Friday, February 14, 2014

An Ultra-Stable Christmas Tree Stand

Christmas tree topplings are not my idea of a good time. Typical store-bought Christmas tree stands often leave a bit to be desired in the stability department. Here's an improvement to such a stand.

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The Christmas tree stand pictured below is a pretty good one.

It's well-thought-out and constructed, and it has a "23" Leg Span", as the manufacturer tells us on the back of the box.

That leg span figure is true, but only when measured along the length of the legs. Measured from corner-to-corner of the legs' 'footprint', the span is 17" -- that's only 8 1/2" from centre to leg-end. The stand is not 'tippy', but it's not nearly as stable as a "23" Leg Span" would suggest. A way to greatly enhance the stand's stability is to attach a base disc underneath it. I did that for this stand, and now the stand has an effective 25" span through 360 degrees -- much better. Here's how that looks.

Just about any plywood sheet material will do for the disc. I used some scrap 15mm crating plywood that I had lying around. It was pretty rough material, but sufficient filler and primer and enamel got it presentable.

Tee-nuts and machine screws make for a much stronger stand-to-disc fastening than wood screws do. The tee-nuts need to be set in shallow counterbores in the underside of the disc, so they can't possibly scratch a floor. Here's a view of one of the 1/4"-20 tee-nuts that I used, installed in its counterbore.

Note the hole in the disc in the second photo above; that's for hanging the stand on a nail for storage. The hole is 5/8" diameter, lined with a piece of 1/2" copper pipe. The copper pipe lining is to prevent splintering around the edges of the hole.

So there we are -- a topple-defying Christmas tree stand. One would have to be trying to topple a tree mounted in a stand that's been fitted with a disc like this one.

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