A podium can be a beautiful and useful piece of furniture in a variety of spaces, from a stage or classroom to a church or temple. In designing and building a podium, it is important to consider how the finished piece will be used. The materials and methods used for its construction may be a function of the available budget.
Consider how and by whom the podium will be used. This helps determine how tall the podium should be, how large its surface is, and from what materials it is made. Wooden podiums are most common, can range in cost and scope from affordable simple pine or plywood to more expensive, richly finished hardwoods.
If wooden panels are used, means of attachment include doevtails or metal fasteners. Consider what sort of base the podium needs, whether wheels, feet or a solid flat base. If the podium is moved frequently, use lightweight materials in its construction. If it is to be permanently affixed to the floor, determine the means of attaching it.
Determine if any extra features will be included on the podium. This might include shelves that can be accessed from the speaker at the back of the podium. In some cases, the top of the podium contains a drawer or slot for a writing instrument. If a microphone is to be attached, include a microphone stand or a surface for one to be attached later. Some podiums contain a space for an electric speaker that can be attached to the microphone. Holes for cables may need to be drilled in the base or sides of the podium depending on the technology being used. Decorative elements such as carved wooden panels or mouldings must be incorporated into the design before anything is actually built.
Construction and Finishing
After careful planning, constructing a podium is a relatively simple process. Since multiple panels are joined together, precise measuring and cutting is necessary for a podium that is stable, level and durable. After the initial construction, sand and finish. This can be a time-consuming process, especially if multiple coats of paint, stain or varnish are needed. The specific procedure for finishing the podium is determined by the desired look as well as the type of wood being used.
Installation and Use
Install the finished podium where it will be used. If a microphone, speaker, lamp or other electronic elements are included, they must be attached. If the podium is going to be attached to the floor, this is the last step. Because this is a permanent step and may damage the floor, some people choose to use podiums that are portable and can be set up in different locations. Lightweight podiums, although easier to transport, may be less stable; placing weights in the podium's base will stabilise it.