#2 serving trays, octogon tray build

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Blog entry by hobby1 posted 06-12-2013 12:04 AM 1928 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Building an octogon tray, the size of the handles dictates the needed size of the octogon shape, the inside tray, is around 20-1/2” from flat to flat, a big tray.

Here are the handles made, they have a 8 deg. miter, to splay the side pieces,

however, I want to fasten the handles to the face side of the tray, unlike the other one where the handle was assembled with a top and bottom rail, this style of handle will not have a bottom rail, due to direct connection to a side piece of the tray, to account for the bottom rail.
The angle of incline will be at 45deg. , just as the other style handle.

Now with this in mind, I would need to cut a compound miter, with the saw tilted to 45 deg., and the miter at the 8 deg..

I don’t have a (compound miter) saw, I have a 1980’s craftsman miter saw, I do have a 1970’s radial arm saw, which I could do compound miters on, however, the swing for the miter at 8 deg. may not be repeatable from one side to the other.

I have three options, build a jig to either fit my miter saw, radial saw, or table saw.

I looked into the miter saw, but the motor would get in the way and I would need two jigs for a left and right miter.

A jig for my radial saw, would work fine, but thats a lot of extension to pull the saw through, around 8” plus the width of the jig, it could be close to around 10” or 11” before its all done, thats to far to pull the saw through a workpiece that will be jigged up,

The best option is build a table saw jig, dedicated only for this style and size of handle (workpiece).

The jig is made to give a splay of 8 deg. mitered at the top rail and the top of the 2 sides,, the 2 sides are mitered at 8 deg. to fit as a butt joint to the face of the top rail, the top rail is mitered at its very top edge to continue the flow of the angle of splay visually only.

here is the jig unloaded,

The jig also allows me to line up my dowel centers when building the handles.

Here is the workpiece, (handle) ready to be jigged up.

Here is the workpiece ready to be compounded mitered, the jig holds the workpiece at a 45 deg. angle of incline, while the sides are already at there spayed angle of 8 deg.,

the mitering operation on the table saw,

The blade stays at 90 (0) on the saw setting, and the back of the jig rides against the saws fence.

and the results of the compound miter,

and a mockup of how it will be assembled to the side of the tray workpieces.

The rest is a sequential tasks of building the tray itself, by cutting the tray sides, routing rabbets, and cutting the 22-1/2 deg. miters, and finally assembly, glued up and small brad nailing.

for the inside bottom, I used old 3/4” shelf boards badly warped, a lot of face jointing, and thickness planing, then cut to a finish width of 5-1/2”, then finally resawed on the table saw, to make 5/16” thick planks, then a quick skim in the thickness planer.

Now I will start cutting to fit the planks, because my octogon side pieces are not perfectly made, so variations in the frame, requires me to scribe each plank to fit the octogon frame.

That’s all for now, I’m in between tasks, so it will be a little bit before I can continue this project.

Have fun in the shop.

5 comments so far

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3299 days

#1 posted 06-12-2013 08:04 AM

Looks great so far. I like the light look of these trays and the generous handles that make them easy to carry.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View hobby1's profile


335 posts in 2262 days

#2 posted 06-12-2013 10:39 PM

Thanks Mike,

Once I get these planks in place, I’m thinking of taking another set of planks, and cutting 2 holes, to fit 2 drink cans and each set of these holes will be on the flats of the octogon, with a total of 16 can spaces, these will be small planks, just wide enough to allow the drink can holes to be made in them, plus a little material for scrolling the outside of each and make a scrolled out curvature on the outside, of each set to give it some sort of decorative touch, then the whole inside of the tray could be used to carry a small pizza, or a bowl of snacks, or something.
It’s very difficult to describe in detail, but I have a very clear picture in mind of how I want to do this.

Thanks again..

View hobby1's profile


335 posts in 2262 days

#3 posted 06-13-2013 02:29 AM

I was able to get a couple hours in this evening, to get all the planks scribe, fitted, and glued and brad nailed in place.

I made 4 planks to fit in place, the 2 middle pieces, overlap the mitered corners, to give stability to the frame, the 2 end pieces, overlap the miters in the front and back sides, so each miter has an overlap and the seams are in the flat portions of the octogon frame.

Next I may try to work on the drink hole parts, as mentioned in the previous post, these smallish planks will go parallel with each side of the frame, and only be wide enough to contain a round cutout, the size of one or two soda cans, and some scrolling around the edge.

View hobby1's profile


335 posts in 2262 days

#4 posted 06-14-2013 02:40 AM

This is the tray, with the soda can cutouts

First I decided it would be a good idea to reinforce the bottom, because these are 4 planks, so by making these strectchers underneath allows for better stability,

, It was interesting process, to fit the pieces in the octogon, I have found that the best way for fitting pieces, is to rough cut close to the layout line, and then close in on the line using my disc sander and a final touch up with the stationary belt sander, the key to get a good fitting of the pieces, is to take my time and don’t hurry this process, just work up close to the line slowly, and check for fit until it fits properly.

now that all the pieces are fitted in dry fit, I can make the cutouts.

This is the area where I left off at , the next step would be to put a color to the pine boards, (paint or stain) and apply a finish.

have fun in the shop.

View hobby1's profile


335 posts in 2262 days

#5 posted 06-19-2013 01:53 PM

Here it is with the finish on it, I used “colonial maple on the entire piece.

Here is the picture of both the first tray and the octogon in one picture.

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