How to make simple square decorative trays
Last days we played with some ash wood to build a set of three square decorative trays. Actually, we combined ash wood and thermally treated ash wood: the same species, but different colors. Besides the wood species, we laminated the thermally treated ash wood strip diagonally. This was another thing that made these trays look special. And finally, we routed the inside of the trays by using a bowl and tray router bit, which made our work a lot easier.
However, the most important part of the entire work was the manually sanding process of the small wooden trays.
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Now, let’s see how to build this set of small trays, step by step:
1.Take two boards: an ash wood board and a thermally treated ash wood one.
2. Cut them to the needed length
3. Cut a thermally treated ash wood strip. It should be at least 2.5 cm wide
4. Plane them both and square one face and one edge
5. Plane and square the other two faces of your boards using the thickness planer
6. Draw a diagonal line on the ash wood board
7. Cut the ash wood board with a band saw. You can also use other cutting tools. The most important thing is to be cut as good as possible.
8. Flip the cut pieces of the ash wood board in order to have the planed edges inwards.
After all these steps you will get these three boards needed for the trays
9. Place the thermally treated ash wood strip in the middle to make a fitting test. If they fit well, you can go to the next step
10. Apply the adhesive on the edges of the white boards (we used polyurethane adhesive – PU).
11. Tighten all the boards very well, so there are no gaps. Then, let the glue harden.
12. Remove the glue excess using a belt sander or a chisel.
13. Plane the resulting board on each face and on the edges, to get the required dimensions.
14. Draw the lines to mark each tray:
- first mark the width of each tray. Leave a gap between them. You need the gap in order to have enough space to cut each tray
- draw the lines to define the inside and the outside of each square tray. We left 7 mm (thickness) for their walls
We marked five trays, but in the end we routed and finished only three of them
15. Build a template in order to route with ease the inside of the trays. We used a scrap piece of plywood and two wooden strips that we screwed so we had a distance between them equal to the width of the trays. We cut out the plywood in order to get a width equal to the inside of the trays
16. Tighten the board on a workbench before starting to route the inside of the trays
17. Tighten the template to the board using F clamps and align it to the drawn lines
18. Start routing the inside of the trays using the bowl and tray router bit
19. Move the template several mm, if it’s not as wide as the inside of the tray. Keep half a mm of depth for the final pass to avoid burning the inside corners
20. Cut the tray using the outer guide lines
21. Sand the outside edges. We used the belt sander fitted to a scrap board.
22. Round the outer corners
23. Sand the edges, the inside of the trays and all the sharp edges by hand. Use 80 grit sandpaper and then 120 grit to get the inside smooth. The final touch should be sanding with 320 grit sandpaper
24. Apply a coat of oil on all surfaces of the trays. If the trays are going to be used for food, use a food safe oil.
25. After the first coat of oil dried, apply the second one
That’s all! I can not stop taking photos. This set of decorative trays is great, so…