This sturdy little stand is perfect for your deck or patio. It’s got
room for your favorite plants and it doesn’t take up a lot of space.When
the weather gets cold, you can easily bring it, and a bit of summertime,
There’s no complicated joinery, just glue and screws.The legs
simply chase each other around the base, like a pinwheel.The
arms follow suit,but they’re offset, so your plants have plenty
of room to grow.
Once you make templates for the legs and arms and the jig for routing the
discs, you’ll have the stand together in no time. For tools, you’ll need a
tablesaw, jigsaw, router and a drill, plus clamps and a file or rasp. If you use
construction-grade lumber, you won’t need a planer or jointer. Rip the 1-1/2-
in.-square column from a straight, clear 2x4 and use 1x stock for everything
else.We went whole-hog, making ours out of mahogany.We spent
about $100 for rough stock and milled it ourselves.
How to build it
1. Mill all the parts to thickness. Cut the column (A),
legs (B) and arms (E) to their finished dimensions.
2. Make templates for the leg and arm profiles (Fig.C).
3. Rough out the legs and arms with a jigsaw or bandsaw,
about 1/8-in. oversize. Smooth the profiles with a rasp and
sandpaper, a sanding drum mounted in your drill press,or an
oscillating spindle sander.
4. Position each leg on the column and drill pilot holes for the
screws (Photo 1). Be sure to mark the legs so they’ll go
back on the same column face during final assembly.
5. Round over the edges of the legs, except for
portions that support the discs or go against the
column (Fig.A).On the column, stop the roundovers
1-in. away from the joints.
6. Fasten the legs to the column with
weatherproof glue and stainless steel screws.
7. Attach the column support block (C).
8. Glue the triangular-shaped arm blocks
(D), cut from your leftover column stock, to
the column (Photo 2). If a stuck-on block
keeps sliding down the column, pull it
off, remove the excess glue and stick it back
on.Before gluing on the second pair,plane the
first pair flush.
9. Attach the arms, following the same
procedure you used for fastening the legs (Steps
4 through 6).Make sure the arms wrap around
the column in the same direction as the legs,
otherwise the discs won’t be properly staggered.
10. Make a jig to rout the discs (Part F, Fig. A and
Photo 3), cut them to rough size and rout them
(Fig. B). Then round over the edges.
11. On all discs but one, drill out both
holes left by the jig for the mounting
screws. Countersink the holes on one
side. Drill out only the center hole on
the disc that’ll go on top of the column.
Position the discs on the legs and arms,
drill pilot holes, and fasten them.
12. To keep your plants from getting
blown off their discs by the wind, you
may want to install pot spikes (G) in the
arms and legs (Fig.A,Detail 1). Drill out
the discs’ center holes, as well as the
corresponding screw holes in the legs
and arms,with a 3/8-in. bit. Then glue
sharpened mahogany or white oak
dowels into the arms and legs. Slip the
discs over the dowels and fasten them
with the remaining screws. Stake your
plants on the dowels,using the drainage
hole in the bottom of the pot. Provide
air space between the pot and the disc
by using a plastic “deck protector”
(available at garden stores).
- 6 lin. ft. of rough-sawn, 2-in.-square leg stock.
- 12 bd. ft. of 4/4 stock.
- Optional construction-grade materials:
1 2x4x6 ft., clear red cedar
1 1x12x12 ft., clear red cedar
- 32 #12 x 1-1/4-in. FH stainless steel screw.
- 2 #12 x 2-in. FH stainless steel screws.
- Weatherproof glue.
- 5 lin. ft. of 3/8-in. white oak or mahogany dowel rod,
for pot spikes (optional).
This story originally appeared in American Woodworker June 2002, issue #94.
June 2002, issue #94
Purchase this back issue.
Click any image to view a larger version.
1. A stop block
alignment when you
mount the legs. First,
clamp the stop block
to the column. Then,
clamp the leg to the
stop block, making
sure the bottoms of
the leg and column
are flush. After
drilling pilot holes,
countersink and drill
out the leg holes so
the screws will slip
through and fit flush.
2. Glue the arm support
blocks to the column,
two at a time. Keep
them properly aligned by
going easy on the glue and
using finger pressure to
initially set the joint. Wait
until the blocks are firmly
attached before clamping.
Once installed, these four
triangular blocks create a
mount for the arms that’s
offset from the legs.
3. Rout perfect discs
easily with a simply made
two-piece jig. The block
allows you to clamp the assembly
to your workbench.
The template lets you rout
the round shape. Orient
the screws at a 45-degree
angle to the disc’s grain.
Then the disc will be fully
supported across the grain
when it’s mounted.
Fig. A: Exploded View
Detail 1: Optional Pot Spike
Fig. B: Routing the Wooden Discs
Fig. C: Leg and Arm Profiles