I am done with the building process on Debra's lectern! I worked on it for nearly 5 hours today, and boy are my arms tired!
First thing this morning I routed a chamfer profile on the legs and upper supports. A chamfer is just a 45º angle cut
along the edges. This softens the edge a bit and breaks up the squareness of the piece, adding visual appeal.
I followed up the legs and upper supports with a matching chamfer on all for edges of the column. This created huge clouds of coarse dust which could still be trying to settle some seven hours after I left my shop. Routers and plywood don't play well together as far as my lungs and eyes are concerned. I'm not sure that was grammatically correct, but you get the idea.
Anyway, I then drilled a hole on the bottom of each end of the legs, screwed a treaded brass insert into each hole, and screwed the height adjustable legs into place. I installed the upper supports with glue and lag screws and did the same with the legs. This gave me a rock solid platform on which to mount the work surface... which I had yet to build. And I was running out of birch plywood.
Rather than delay the building process I decided to use some other plywood I had lying around to finish the project. It's rock hard, easy to work and very durable. It's just like the birch plywood I used on the rest of this unit, but without the actual birch. I'm not exactly sure what it's made of. I know it looks like pine in some places but not in others. Regardless, it's perfectly good material for anything intended for use in a junior high school.
I cut the lower shelf, the one that's parallel with the floor. It's a bit smaller than 20" square. I attached the double thick back wall to it after taking a 12º angled wedge off the top. Then I measured from the front edge of the lower shelf to the back edge of the angled wall, cut another piece to that length and the same width as the lower shelf.
I drilled three holes in the upper end of the top. These holes are big enough to hold a pen or pencil each. I figured I should make this thing as useful as possible and that seems like a very useful addition. A storage shelf in the right side also seems useful, and is just a good use of otherwise wasted space. Karl Champly would be so proud.
Finally I just lined up my pencil marks, drilled a few pilot holes, spread some glue and screwed the top to to the base, then mounted top, supported by a long, pie shaped piece on one side and a very tiny one on the other, leaving a space in front of the tiny one for paper/folder storage, utilizing the afore mentioned otherwise wasted space. With the addition of a piece on the bottom end to keep books and/or pencils from rolling off, the building process was completed.
Now the lectern is drying after being sanded up to 220 grit, then receiving a coat of satin polyurethane. Two more coats should do it. I'll move it to Debra's classroom tomorrow evening so I can use it Wednesday and Thursday when she's at an ESL conference and I'm subbing for her. And she can use it thereafter.
Update, September 30, 2008: Here's the lectern drying in the sun after a light sanding and a final coat of polyurethane.
And here it is in it's new home, room 506 of the Alvarado Junior High School.