Conductor's podium from scraps

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Project by BinghamtonEd posted 05-25-2016 05:35 PM 1675 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a project that I completed a few months back, and forgot to post, until I went to a concert at my wife’s high school last night.

The band teacher, a friend of my wife’s, was wanting a new podium. The existing one was a huge (48×48…normal is typically around 32×32ish) eyesore of a plywood box, maybe 10-20 years old, painted black, and had clearly been used as a table for various art projects requiring bright paint. My wife asked me to make a new one, as the school was not about to pony up any money for one.

So, the only requirements were that it a.) had to support a person while conducting, b.) had to be cheap and c.) had to be quick.

The sides are made from off-cuts of ambrosia maple with a little spalting and some knots, wasn’t sure I was ever going to find a use for them, but I got the wood for free, so I kept it. The contours I put on the side wire done out of necessity, to get four usable pieces out of the lumber I had. I’m not crazy about them, but they work. I had to cut away some of the cruddy and/or cracked parts, and the profile was one I came up with that got rid of the junk from each of the four boards. I made a hardboard template, cut them out on the bandsaw, and them used a flush trim bit with the template. I filled the knots and beetle holes with epoxy.

The legs were made from some small cherry off-cuts. They are tapered on the two outer edges, and have thin rubber pads on the bottom to prevent slipping. The sides and the legs are joined with pocket screws.

The top is made from the cheapest 1/2” ply that was somewhat flat, I could find at home depot. I laminated two layers of it, and countersunk some screws that go through the top, into the sides, all around. I used indoor/outdoor carpet from Lowes, and trimmed it out with aluminum molding.

Sides/legs were finished with 4 coats of Arm-R-Seal, wiped on before assembly.

I think the total cost for all the materials was around $60, and I gave it to the band teacher as a birthday present.

Special thanks to LJ Cindy Braunheim, who agreed to let me copy design elements from her (much nicer) conductor’s podiums.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

5 comments so far

View JayT's profile


6069 posts in 2481 days

#1 posted 05-25-2016 06:45 PM

Well done, Ed. That’s way nicer than anything I stood on when teaching band.

-- In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View Eddie_T's profile


208 posts in 2342 days

#2 posted 05-27-2016 04:31 AM

Very nice, what is the height?

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2640 days

#3 posted 05-27-2016 11:50 AM

I don’t remember exactly, I think it was somewhere around 7-8”. I was at two concerts there this week, and was thinking that the height seemed just about perfect for the teacher. I think the old one was something ridiculous, like 10-11 inches.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Eddie_T's profile


208 posts in 2342 days

#4 posted 05-29-2016 12:22 AM

Thanks. No one would ever know the contours were out of necessity but to borrow words from the definition of elegance, have the quality of being pleasingly ingenious and simple. Thanks for sharing.

View Cindy Braunheim's profile

Cindy Braunheim

51 posts in 2885 days

#5 posted 05-31-2016 03:31 PM

Nice job, Ed!! Well done – don’t sell yourself short. You did what you needed to do with the tools and materials available to you. That is the mark of a true craftsman. Looks great!!

-- Cindy in Seattle,

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