How to Make a Cross Base Lectern

Written by mike andrews
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How to Make a Cross Base Lectern
Lectern in a church (Lecturn image by TMLP from

Making a cross base speaking lectern is an easy way to provide a much-needed tool for schools, churches, social groups, conferences and any formal setting with a central speaker who will address an audience. With the right tools and materials at hand, you can make an attractive, portable speaking lectern that's both functional and inexpensive in about an hour.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 1 board, 1" x 4" x 48"
  • 1 board, 2" x 2" x 48"
  • 1 piece of board or plywood at least 1 inch thick, 12 inches long and 20 inches wide
  • 1 piece of wedge-shaped wooden floor trim at least 20 inches long
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or marker
  • Jig saw or woodworking saw
  • Power screwdriver or drill with screwdriver bit
  • Hammer
  • 7 wood screws, 2 inches long
  • 3 nails, 1 inch long
  • Varnish (optional)
  • Paint brush (optional)

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    How to Make a Cross Base Lectern

  1. 1

    Using your marker and tape measure, mark the 1" x 4" x 48" board with a line across its middle (horizontally) and cut it straight across to make two 24-inch boards. Then measure and mark a line at 10 inches from each end on each of the boards, framing a 4-inch block in the middle of each board.

  2. 2

    Along the side of each board, measure and mark a point half an inch down just below the ends of the 10-inch lines on its face. Connect the points with a line and connect that line to the lines above, so that you've marked a rectangular notch along the side of each board.

  3. 3

    Using your saw and starting inside the marked notch, cut an arc from the face of the board to one corner of the notch. Next, cut the board vertically along the notch's edge to remove that side of the notch. Finally, make a cut horizontally along the bottom of the notch until you reach the corner, then make a vertical cut to remove the remaining notch from the board, leaving a square, half-inch indentation in the board. Repeat this process for each of the 24-inch boards. You can now create the "feet" of your lectern to the stand by interlocking the 24-inch boards where their notches coincide.

  4. 4

    Place the "feet" within each reach, along with your screwdriver (or drill) and screws. Holding the 2" x 2" x 48" board upright on its end, position the lectern feet atop it, so that the feet are centred on top of the "post." Screw four screws through the feet and into the post, spacing them evening apart in a square pattern so as not to split the post. You may now stand the post on its feet and place it aside.

  5. 5

    Mark the top of your post with a horizontal line that's 3 inches down from the top and cut it so that the remaining height of your stand is 46 inches. Then mark a point 1 1/2 inches down from the top and draw a straight line from that point across the face of the post back to the top on the opposite side of your mark (thus creating a upward diagonal line across the face of the board). Brace the stand on a table or saw horse and cut the top again along this line, leaving the top of the stand cut at an angle.

  6. 6

    Placing the stand aside, measure and mark your large piece of board or plywood to create a rectangle 12 inches high and 20 inches wide. (You may extend these dimensions by a few inches to create a taller or wider lectern "face.") Cut the board along the lines you've created to shape the face to the desired size.

  7. 7

    Mark and cut the wedge-shaped piece of floor trim to match the width of the lectern face (the larger of the two measurements you used in the step above). Alternately, you can also use a 1/2- or 3/4-inch strip cut from the large board or plywood you used above if you have some left over.

  8. 8

    Place the trim piece from above on top of and along one edge of the lectern face. (This length should match exactly.) Nail the trim in place with a nail at each end of the trim and one in the middle.

  9. 9

    Turn the lectern face over and mark one horizontal and one vertical line across the back, with each line marking the middle of the board and the lines crossing in the exact centre.

  10. 10

    With your screwdriver and screws within reach, place the top of the lectern on the stand so that the face is centred, using the point of intersection of the lines on the back. Attach the top to the stand with one screw in the middle of the top and two screws slightly below it, placing them an inch apart so as not to split the stand.

  11. 11

    Dress up your lectern with a coat of varnish to create a rich, shiny colour and to help protect the wood from damage.

Tips and warnings

  • If the notches in your lectern "feet" don't match, simply adjust them with your saw until they can interlock.
  • If you choose to varnish your stand, be sure to do so in a well-ventilated area and with plenty of newspapers under it to catch drips. Clean your brush with paint stripper or thinner when you're done.
  • If the cut made in Step 5 to create an angled top to your stand isn't cut straight, the top of your lectern may wobble. Test the fit of the lectern top to the stand before attaching it so that any necessary corrections can be made to the stand before final assembly.

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