Steady a tablet or book at the optimal reading height.
Is reading or working on your tablet or smartphone a pain in the neck? If so, you could be suffering from a condition known as “tech neck.” This quick project helps eliminate that discomfort by elevating the device to a more comfortable viewing level. The holder’s long base lets it rest on the arms of a chair.
What the heck is “tech neck?”
Medical studies have shown that spending too much time looking down at a digital device compresses the muscles and ligaments in the front of your neck while overstretching those in the back of your neck. This can lead to pain and stiffness in the short term, with possible long-term effect to your spine and nervous system.
Make the base
1 Cut the base (A) to size [Materials List, Exploded View]. Lay out the locations for the dovetail slots, then bevel the back edge.
2 From 1⁄2" stock, build the dovetail-slot jig to fit your router [Drawing 1]. Clamp the jig to the base and rout the slots [Photo A].
3 From ¾" stock, cut two 43⁄8×13" blanks for the uprights (B), along with a test piece about 4×6". Lay out the shape of the upright [Drawing 2], and miter-cut the bottom of each piece. (Cutting the back angle later makes it easier to rout the dovetails and rabbets in the next steps.)
4 Install the dovetail bit in your router table, set for a 3⁄8"-deep cut. Set the fence to reveal about 1⁄8" of the bit. Using your test piece, rout a dovetail along one end [Photo B]. When you have a good fit, rout both uprights (B).
5 Install a 1⁄4" straight or spiral bit in the router table, raised to make a 3⁄8"-deep cut. Use a scrap of the 1⁄4" plywood to position the fence, exposing the bit equal to the plywood thickness. Rout a rabbet in the test piece, and check the fit of the plywood; adjust as needed.
6 Lay out the end of the stopped rabbet on the outside face of each upright (B) [Drawing 2]. Make a mark on the left (outfeed) fence 53⁄8" from the near side of the bit. Rout the rabbet in each upright [Photo C], and square up the corners with a chisel. Cut the back angle of each upright and sand smooth.
7 Cut the panel (C) and panel trim (D) to size [Drawing 3, Exploded View]. Rabbet the ends and the bottom front edge of the panel trim, and glue it to the panel.
Add the shelf
1 Cut the shelf (E) [Drawing 4] to size, notch the ends, and cut the groove for the panel. Then, notch the front face [Photos D and E]. Clean up the notches with a chisel and sand smooth.
2 Cut the shelf edges (F) [Exploded View] and glue them to the shelf, flush at the bottom and ends.
3 Begin assembly by sliding the two uprights into their grooves—unglued—and then glue the panel (C/D) in place [Photo F].
4 Glue the shelf assembly to the uprights and panel. After the glue dries, remove the upright assembly from the base and do any touch-up sanding as needed. Glue the uprights into the dovetail slots in the base flush with the back edge of the base.
5 Apply finish. We wiped on two coats of Walrus Oil cutting board oil.