Does a shulchan require a cloth covering for when the Torah is being read? Or can the Torah be read directly on wood?
No, a cover is not strictly needed. The Gemara talks about it being put down directly on a chair or the like. See Megillah 26b, Shulchan Arukh YD 282:12 (and the Tur/Beit Yosef there).
To clarify, if it is read directly on the wood, then the bimah becomes a tashmish kedushah, not just a tashmish DeTashmish. This is a larger discussion if it was only used באקראי.
Thank you. It would be for a new, regularly used bimah.
Then that’s fine, but just know that it makes the kedushah status of the bimah weightier.