Homemade Wood Lectern Podium




Introduction: Homemade Wood Lectern Podium

This is  a wood lectern I put together for my sister-in-law. She wanted one for her classroom. It's made from one 4'x8' piece of oak veneered plywood, 3/4" thick. I have done a few wood based instructables and am an amateur , at best. But , I try to focus on making an idea come to form, from inception to reality with the experience and tools I have available to myself. You can too.  

TOOLS: Small table saw, miter saw, jig saw, drills, orbital sander,  counter sink bits, clamps, speed square, sandpaper, glue, biscuit joiner and all the other usual suspects in the tool box.

MATERIALS: 4' x 8' oak veneered plywood 3/4" thick, scrap wood for shelf cleats, some 2x4 scraps for the base, glue, biscuits, glue-on veneer trim roll. Stain, spray clear coat.

Cost: Around 75$ for materials.

I looked at factory lecterns to get an idea of how to make it look. I'v never made a lectern before this request. Google image, of course, helped with this. See the picture of the lectern that costs 300$, "I can make that", I thought.  The sites that were selling lecterns had the dimensions. It turns out 48 inches is the going height . Well, hey,  I'v got a 48" wide sheet of plywood  !  So , I was good to go there, no cutting wood off the end, just slice the sheet across. the sides are 22" wide the front is 24" across. So, it's easy to slice up the sheet for the  3 sides. The bookrest top and the inner shelves are 22" wide and glued to runner/cleat strips of wood about an inch wide. the cleats were glued and brad tacked into place. The base is made of 2x4's that had there front edge routed round. I used a jigsaw to cut the diagonal edge to the sides. The sides are held together with biscuits and glue. A few drywall screws hold the sides together as well as the bottom shelf and base. The wood was sanded down with 120,220, 400 grit paper. 
 Ultimately, the wood was stained with a waterproof exterior stain, BEHR, it is supposed to be redwood colored but I think it is a bit on the pink side..two coats..My staining technique prowess is average at best. I just painted the stain on, with the grain, then wiped it off 5 minutes later with a shop cloth . The stain is thicker in some areas..oh well..Then lastly , the lectern was sprayed with a clear coat finish. 

And since this was for a classroom setting, this lectern needed a white board front. The original idea was chalk board paint, which I tested on a piece of scrap and I think would have worked fine. But , I like white board better , mainly because it's easier to clean and rewrite on. Well a standard piece of white board is 2' x 4' and fit perfectly to the front of the lectern. But , I didn't want to mar the front with a permanent white board because the oak stained front was kinda nice, besides maybe this lectern would be used for formal occasions where a white board  would look tacky. So, I wanted a removable white board . What I came up with was a piece of 2x4 , routed out on the bottom , that fit on the top forward edge of the lectern and held the top edge of the white board in place with pressure only. The  bottom was resting on the 2x4 base of the lectern. So, this gave flexibility of removing the board to clean /write on it with out having to squat down to do it. FTW, I think. 

Well, my SIL liked the lectern. I delivered it to her classroom and she says her fellow teachers will be jealous. LOL. Well, what more could I want?

Step 1: First Cut Your Main Pieces

These are the basic steps taken to assemble the lectern. Flesh them out as needed to suite your own build.

1: Cut plywood sides 48"x20"  , front 48"x22", top shelf 4"x22", internal shelves 22"x 20"

2: Marked where cuts were needed for the diagonal cuts  on the sides. Used a jigsaw to cut off those areas.

3: I drilled in several drywall screws to attach the bottom shelf to the sides. Screws were countersunk a bit. Fill in screw areas with filler, sand  down..

4: Used a orbital sander to sand down the filler in the screw holes and generally smooth out the surface. Started with 120 grit , 220, then 400 grit sandpaper .

Step 2: Attach Shelves and Top and Smooth Rough Wood Down.

: Planned out where the shelves should go. Put both sides on a table and made mirror images of where the cleats should be placed.
Attached cleats with glue and brad nails.

: I drilled in 2 drywall screws per side to attach the bottom shelf to the sides. Screws were countersunk a bit. Fill in screw areas with filler, sand  down..

: Used a orbital sander to sand down the filler in the screw holes and generally smooth out the surface. Started with 120 grit , 220, then 400 grit sandpaper .

: The top shelf book holder piece is just glued on and clamped for 20 hours.

Step 3: Joining the Sides to the Front

1: Use a biscuit joiner to cut the places for the biscuits. I placed 5 to a side for the sides to be connected to the front. Use wood glue in the joints. Use a small brush to spread the glue in the biscuit areas and along the sides where the wood panels meet. Clamp the sides down to secure the sides to the front.   Let dry overnight / 20 hours .

Step 4: Base

1: The base is made of 2"x4" studs. The edges were rounded off with a router . The studs were attached to the bottom sides of the plywood with 3" exterior PTL screws and wood glue. Pilot holes were drilled before the screws were put in.

2: Reused refrigerator foot pads were put in the studs. My SIL was concerned about marking up the classroom floor so I though these foot pads would lift the lectern off the floor .

Step 5: Trim and Stain

The lasts steps are to:

1: Iron on the oak veneer trim. It's 3/4 inch wide and comes in a roll about 24' long. Costs about 5$. Just use an iron heated up and press and guide it along the edges.

2: Sand once more, the entire surfaces to be stained. Sand up to 400 grit.

3: Stain the surfaces. Paint it on with a fine brush, wait about 5 minutes and wipe the excess off.
Let it dry for a day.

4: Spray a clear coat protective finish on.

Step 6: White Board Retainer Piece.

White board retainer piece.

1: cut a piece of stud the width of the top.

2: rout out a space wide enough for the top edge (3/4") plus the width of the white board (1/8")

3: make cuts at both right and left sides to make room for the side edges.

4: sand and stain and clear coat.

Step 7: Deliver to Classroom

Took about a month of my spare time to build this. Delivered to SIL classsroom..Next up is a plyobox.

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2 years ago

Do you know how many inches the angle part of the side is that you first cut out with the jigsaw?

garry meador
garry meador

Question 3 years ago on Step 1

What is the angle on the top?


Answer 3 years ago

Around 20*... Kinda guessing.... I made it years ago...


Question 5 years ago on Step 3

Is there a way to do this without a biscuit joiner? I have only very basic tools (mostly handheld), and no shop/garage or anything.


9 years ago on Step 7

good looking lecturn,, really like the white board in front, very nice


9 years ago

Great job. It turned out nice. Thanks for posting .


9 years ago on Introduction

That is just amazing. Nice info mate. I need this. I work full time from home and needed my computer to stuff close to me. This will be handy.