Hardworking Lazy Susan

Comments (0)

This article is from Issue 58 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Hardworking Lazy Susan

Give your outdoor dining table a new spin.

Overall dimensions: 191 ⁄2"w × 191 ⁄2"d × 11 ⁄4"h

Passing the ketchup and mustard around the picnic table just got a whole lot easier with this table topper. Glue and splines hold the perimeter of the table frame together. A lazy Susan bearing hidden in a channel underneath allows for the rotation, while a hole in the center of the assembly accommodates an umbrella shaft. With the stock and bearing on hand, you can build the piece in an afternoon. 

Make the perimeter frame

  1. Starting with an 8'-long cedar 2×6 or a piece of 6/4 cedar of similar length and width, mill the wood to 11⁄4" thick by 31⁄2" wide for the perimeter frame pieces (A).
  2. Install a 3⁄4"-wide dado set in your tablesaw, and raise it 3⁄4" above the table. Adjust the fence 1" from the dado set, and begin cutting a 17⁄8"-wide channel, 3⁄4" deep, on one face of the board. Adjust the fence as necessary to achieve the channel’s full width. (This will be the bottom face; the edge in contact with the fence will be the outside edge.)
  3. Using a 1⁄4" dado set and a sacrificial fence placed alongside it, cut a 1⁄4" rabbet, 3⁄4" deep along the top face and inside edge of the board, where shown in Figure 1.
  4. Adjust your mitersaw to the right to cut at 671⁄2° (or 221⁄2°, depending on your saw’s settings). Set up a 4"-wide stopblock on the right side of the blade for an 8"-long cut to create the trapezoids making up the perimeter frame. Now, make a test cut on a 31⁄2"-wide piece of scrap. Swing the blade to 671⁄2° to the left. Slide the test piece against the stop and make the cut. Verify the angles and length. Next, set the blade to 671⁄2° right, and cut the first miter at the right end of the perimeter board stock. Set the blade to 671⁄2° to the left, slide the mitered end of the board to the stop, and cut the first perimeter frame piece (A). Repeat the procedure to cut the remaining seven frame pieces.
  5. Using an exterior-grade glue and working on a flat surface, glue up the perimeter frame pieces (A) to form an octagon, clamping with a strap clamp. Let the glue set up and remove the strap.
  6. Make the slot-cutting jig in Figure 2 for your tablesaw using scrap 3⁄4" MDF or plywood. Shape a pair of add-on fences to suit the octagonal frame, and adhere them to the jig’s tall fence using double-faced tape. Install a saw blade in your saw that cuts a flatbottomed kerf, and raise the blade to cut 3⁄4"-deep into the corners of the octagonal frame. Adjust the saw fence to center the slot cuts in the edge of the frame. Now, place the frame on the jig, clamp it in place, and cut the first spline slot. Similarly, cut the remaining slots at each perimeter joint.
  7. Resaw enough 1"-wide spline stock to fit the spline slots. (I used walnut for contrast.) Cut the pieces to length, work glue into the slots with a thin applicator, and tap the splines in place. After the glue sets, trim and sand the splines flush to the edges of the octagonal frame.

Add the tabletop boards, stabilizer, and bearing

  1. Cut enough 3⁄4"-thick stock to 31⁄8" wide for the outside tabletop boards (B) and inside tabletop boards (C).
  2. Measure to fit and cut the ends of the outside tabletop boards (B) at 671⁄2°. Note that these pieces fit snugly against the inside edges of the octagonal frame. Fit the pieces in place, as shown in Figure 1.
  3. Measure the distance between the outside tabletop boards (B). Subtract from this number the combined widths of the two inside tabletop boards (C). Divide the remainder by three for the spacing between the tabletop boards once in place.
  4. Cut the inside tabletop boards (C) to length. Using the established spacing, set the boards on the octagonal frame opening parallel to the outside tabletop boards (B), and mark the angles for a snug fit. Cut the corners of the tabletop boards, and test their fit and spacing. Glue and pin (or clamp) all the pieces in place in the frame’s rabbet.
  5. Cut the octagonal stabilizer (D) to the size in the Cut List. Center and glue it in place, orienting the grain at a 45° angle to the grain direction of the tabletop boards.
  6. Drill a centered 11⁄2" hole for an umbrella shaft in the lazy Susan assembly (A/B/C/D).
  7. With a 1⁄4" radius round-over bit in a router table or handheld router, round over the edges of the lazy Susan and the 11⁄2" hole. Avoid letting the bearing dip into the gap between the boards. Sand the assembly through 220 grit. Apply an exterior finish. (I used Sikkens Cetol SRD.)
  8. Center the bearing in the channel in part A, and screw it in place. The rubber feet extend below the assembly.


Write Comment

Write Comment

You must be logged in to write a comment. Log In

Top of Page