Tap-Hole Maple Podium

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Project by justinwdemoss posted 08-12-2010 02:15 PM 5384 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first commissioned piece. It is a podium constructed from 3/4 tap-hole maple. For those that are not familiar with the wood, it is usually a by-product from the saw-mill. Maple logs that have tap-holes, from tapping for sap in the production of maple syrup, are usually chipped into mulch or cast off to the pallet wood pile due to “discoloration”. The tap-holes allow air to reach the interior of the tree causing the dark “discolorations” in the wood, giving a very unique feature. All of the wood for this project came from the “shorts” pile at the local woodworking shop no piece longer than 40” and cost $2.75 a board foot. While not cheap buy sawmill standards, the rough cut wood was 1/3 the cost of hard maple at the woodworking store.

I have been watching the tap-hole at the store for several months and was sure there was a project there. In June, my neighbor, who owns The Original Pancake House in Montgomery, OH (a suburb of Cincinnati) asked about where he could get a podium to use as a hostess stand. What could be more perfect for the Pancake House that serves real maple syrup than a podium made from tap-hole maple? I hope it will be a conversation piece as well as a great introduction to the eatery.

As I mentioned at the start, this is my first major work and many will point out that it does not have the dovetails and other marks of great craftsmanship, but it has been a skill-builder for me. Most of the joints are made with pocket screws, except for the column which uses biscuits. The finish is marine polyurethane, not the fanciest, but in stock in my shop. The goal was to build a nice piece and stay well under budget. The materials for the project came in at just over $75 as I had the finish, and casters left over from other projects. The only piece that is not tap-hole maple is the podium top with is 1/2 maple plywood chosen due to the need for a very flat work surface.

The design features adjustable feet in the front to eliminate wobble, and casters and handle to allow for easy movement utilizing a well balanced design for single hand use. Additionally, the top is larger than the base and hangs over in the back to allow the hostess to stand up close without bumping her feet into the base and to balance the weight allowing for an easy one-hand movement for repositioning. The podium will be outside during business hours on the busiest days and mobility was a key feature for the owner. If you are in the Cincinnati area and looking for a great place to breakfast or lunch, stop in to the Original Pancake House in Montgomery and while you are there checkout the “outdoor” hostess stand.

-- Justin in Loveland, OH

5 comments so far

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3516 days

#1 posted 08-12-2010 03:07 PM

Great job!! Nice engineering, like the wood.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4576 days

#2 posted 08-12-2010 03:13 PM

Nice podium.
Nice neighborhood – ribs, bikes, pancakes and now, podiums.

-- 温故知新

View TulsaWoodSmith's profile


228 posts in 3805 days

#3 posted 08-12-2010 03:27 PM

It is a good looking piece. Congratulations on a paying job:) That is always great fun. BTW what you built is a LECTERN not a Podium. A podium is something you stand on. Sometimes they are combined into a single unit, and that may be the cause of some confusion.


-- TulsaWoodSmith, Tulsa, OK The tools aren't the problem-It's the organic interface!

View justinwdemoss's profile


148 posts in 3343 days

#4 posted 08-12-2010 04:33 PM

Actually, a lectern is a smaller unit that sets on top of a table, or some other similar piece and has become increasingly common in pre-fab, sterile box-like cookie-cutter classrooms in universities and community colleges. Bust to be honest, its not a podium, but a hostess stand. Podium generates more hits on blog pages and websites. However, from a very technical perspective, you may be right.

-- Justin in Loveland, OH

View cwdance1's profile


1159 posts in 3707 days

#5 posted 08-12-2010 10:18 PM

Beautiful wood, great job.

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