Sometimes, I build a random serving tray.
It’s my go-to item of choice when I want to whip up something quick, plus they make a great gift. So lets focus on that, and not how I was avoiding installing a lighting fixture.
I have a ton of scraps from a local high end woodworking shop. (I highly recommend finding a woodworking or furniture shop in your area, if you’re into this sort of thing. A lot of businesses will gladly leave scraps for anyone who will pick them up, and it keeps some disposal costs down for them. Not to mention it’s saving the life of some really good wood.)
(This is only a fraction of what I picked up recently.)
First off, I lined up several strips that were the same thickness, but varying widths and colors.
I picked a random angle on my miter saw, and just started making cuts and lining strips up.
I eyeballed it, just like you see above, and I measured where to cut by stacking and lining up on the saw like this:
When I got to the point where I wanted to make a corner, I used a square, drew a line, then lined up my saw blade to that line.
Next, I searched high and low for a tape measure.
I mean it. I probably spent 10 minutes looking and wandering aimlessly.
Maybe it was longer than 10 minutes. I think I fixed a sandwich so I could eat while I hunted.
After I found one, I measured the rectangle of slanted strips so I could cut a piece of thin plywood to mount the strips onto.
After gluing and clamping the strips to the plywood, I waited 30 minutes for the glue to dry.
Then, after that, I glued and clamped some scraps on the bottom for “feet”.
Once THAT glue was dry -…(wait. I just realized I didn’t use a single screw or nail in the building of this tray. Awesome.)
As I was saying, once the glue dried, I measured and drilled holes for the handles.
I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of that. I apologize. But, I do have this close up of AFTER I added the handles:
***Why on Earth did I put the handles on at this stage in the game? I have no clue. I had to turn right around and take them off. (I wonder about myself sometimes.) The handles were put BACK on later.
Maybe you noticed, but there are gaps between some of the strips of wood. That’s ok, I planned it that way. (I promise. I really did.) I knew from the get-go that I wouldn’t have perfect contact. I could’ve just ran the strips through my table saw to edge off uneven-ness, but I didn’t want it to look manufactured and I was going for distinction between the different strips of wood.
This was the perfect opportunity to try out Gorilla Glue Epoxy.
This stuff sets in 5 minutes so I only worked with a small amount at a time.
If you look closely, you can see it consists of two tubes of ooze, and when you squeeze some out and mix it up good, a chemical reaction occurs and you’ve got 5 minutes to work with the mixture. Perfect, because I’m impatient.
After stirring with a random stick, I used the stick that came in the package to drizzle the epoxy in the gaps. (I use a different stick to mix because sometimes there will be leftover epoxy on said stick that didn’t fully mix together. Then you’d have some spots that wouldn’t do the chemical reaction thing and set.)
To keep the epoxy from oozing right out the end of the gap, I used painters tape (or is it painter’s tape?).
After all is said and done that clump of epoxy you see touching the tape can be sliced right off with a razor blade. I also like to flatten and smooth with a razor too. I did a few applications as the epoxy settled down in the gaps.
I think it was at this point that I watched some cartoons, ran some errands, and did mom things. I came back to find the epoxy totally hard and dry a couple hours later.
Next I sanded it to make it perfectly smooth.
Then, I applied a topcoat. In this case, it was Minwax Polyurethane.
Once that was dry (a few hours later), I put the handles back on and got permission to take a picture in my neighbor’s backyard. They have a cool shed with this awesome deck porch. It makes a great backdrop.
That’s all, folks! Have yourself a tray day!
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