with the shtender!!


    hi I can only try,

    Thanks so much for your detailed instructions. I’m gonna head over to hope depot this holiday weekend and jump right in. Starting with the legs, it seems like you gave instructions for 4 legs. I’m having difficulty picturing such a shtender. Perhaps you have a photo or a link to such a shtender. I can picture one where the two long side boards rest on two thick wooden blocks.


    Novice Builder-

    Sorry, I don’t have photos available – the shtenders I built were for others, not me.

    I mostly copied the design of shtenders in the Mirrer Yeshiva bais medrash from about 30-35 years ago.

    There isn’t only one right way of building a shtender, which is why I strongly recommend you check out different styles in yeshivos and shuls to find one you like.

    Hopefully the ascii-based illustration below will make my foot/side piece instruction a little more clear.

    Also presented is an alternate plywood-only integrated foot/side design.

    (everything is presented in side view)

    | |
    | |
    | |
    | | <- 2 pieces (legs) s1
    | |
    | |

    |_______| <- 4 pieces (feet) f1

    |__| <- 4 pieces (feet) f2

    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    __| |__
    |__|_|__| <- attach side piece s1 to foot-piece f1.

    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    __| |__
    |f2|_|f2| <- attach two foot-pieces f2. "snug them up" to side piece s1.

    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    __| |__
    |_______| <- attach foot-piece f1 to side piece s1 and foot-pieces f2.

    You will now have a sandwich with 2 f1 pieces on the outside and 2 f2 pieces plus 1 s1 pieces on the inside.

    As viewed from above (not drawn to scale):

    | f1 | <- 1x3
    | f2 | s1 | f2 | <- 2 small pieces of 1x3 with side piece in the middle
    | f1 | <- 1x3

    Some people make the side pieces out of a solid piece of plywood cut like this:

    | <- angle drawn much too steeply due to graphic limitations.
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    |_/_| <- note that the side is a solid piece of plywood (3/4" for strength)
    with an angle on top for the top-piece, and an upside-down "V" on the
    bottom for "feet".


    Kudos to ICOT for that very detailed post.



    Thank you for the kind words.

    It’s fun to build things, plus years later you get to show off the scars 🙂


    I’m not sure if anyone would still see this but I am also looking for help in building a Shtender except im going for a tabletop one. Can someone help me out and point me in the right direction? I want to make a tabletop shtender with the middle hollow so i can also put stuff it it. Im not sure how it will look when i post it but i drew my idea here:


    || – this middle space to put stuff in.



    Here are some very quick tips on design options for a tabletop shtender. This is not a comprehensive list of all possible designs. If you would like further clarification please let me know.

    1) The shtender’s height and design:

    | | <-- (A) Shtender with flat base and no legs.

    | | <-- (B) Shtender with legs.
    | |

    Design (A) is for a shtender that is shorter and/or has more interior room. Both (A) and (B) should have something fastened to the bottom to prevent it from scratching and marring the table. A hardware store should carry plastic pieces of the type that are nailed under furniture legs.

    2) The shtender’s storage compartment:

    c) No moving parts, front completely open, except for a lip to keep the seforim in.

    d) Hinged top, otherwise solid and enclosed all around. Hinge(s) should be on the back of shtender.

    e) Hinged door on front. Door can either swing open to the side or down, based on hinge placement. You will have to ensure there is enough clearance for the door to open without hitting the angled top.

    f) Hinged door on the side. I’ve never seen this, but there’s no reason it can’t work.


    Thanks thats all for now! I’ll probably try this over the weekend

    Dave Hirsch

    Wow. We got some major technicians here, have you by any chance grown up in Russia…Lol


    I know its been a year but is “i can only try” around for some shtender help? I’d like to build a table shtender which adjusts height and has a small compartment (.5 inch) for pens and paper on the bottom. adjustable degree level, any advice?



    There are some designs that are more suitable for metal than for wood. Depending on the degree of adjustability, your requirements may fall into that category.


    1) Height adjustment – would you like the entire shtender-top to be adjustable, or just the back portion, which will adjust the height and angle at the same time?

    2) If the answer to “1)” is the entire top should move up and down, what is the range of movement you would like? Should it be variable or only two ranges – e.g. 3″ for sitting, 12″ for standing?

    3) What angle adjustments and range do you have in mind? I assume zero (flat) to about 45 degrees is what you have in mind.

    4) Is strength a requirement? Will you be placing a shas-gemora on the shtender? Leaning on it?

