How to Make Lazy Susan [Fun]

The Story

In case you love a home thriller, think about the case of the Lazy Susan. This humble family helper has slogged via centuries primarily unchanged.

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Regardless of its enduring reputation, definitive documentation on the design’s origins stay oddly elusive. Logic dictates that a while way back, a sloth named Susan impressed your complete galaxy of twirling servers. Who was she? And who invented the turntable trays that hyperlink her endlessly with an insulting adjective?

It’s a really chilly case. Novice Web sleuths credit score two Thomases (Jefferson and Edison) for the invention, allegedly named after sluggish daughters. Historians say there’s no proof to again both assertion.

Individuals are likely to suppose Lazy Susans are kitschy relics of the 1950s and 1960s, however the lineage seems to be longer and extra distinguished. Historians can hint the idea to 18th century England, when it was most likely referred to as a dumbwaiter. It might have turn into in style at a time when family servants have been in declining provide. Within the absence of maids or footmen to refill wine goblets and ship condiments, diners have been pressured to succeed in throughout the desk or interrupt dialog with “cross the pimientos please.” The Lazy Susan helped to resolve that drawback, and loads of 18th century examples show it. In January, a mahogany Lazy Susan — 16 inches in diameter and dated circa 1780 — offered at Christie’s public sale home in London for about $three,900. (That is it, above.)

“It is an amazing thriller,” says Sarah Coffin, head of the product design and ornamental arts division on the Smithsonian Establishment’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. “I do not know who first got here up with Lazy Susans, though I’ve questioned. I am fairly certain the title is a 20th century invention. However the earliest varieties I do know of are from 1720s and 1730s England. Many have been pedestal tables with rotating tops used for wine and tea tasting. I’ve additionally seen variations with silver trays fitted into the tabletop.”

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Coffin agrees with the notion that the Lazy Susan was most likely born as a alternative for family assist.

One of many earliest print references to “Lazy Susan” confirms that idea. An advert within the December 1917 Self-importance Truthful journal describes a mahogany mannequin, 16 inches in diameter, that revolves on ball bearings. The textual content, offered by Self-importance Truthful librarian Cynthia Cathcart, reads partly: “$Eight.50 … an impossibly low wage for an excellent servant” and refers back to the Lazy Susan as “the cleverest waitress on the planet.”

Henry Ford, the automobile firm founder, cherished tenting out with mates however thought it unseemly to truck his full contingent of servants to the wilderness. As a substitute, he transported a 9-foot diameter eating desk with an immense Lazy Susan mounted on high, so company might serve themselves. Pictures of his 1920s outings, and the desk itself, are within the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.

Western movie stars Roy Rogers and Dale Evans owned a smaller 1950s model of Ford’s desk, which they used of their Apple Valley breakfast room. The desk is a part of their museum in Branson, Mo.

Invoice Stern, director and guiding gentle of the touring Museum of California Design, calls the Lazy Susan “an outgrowth of the informal indoor-outdoor way of life born in Southern California within the 1950s and ’60s.” These midcentury fashions, now coveted by collectors, featured small ornamental dishes surrounding a a lot bigger dish or casserole within the middle — all snuggled onto a revolving wooden or metallic tray. “The very best designs, a few of them multitiered, have been from native pottery producers,” Stern says, and their reputation quickly unfold throughout the nation.

“It is extra in style now than ever,” says Georgia LaGrange, purchaser for, one in every of many web sites providing smooth new types that price $15 to lots of of . But irrespective of how lengthy or how laborious the Lazy Susan works, individuals hardly ever discover. They’re extra enthusiastic about what’s on it.


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A lazy Susan is a comfort carrousel. The essential design is to have a round platform mounting atop a base that permits for the platform to be constantly rotated 360 levels. The lazy Susan is an American time period utilized to the machine and it was first coined by Self-importance Truthful journal in 1917. Nonetheless, the time period shouldn’t be universally used because the affect of the British time period dumbwaiter remains to be fairly in style with some producers.

A lazy Susan could also be a small machine inserted into a cupboard to make accessing small kinds of objects, like spice jars, a lot easier and extra handy. The identical design can also be obtainable in a big tabletop design that permits teams seated round a round desk to equally share dishes with out the necessity to cross them from hand handy. The awkward dimensions of nook kitchen cupboards make lazy Susans a well-liked selection for serving to to extend accessibility. Nook lazy Susans may have a cutout in a single aspect resembling a lacking pie piece. That is achieved as a result of the cutout will be lined up when the doorways are closed to make sure your complete area is getting used regardless of the dearth of ample room to accommodate an entire disk form.

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Make Lazy Susan

A splash of inlay ornaments this convenient desk accent.

