How to Make Your Own Lazy Susan for a Dinner Party

Making a Lazy Susan for a dinner party is a great idea to add a personal touch to your entertaining. Lazy Susan’s allow diners to easily share dishes without having to get up and down from their seats. They are mostly associated with Chinese restaurants but will work for any dinner party where you want to serve lots of dishes for your guests to choose from, for instance a tapas inspired meal. A Lazy Susan allows you to serve a buffet style meal in a more formal way, where guests are seated rather than standing. Using one at the center of a table, particularly if diners are seated in a circle, makes for a democratic and convivial meal, that will put your guests at ease.

What is a Lazy Susan?

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According to many, Thomas Jefferson designed the first Lazy Susan, however the devices only caught the imagination of Americans when, in 1917, an issue of Vanity Fair ran an advertisement for them. Before then, the Lazy Susans were commonly referred to as dumb waiters. They are revolving circular turntables that are placed at the centre of a dining table on which dishes are served. The Lazy Susan allows diners to turn the dishes to each other and share a meal, without the host having to serve the guests individually.

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Why Make My Own?

There are plenty of Lazy Susan’s that you can purchase which will do the job. However, making your own will mean you have a bespoke furnishing that suits the dimensions of your dining table. Constructing one requires only moderate expertise in woodworking. Once finished, you will be able to decorate your Lazy Susan to compliment the rest of the décor in your dining room.

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Take a few measurements of your dining table with a tape measure. If your table is circular, allow about 16 inches for the edge of the table for the diner and designate the central area for your Lazy Susan. For rectangular tables allow the same amount of space on the ‘short’ sides. This will allow you to figure out how big your Lazy Susan should be. For most regular sized dining tables a device of 18 to 20 inches diameter will be about right.

Make a Base.

Once you know how big to make your Lazy Susan, cut two matching circles from half inch thick wood to make the base and the upper section. Mount a bearing mechanism, available from good hardware stores and on-line retailers, in the center of one of the circles of wood with screws to make a base. Once fixed to the base, turn the upper part of the bearing mechanism through 45 degrees. Push an awl through one of mechanisms free mounting holes into the wooden base beneath it. Repeat this for the other holes to mark four drill points. Now drill through each of these points, right through the base, from one side to the other.

Completing Your Lazy Susan.

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Set the base and bearing mechanism upside down on the second circle of wood, such that the two circles line up neatly. Now set the loose part of the bearing mechanism so that the free mounting holes line up with the holes you have drilled in the base. Screw the second circle of wood, which will form the upper section, to the bearing mechanism through each of the four base holes. Mount self-adhesive rubber feet over the top of the holes to cover them and turn your Lazy Susan the right way up. It should turn evenly.

Have Fun.

Using a Lazy Susan at a dinner party sets a tone of relaxed informality, so bring some of your personality to your one. Varnishing or painting your creation will help preserve it, but decorating it to your own design will add some something extra. Consider a sparkling Lazy Susan for a Christmas feast, or adding a mosaic tiled top to serve hot Mexican dishes on. And if you have a big table for a larger gathering of guests, why not make two?{project pics from derek & lauren}.