Display Stand For 60 Million Year-old Stalagmite

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Project by OttoH posted 07-23-2014 10:25 PM 1827 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was commissioned by Wonderland Cave in Nemo South Dakota to build a display stand for a 60 million year-old Dogtooth Stalagmite. There were a lot of factors to take into consideration, since it was being installed in a busy visitor’s center and it weighs 450 pounds the number one consideration was safety. In order to keep it from tipping over and to keep someone trying to pull it over I decided to set the stalagmite at a 35 degree angle.

Since the back of the stalagmite is very rough and lumpy I decided to make a mold out of concrete for the stalagmite to fit into. I then mounted the concrete into the display stand to support the stalagmite.

The stand has a ¾ inch thick sheet of solid core plywood for the base, I put in 2×4 framework and 2×8 pieces to hold the weight of the stalagmite. I supported the concrete form with four 2×4s to keep it solid with the weight on it. I covered the stand with ¾ inch MDF glued and screwed to the frame. I covered the MDF with ¼ inch Birch plywood, sanded it down, put on three coats of dark oak stain, and finished it off with four coats of furniture paste wax.

It took two guys to put the stand in place and four guys to move the stalagmite into position. They had to creep the stalagmite along because it was too heavy for the four of them to pick up and place it in on movement.

Everyone seems happy with the finished product, had the local newspaper there documenting the process, should be an article highlighting the stalagmite and my workshop coming out in a couple of days. Usually I can say “well, things are going” today I can say “things are going well”

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

6 comments so far

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1932 posts in 4826 days

#1 posted 07-23-2014 10:59 PM

That is VERY nice!! Awesome job!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30627 posts in 3493 days

#2 posted 07-23-2014 11:07 PM

Great job. Very cool display.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View oldnovice's profile


7709 posts in 4522 days

#3 posted 07-24-2014 01:07 AM

Outstanding job for a piece of geological sidnificance! Very well thought out.

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4489 days

#4 posted 07-24-2014 09:38 AM

Very well thought out and executed Otto. It looks great and safe for the public and the stalagmite.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View OttoH's profile


891 posts in 4164 days

#5 posted 07-24-2014 09:46 AM

Thanks everyone, I appreciate the comments very much. Bring an Industrial Engineer, the proper safety techniques were very important to me, I was asked how long it took to build it, the reply I gave was 2 1/2 weeks, 2 weeks of design and three days for construction. Because of it’s weight the first time the stalagmite was in the stand was when it was installed, I was a little concerned that my measurements might have been off, but it went in perfectly.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View drbyte's profile


848 posts in 5217 days

#6 posted 07-24-2014 12:36 PM

Nice job! Love Deadwood area, had a great trip out that way a couple of years back!

-- Dennis, WV

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