A lazy Susan is de facto simply three items: a base, a high and a ball bearing swivel in between. However, place it within the middle of your eating desk and it turns into a focus at each meal. Right here’s an ideal spot to showcase a particular piece of wooden you’ve been saving. For the venture proven right here, we’ll use a scrap of two-toned curly maple as an inlay medallion and cherry for the opposite elements. You can select any species of wooden you like. You’ll additionally want a 12-in. lazy Susan bearing, black aniline dye powder and fast setting two-part epoxy. Right here’s how you can make this lazy Susan.

Step 1: Glue up a three/Four-in.-thick clean for the highest and a 1\/2-in.-thick clean for the bottom. We’ll make the ultimate measurement of the highest 14 half of in. and the bottom 13 in. Go away the blanks outsized for now. Mark the centerpoint on each faces of the highest clean with a scratch axe so it is going to be straightforward to find after machining and sanding. Mark the centerpoint of the bottom as nicely.

Step 2: Choose the inventory you’ll use for the inlay medallion, and airplane it right down to 1/Four in. thick. Decide the scale of the inlay circle you need in your venture, and use a compass to attract the form. Reduce it spherical. Sand the sides as wanted to clean them and to refine the circle (see Picture 1). Our medallion measures 5 three/Four in.

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Step three: We’ll rout the recess for the medallion, its black border and the stripe close to the sting of the highest. On this case we used a Dremel’s Trio software and the circle-cutting accent to rout the recesses. You can additionally use a small router outfitted with a trammel. Drill a shallow, 1/Eight-in.-dia. centerpoint for the circle cutter’s pivot pin within the high clean. Drill a second stopped gap to function a starter gap for the router bit. Place this gap so its interior edge marks the sting of your inlay’s diameter. By utilizing a 1/Eight-in.-diameter router bit, the circle you’ll rout within the subsequent step will find yourself being 1/Four in. bigger than the inlay.

Step Four: Set up the circle cutter in your Trio, lock it to the right slicing diameter and set the bit depth to 1/Eight in. Rout the outer fringe of the inlay space, rotating the software rigorously across the pivot level.

Step 5: Reset the circle cutter to mill a groove for the outer inlaid stripe. We set this diameter at 13 half of in. Make this round groove 1/Eight in. deep as nicely (see Picture 2). If you’re completed, take away the circle cutter.

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Step 6: Swap to a 1/Four-in.-diameter straight bit, set the slicing depth to 1/Four in. and rout out the waste from the medallion space. To do that, begin within the middle and feed the software clockwise in an enlarging concentric circle, eradicating the waste slowly and punctiliously (see Picture three). Blow or brush away the particles as you’re employed to observe your progress. Cease routing whenever you attain the interior fringe of the groove you made in Step Four. The purpose right here is to go away a tiny rabbet that can assist middle the inlay in its recess and type a shallower pocket for the inlay’s black border.

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Step 7: Glue and clamp inlay into place. To assist distribute the clamping stress evenly, place a bigger piece of scrap over the inlay to behave as a caul, and apply clamps throughout it.

Step Eight: The inlay’s black border and the accent stripe are made by mixing a small quantity of aniline dye energy with two-part epoxy. The precise ratio of epoxy to dye powder isn’t crucial, however goal for a couple of Four-to-1 mix of epoxy to dye. Combine this “liquid” inlay in a shallow cup, and fill the recesses with a putty knife or paint scraper (see Picture Four). Scrape away the surplus earlier than it units, and permit the epoxy to treatment in a single day.

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Step 9: Aircraft, scrape or sand the highest clean clean to wash up the inlay stripes and flatten the floor of the lazy Susan.

Step 10: Use the centerpoints of each blanks to attract the highest and base to form with a compass. Reduce out each circles and sand the sides clean.

Step 11: Rout an edge profile across the high, should you like. We made ours with a three/Eight-in.-dia. cove bit in a router. Ease the remaining edges of the highest and base with a 1/Eight-in.-dia. roundover bit.

Step 12: Use a compass to calmly draw circles on the highest and base for centering the swivel , in accordance with the directions that include it. Bore a three/Four-in.-dia. entry gap via the bottom for driving screws via the swivel and into the highest; this additionally will likely be defined within the directions. Drill pilot holes within the base and high for #Eight x half of in. set up screws now.

Step 13: Sand the highest and base up via the grits to 180 and apply your selection of end. A heat- and moisture-resistant end equivalent to varnish is an effective selection for this venture.

Step 14: Mount the bearing to the bottom with panhead screws (see Picture 5).

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Step 15: Mount the bottom meeting to the highest with screws, driving them via the entry gap within the base (see Picture 6).


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Step 16: Apply adhesive-backed felt tabs to your lazy Susan base. Now it’s prepared for tabletop show — and years of fine use!

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