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Thread: Joinery Question for pulpit base

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St George,Ontario,Canada
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    43

    Joinery Question for pulpit base

    First I want to thank everyone who has been helpful on my previous projects with suggestions, ideas and congratulations. For my next project I have been asked to build a pulpit/lectern for my pastor. Well I found one that he really likes and the picture is attached. I can figure out the dimensions by copying his old one, but the question I have is how to attach the sides to the top and base.

    The picture is one I found at SMC done by Tom Jones. I plan to do the sides with solid oak and I thought the base and top could be plywood trimmed with solid wood. How would I attach the sides to take in consideration wood movement? I was thinking about a mortise on the sides with the tenon routed in the base and top. Is this the best way to do it or should I plan to do it another way? If I use a mortise and tenon joint I believe the mortise would be roughly 11" wide by 3/4-1" deep.

    The pulpit would stand in the sanctuary all the time and I don't think the temperature is kept constant all week. I figured to make the sides about 12" wide because that is about as big as I can go with my planer. I have already glued up the sides with 3 boards for a total width of about 14" which I plan to trim down.

    I have just thought of something else as well, should the sides be made out of plywood and trimmed with solid wood so the wood movement issue wouldn't be a problem? The mortise and tenon would work then no problem. I am open to suggestions from all of you. Please help.

    Thanks
    Stephan
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails podium.jpg  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    810
    If you used plywood (or particle board) for the top and bottom, then you could:

    1. veneer all the edges either with solid wood or with wood grain laminate
    2. veneer the faces (upper bottom face and bottom upper face) that the sides fasten to
    3. glue and screw the top and bottom to the sides by screwing from the top down and from the bottom up
    4. fill the screw holes with bondo and then sand them smooth
    5. veneer the top of the top and the bottom of the bottom (if you think the bottom should be covered)


    cheers

    John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Constantine, MI
    Posts
    7,891
    That is a very handsome and ambitious piece Stephen! Very nice. I can't wait to see the "in progress" shots. Please keep us posted!
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Brandon, MS
    Posts
    44
    Stephan, If you do make the sides out of solid wood, I would go the mortise and tenon route. However, I would go with two 3"-4" tenons and give the mortise towards the back a little play for expansion.
    Don

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Odessa, Tx
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    1,813
    Stephan, I agree with Don's joint solution. Now, I know you didn't ask this, but there is one thing that just doesn't look right about the one in the picture. To me, the Base just doesn't fit with the rest of the overall design. Have you thought about making the Base with similar curves like the TOP? I also think that the Grain stands out too much on the base and detracts from the looks of the sides. I think it would look MUCH better without the square type base shown in the picture. Just my thoughts.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
    Posts
    5,998
    Stephan,

    I agree with John Bartley about the construction techniques. I might add biscuits or dowels along the joints, but then glue and screw as described.

    The base would be more attractive if you made the sides convex to complement the concave sides of the top.

    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St George,Ontario,Canada
    Posts
    43
    Thanks guys for the suggestions. I think my best bet would be to try the 2 tenons 3-4 "in length on the sides like Don suggested with a little bit of room for expansion in the mortices. Question though, how much should I allow for expansion? Would 1/8" do or would I need more? The sides are made out of solid wood.

    John I thought about doing it all in plywood or particleboard and then veneering, but my veneering skills are very lacking. I tried veneering 2 pieces of veneer together about 1 month ago and it ended up in the scrape heap. Maybe I could find a large enough veneer piece at a lumber supplier that I could just trim the top to size after applying it.

    If I go the plywood way I would trim the edges with solid wood anyway and I could plane down the trim to match ther thickness of the veneered pieces. Norman and Bill I agree the bottom doesn't match the top to well and I was thinking of making the bottom to match the top. Thanks for suggesting that.

    Rennie I hope to get a few in progress pictures, but without a camera it can be difficult sometimes.

    Thanks
    Stephan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Brandon, MS
    Posts
    44
    Stephan, I believe you said the sides would be about 12" wide. I think you are right on, I would give about 1/8" to 3/16" for expansion.
    Don

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