    The most common table-top shtenders I’ve seen are the popular store-bought kind that have a base and sefer support, fold flat, and have a hinged piece of wood that fits into notches in the base to adjust the angle and height. These don’t have any type of storage compartment.

    I’ve also seen a a similar design, but with three hinged pieces – the base, top, and an additional piece between them that allows the shtender to rise significantly higher. The supports for this one are metal, probably due to the need for greater strength and stability.

    Have you seen anything that looks like what you’d like to build?

    One thing I always try to do is see other designs and copy features I like.


    Just a bump, in case “CollegeBochur” missed the earlier reply.


    ICOT is there anything you can’t do? Woodcrafting, electrical engineering, ASCII formatting…

    Yoin from BP

    Idea for table-top shtenders; one can now buy (order?) heavy Lucite shtenders (I don’t have a store address but they can be seen in Emunas Yisroel – 44th + 16th Ave and Raslowitz – 17 + 17th Ave. in BP).

    Also Amazing Savings sells small Lucite shtenders (probably for lap-tops) at $2.99!!. It does the trick. Easily portable. Get one for the country.

    For personalization, order Hebrew name plates at any s’forim store.

    Would like to hear comments from CR’s after purchase.


    Derech HaMelech-

    -Dribble a football.

    -Bite my elbow.

    -Walk thru a revolving door with a refrigerator.

    -Eat just one potato chip.

    -Chew gum and walk in a straight line simultaneously.

    (I’m working on one or two of the above.)


    That’s an impressively short list.

    And I’m sure if you take the potato chip bag when there is only one chip left, you’ll be able to cross that one off your list.

    For chewing gum and walking in a straight line:

    Start off slow. Chew your gum once, then take a step, chew, step, chew, step. I can’t do it myself, but my wife is quite the multi-tasker.



    I need help for making a floor shtender with a door in the front.

    Can you give some instructions for the door?

    Your detailed instructions above are good, but I’m not sure about making a door. I am in the middle of making a shtender following your instructions above.


    Derech HaMelech



    You can place the hinge(s) on the bottom, left or right of the door, depending on whether you want it to swing down, to the left or to the right.

    You can use a couple of small hinges or one long hinge (called a piano hinge).

    You will need to make sure the door clears the downward-angled shtender top when it opens. If you don’t want a gap above the door, you can add a small lip to the underside of the shtender top that is even with or lower than the lowest point of the shtender top.

    You can use a cabinet-door latch to hold the door shut.

    If you have additional questions or would like clarification on anything, don’t hesitate to post here.


    I finally finished the shtender 🙂

    I have a few notes (from my own experience) to tell everyone that plan on doing it.

    I made the angle for the top of the shtender to about 41 degrees. While that is good for davening (which is my primary use), it is not good for learning when you sit and pull it back. A sefer will almost stand completely upright and may not sit right. For a learning shtender make it about 25 to 30 degrees, which means to make the difference between the front and back of the sides to about 3-3.5 inches.

    ICOT suggested a circular saw, but I used a jigsaw. The jigsaw may have less power and a little longer cutting time, but I was able to make rounded edges on the top and the feet.

    I used wood glue in the beginning, but found it not so easy to work with (maybe I need to be more careful and patient). I found that the main way that the wood holds together is by the screws. A problem that I had with glue is that where the glue is, the wood stain won’t absorb. There is stain-able wood glue, but I did not have it, nor did I realize the issue until staining.

    I used a drill for pilot holes so that the screws did not split the wood.

    I opted against making a door (see above post).

    All in all, my first shtender was a success. If anyone is in the neighborhood and wants to see it, I’d be glad to show it.

    Thank you ICOT !


    Post some pictures?




    One note about wood stain – even “stainable” glue and filler probably won’t match the shade of the wood itself when you stain it.


    make sure to use screws, and dont cheap out on sanding. make your little brothers sand. dont skimp on the wood;a plywood shtender may make it for a few, but solid oak or the like will be rock solid for a looong time.


    It smells like fresh wood in here. Love it! lol

    Nice thread!


    I have too many Shtenders. My father used to get the Goyim to make them for him in the woodworking shop -where he used to teach.


    Mr. Health,

    Care to part with ( or sell ) any? Never got around to building mine.


    I can only try are you still on I want to build a tabletop shtender with a compartment door that swings down to be used as a sitting shtender


    Does anyone have an idea of how to take apart an old shtender which was assembled with glue and nailed together?

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