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Wendell Castle Inspired Music Stand

Wendell Castle-inspired music stand in bent-laminated black walnut. 48" h x 24" w x 17-1/4" d.

A first attempt at recreating the iconic '60s-era music stand by Wendell Castle. My version tones down some of the swoopy drama of the original form, but hopefully maintains its spirit. I will probably bring some of that back in future builds. The dimensions in the sketch above were written down after I completed the piece. During the build, I just winged it.

I first saw this music stand years ago in a coffee table book on modern furniture. Its sculptural quality reminded me of rocking chairs by the California woodworker, Sam Maloof (1916-2009). I initially thought it might actually be a piece by Maloof. Upon further inspection, however, I learned Wendell Castle made it. So I gathered up several books on both makers to figure out what other designs each had made (and who's I liked best). Turns out Maloof designed and built a few music stands of his own around the same time as Castle, but to my eye they looked flabby and unrefined. Castle (1932-2018), the New York academic, routinely built both massive and lightweight forms with flair, while Maloof, the self-taught craftsman, tended to fly by the seat of his pants designwise. Maloof is best known for perfecting the American rocking chair over a lifetime. Castle, on the other hand, experimented with wild ideas for 50 years. I think he got his music stand just right.

The original 'Music Stand' by Wendell Castle (1964).

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