Al Kepler makes some of the best stands I have seen. However the last time I asked him to post a how to article he was less than pleased. I am not sure he was less than pleased with the request, or whether it was the fact that it was me asking for the article?
Are you looking for 'formal' type stands? I think instructions for making this type stands may be too comprehensive to post online. Good joinery is needed and that planning can cause most people to get a headache - even good woodworkers.
There's a lot of heavy machinery needed to do this type work like jointers, planers, table saws and shapers or a real nice router table. These are things a hobby woodworker won't have at home or even access to use. Without some of there tools it would be difficult to make a nice stand.
Then comes the finishing procedure. Dyes and stains, sealers and finish coats. All the good stuff is commercial in nature are requires mixing and spraying of some pretty nasty stuff. Respirator use minimum and spray booth recommended.
I'm not trying to discourage you and I do have a suggestion - do you live near a city that has a Woodcraft (http://www.woodcraft.com/) store? They offer classes with access to all of the machinery needed along with good hands on teaching. Perhaps you could take some photos of stands in to them and see if you could do one in a class type setting. Generally the staff of the store are real helpful and they are woodworkers themselves.
Actually I have many how to articles at bonsaiTALK about how to build stands. Making an article about how to make stands in a way that would really be a help would be akin to making an article about restoring antique furniture. You can get some basic shots and tell some story, but as everyone knows there is more to it than can be conveyed in an article as well as telling how each tool is used.
My profile at AofB gives some insight as to how I go about figureing the size of the top and many of the articles at bonsaiTALK give some detailed pictures of construction techniques I have used. Someone handy at woodworking should need no more than that. Hopefully the link here will take you to an article with all the articles linked. You can find some pretty good info there. Scroll to post #112 and you will find them.
I find trying to teach how to build stands on the internet just as challenging as trying to explain to someone just how to make an artistic bonsai.
Irene , what is your level of profeciency with wood working ? Al is truely a master crafstman/artist with wood so his examples are truely of the highest level. I've been doing wood work all my life and can't approach his level. If you arn't a master woodworker maybe you should try some simple small tables similar to what is commonly found in wood working magazines and simply shorten the legs. You can modify dimensions easily enough so that say an end table can become a bonsai stand.
With the exception of one, all of the stands in this pictorial have been built by me. Tomorrow is the Akatsuki yearly exhibit. I took the time tonight to photograph all the displays I will enter. All of the trees are displayed in a portable Tokonoma I built last year. This will be set up in the foyer of the exhibit hall and will contain the display of the Trident maple, accent and scroll. The rest will be among all the other bonsai.
I am leaving for Oregon Monday and will not be back for a week. This is your chance to critique away unhindered as I will be nowhere in site.
For what its worth and not trying to blow smoke on Smoke, ( that might be redundant) Al makes some of the best stands I have seen and I have seen them in person. The workmanship is flawless and the finish is fine and durable. I know finishes, I work with them in the real world.
Heck , I love the fish on that last one. I don't think I'd put a bonsai on that one , just leave it alone. Maybe thats why it doesn't have anything on it. My wife would kill for that stand so I'm not gonna show this to her.......yes I am so Al , you might be in trouble.
Smoke - have you seen the new tool by Festool called the Domino Joiner? I was trying one out today at a woodworking store and it must be the best new tool I have seen in years. Fantastic for cutting slots for loose tenons in like 5 sizes, smallest down to 5/8" material I think. Would be great to use in stand assembly unless you are so old school you simply must cut all of the mortices and tenons by hand.
I gotta save up for one of these. Not cheap at all but wow - nice tool.
Now this is quite a coincedence. I was in the local Rockler store today looking at carving hand tools, gouges and knives. I checked to see if they got in any new cutter heads for the arbortech and low and behold I came across this tool. I think it is a little pricy right now at 700.00 but I think it will come down a lot if it catches on.
I really don't have much of a need for a tool like this. I don't do that many tenons to make it practicle. Most of the joints are too small for even this tool and the stretchers I install between legs where this might be usefull are too small. Other places like corners for the top board are covered with bisquits and I use modified tongue and groove or lap joints for the tops. Attaching the tops to the legas are done mostly with grooved dowels because of space restrictions. I use dowels even on the risers of my bi-level shohin stands. Drilling a 3/16 hole 1 inch deep in a 3/8 square riser is no place for a mortise and tenon machine.
I made two of these two years ago. I think the next time I do make stands this intricate for shohin the price will go up. I have a lot of work in this stand. Joanie has the other one. I am quite proud of this one of my own design.
I have recently gotten into veneer inlay, and have a CO2 laser here for my business. I have thought about trying to make a few stands, and wonder if anyone has seen any with inlay or marquetry work. The laser allows for cutting some fairly intricate detail.