Step 1: Materials and Tools
I've mix and matched metric and inches here (Canadians tend to do that) so double-check each number.
25-32 cm long piece of 2.2cm (1") wide square stock
18-24cm long 5/16" diameter dowel
5/16" drill bit
Miter saw (manual or powered)
Scroll saw or a coping saw or a 3/4" chisel
a hammer or mallet
Step 2: Basic Dimensions
The dimensions will also change depending on the diameter of the plate on display; I've listed three different sets of measurements here for a small, medium and large plate.
Square stock: 11.2cm (x2)
Long dowel: 10cm
Short dowel: 4cm (x2)
Square stock: 13.2cm (x2)
Long dowel: 13cm
Short dowel: 4cm (x2)
Square stock: 15.2cm (x2)
Long dowel: 15cm
Short dowel: 4.5cm (x2)
Step 3: Marking the cut lines and drill holes
For a nice balanced look, I placed the notch 2cm from the end. On the large stand, the notch is 3cm from the end for better support. Use a carpenter's square to make sure everything is squared up, otherwise it won't fit together properly. Also make sure that everything is precisely measured, or it won't fit. Take your time when you measure everything out for good results when you cut.
Each piece will have two holes drilled at opposite ends. At the "front" of the stand, the hole is placed at the center, 1.1cm from the sides and 1.1cm from the end. Mark this position using crosshairs.
The second hole is placed at the center of the notch, 1.1cm from the sides and 3.1cm from the end.
Step 4: Cut out the notch
You can also do this with a coping saw, but it's harder to get a perfect cut. It's also possible to use a coping saw or a dovetail saw to do the vertical cuts, then use a chisel to cut across the bottom. Make sure your chisel is nice and sharp to prevent splintering.
When both pieces are cut, they should fit together snugly. The two halves will stay together on their own, and will sit flat on a table. If you can't fit the two sides together then shave a very small amount of wood off the end of the notch. If the pieces don't lay flat, you may have to shave a bit off the bottom of the notch. A chisel is the best tool for this, but you could do it with a saw or lots of sanding.
Step 5: Drill the holes
In order to get the holes through the notches to line up, they should be drilled at the same time (ie. with the two pieces assembled). Clamp the two halves onto a piece of scrap wood, centered below the bit. Use at least one clamp per piece, so that each one is independently drawn flat against the drill press table. Then, drill the hole!
Step 6: Sanding and cleaning up
If any pencil marks are visible, erase them now before final assembly.
Step 7: Final Assembly
With another scrap piece of wood, use a hammer or mallet to drive the dowels into the two halves of the stand. It's easiest to do this on a concrete floor, but any hard, flat surface will do. The two smaller dowels go in the "front" holes, and the longer dowel goes through the "notch" hole. Dowels are sized very slightly larger than the matching drill bit size, so the fit will be nice and tight. The stand should hold together on its own.
If anything doesn't fit snugly, you can use carpenter's glue to make sure everything stay is one piece.
And that's just about it! If you'd like to paint or stain the stand, go right ahead! Match your decor! It's your choice.
Step 8: All done!
Really heavy plates may require a thicker rear dowel (say, 3/8") in addition to an overall larger stand.
You can add rubber feet to the bottom of the stand to avoid damage to the surface it's resting on.
With a sander or saw, you could round out or curve the edges of the stand to change the look.