Folding Phone Stands

Comments Comments


Words and photos: Charles Mak 
Diagram: Graham Sands

I have an affinity for all things foldable, such as the folding ladder (AWR#74), the Roubo bookstands, and the folding step stools (AWR#101) that I have previously covered or made. Projects involving folding components and large quantities often mean added challenges, requiring, for example, a higher degree of precision and/or efficiency in execution. The folding phone stands featured here – 31 of them made in total – are an example where careful planning with a production run in mind can lead to greater efficiency and success.


The folding stand consists of two key components: the frame and the body (a ledge, a kickstand and a foot) as shown in fig.1. below. I made a prototype to test the folding details as well as the technical procedures of clamping and drilling. This can be an ideal project for using some of the nicer wood in the scrap bin to make a batch of functional gifts.



Prepare the stock

Start by following the cutting list and preparing enough parts for the desired number of stands that you want to make. It is important to cut all the parts to their exact  dimensions, because in a production run, you will use the same single set-up for every piece with little allowance for discrepancy.


After ripping the stock on the tablesaw, I used spring-loaded stop blocks for cross cutting all the pieces to length on the mitre saw to ensure accuracy without the risk of kickback (photo 1).


I also tried to match the grain to give each stand the most pleasing appearance (photo 2).

Glue up the frames

If you have a lot of frames to glue up, and with drying time for PVA glue measured in hours, you will need a lot of clamps (60 in my case). I probably could summon enough clamps for the job, but I did not like the long waiting time. My solution was to use CA glue and an accelerator to cut the clamping time to minutes, which also allowed me to reuse the same small number of clamps.


Furthermore, CA glue does not have the problem of mating parts sliding around on PVA glue when clamping pressure is applied. Keeping the small frame flush and square as you clamp can still be challenging though, even with the CA glue.

To overcome that, I made a simple L-clamping fixture so I could hold the stiles and rail flush and square at the same time while applying clamps (photo 3). The gluing process, though rather labour- intensive, went very smoothly, thanks to the choice of glue and use of an L-platform.

Assemble before drilling

Drilling the hinge holes is the most critical step in the construction phase of the project, after stock preparation. All the holes must be drilled precisely for the folding to be faultless as the ledges, kickstands and feet are  relatively thin. Typically, one would mark the centre points and set up a stop block on the drill press fence to drill each part.


My drilling approach was different to ensure that the mating holes bored on the frames and on the body parts would line up perfectly. Instead of drilling the parts as individual components, I bored all the holes with everything assembled first. Here is how: Place the kickstand and spacer inside the frame as shown in photo 4 above.


Place both the foot and ledge on top of the kickstand and spacer (photo 5).


Position the foot and ledge properly, and hold them in place with tape (photo 6). Flip the assembly over, position the kickstand, and tape over it as well as the spacer to finish the temporary assembly.

Drill the hinge holes


The most efficient way to drill all the pin holes (180 of them for 30 stands) is to set up a stop block and finish the one hole on all the assemblies, before resetting and boring the next hole (photo 7). Use a long drill bit, or bore the holes from both sides of the stand. After boring all the holes, install the nails, remove the tape, and test all the folding.

Drill the blind holes


On each stand, one half blind hole and two blind holes are drilled. Refer to the diagram for the drilling details and mark the centre points for the half blind holes. Next, drill a half blind hole on the backside of the top rail to make a finger pull for all the frames (photo 8). To avoid blunders, mark the finger pull on all the frames, and use one depth stop and stop block setting to drill the half blind holes. 


Then reset the fence and two stop blocks, engage the depth stop and drill the blind holes on the foot to receive the kickstand (photo 9).

Cut the kickstands to shape

It would be a lot of work to taper the kickstands on the bandsaw, and sand them to the taper lines on the sander. I came up with a better method to mass produce the tapered feet – using a zero-clearance cutting jig (see AWR #111). The jig essentially is a strip of wood glued at right angle to a board.


The jig takes the place of the saw table and allows you to set up a cradle to position the kickstand at the right taper angle to the blade (photo 10). Double-side tape the tapering cradle on the cutting jig, and set the depth of trench cut to just below the jig’s surface. 


In use, clamp the jig in place, hold down the kickstand in the cradle, and cut a taper on one side (photo 11).


Then flip the kickstand in the cradle, and repeat the cut to finish the tapering (photo 12). You can taper with consistent results like that all day long – safely and efficiently.

Apply the finish


Given the hinged design and parts, it is best to apply finish before the final assembly. But, first ease all the sharp edges including the rims of the holes on the feet (photo 13). If desired, mark your work, and apply a couple coats of boiled linseed oil or any finish of your choice.

Prepare the pins and assemble


The head of the nail is slightly larger than the shaft. To prevent splitting, grind the head smaller for a friction fit into the 2mm (5/64") dia hinge holes (photo 14).


Finally, assemble  everything, and set the nails in place (photo 15).

Thirty may sound like a lot, but as I checked off the names on the recipient list for the small gift, I realised that they would disappear fast as, in this digital device age, everyone can use a stand or carry one in their bag. If you are planning your own production run and wonder how many you should make, you have been warned!

Some of the articles mentioned here by Charles Mak are shown above right under "Related Articles".

Charles Mak is a Canadian author and woodworker, and a contributor to Australian Wood Review.

comments powered by Disqus