Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life.

Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life. Sunset at Telegraph Point.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Simple Utility Tray Project Part 1

Here is a little project that can be completed in a weekend, requires a small amount of timber and can be finished with simple tools.  It is an ideal undertaking that can be shared with children, or even accomplished unaided by a child, or anyone with basic woodworking skills.

Either way, it is fun, and produces a stylish tray that can be used in the dining room, the garden, the potting shed or the workshop.  It is based on a traditional tray like this one from New England - USA, but is most likely English in its origins.

I'm going to use found and re-cycled materials for my tray, and they will require some cleaning up, squaring and truing, and for all of the parts, some re-sizing.

Using re-cycled materials is cheap, and environmentally responsible.  Furthermore, old timbers look great in this context.

When using re-cycled timber, it is important to clear them of nails and grit that can damage your tools - and dent the cutting edges of planes, saws and chisels. A wire brush is useful here.

I'll need a centre handle, two ends, two sides, and some material to fashion the bottom of the tray.

It is always a good idea to set out the timbers that will be used, and label them so that no mix-ups occur.

I find that chalk is the best medium  - forty five years of teaching does that to you.  I think I must have chalk dust in my blood by now.

My grand children introduced me to sidewalk chalk - thick and chunky, and available in most $2 shops!

Whatever timbers are chosen need to be light, so that carrying the finished tray isn't a burden.  Pine is a good choice.  I am using radiata pine and oregon (douglas fir), since I have these already.  The radiata is particularly rough, and these edges need dressing.

Plane in the direction of the grain - I use a jack plane first, to remove the rough, then a jointer plane to ensure that the edge is straight, without round or hollow, and square.

I don't have a board wide enough from which to make the centre handle, so I will have to edge glue two boards to create enough width.  Both edges need to be straight and square - a very slight hollow (called a sprung joint) helps the gluing process.

The jointing is complete when a full length shaving is taken by the jointer plane.  The center handle section is clamped between two cawls, and excess glue cleaned up with a damp cloth while the glue is still wet.  This section can be put aside to dry while the other parts are fashioned.

The two ends will be curved across their tops in this design, but can really be any shape, as long as there is enough support for the center handle section that will run longways down the tray, dividing it into two.

Any suitable saw can be used to cut the curve.  Here I am using a coping saw, but a jigsaw, scrollsaw or bandsaw would be quicker.

Cut outside the lines and shave or sand back to the desired curve.

I thought that I would post this project as one listing here on the Village Woodworker, but life has had other plans for me. There will have to be a part 2.
In Part 2 I'll make the centre handle, and assemble the tray before adding the base.
Can't wait!

Happy woodworking to all ..........

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