Prototype Coasters

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Project by ChuckV posted 10-14-2011 01:52 AM 3828 views 30 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am going to make eight sets of coasters as Christmas gifts this year. I got the idea from the recent issue of Woodsmith magazine. Here is my first shot at it. They have already been used in our house for about a week.

The tray and the main part of the coasters are curly maple. The tray miter keys and the coaster frames are black walnut. The bands in the coasters are black walnut and cherry. The coasters are 4 1/2” on a side and 1/4” thick.

The finish is three coats of boiled linseed oil, two coats of clear dewaxed shellac and four coats of satin polyurethane.

These are a lot of fun to make. For the actual gifts, I am going to make the trays from birdseye maple instead of curly maple for a bit more variety in texture.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

21 comments so far

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3114 days

#1 posted 10-14-2011 02:07 AM

Hey Chuck! Those are really nice looking! You did a great job

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 2619 days

#2 posted 10-14-2011 02:15 AM

Chuck; These are wonderful. I like the design, the color’s blend well together. The bands in the coasters, are they veneer inlays. I need to make some coasters for the wife and didn’t know if the condensation from the glasses would have an affect on the wood inlays. I have never tried inlay work. Thanks for sharing.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View ChuckV's profile


3123 posts in 3549 days

#3 posted 10-14-2011 02:29 AM


They are not really inlay. The five coasters came from one block that was about 1 1/2” thick. The width of the bands are the same as that thickness and sliced very thin on my bandsaw. Then I cut the arcs in the block one at a time. After cutting an arc, I put in a band and glued it back together. After this dried, I did the same for the next band.

After all the bands were installed and the frame glued on, I sliced the block into the five coasters on the bandsaw.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2712 days

#4 posted 10-14-2011 03:22 AM

Cool coasters but the process sounds about as tedious as my business card holders. But that’s what makes it cool! and fun!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View hasbeen's profile


91 posts in 2707 days

#5 posted 10-14-2011 04:55 AM

Greetings from the socialist capital of America – California.
Why do you think they call it the ‘left’ coast?

I am planning to make a set of these also and Don – I really suggest you get the latest issue of Woodsmith magazine. It has a jig plan to help with the glue up and full instructions.

Moreno Valley’s local has-been
Servant of the Living God.

-- I may not have a lot of good ideas, but some of them are just incredible.

View kiefer's profile


5619 posts in 2689 days

#6 posted 10-14-2011 05:16 AM

Nice gifts I must say very generous
Very well done and I can appreciate your patience and craftsmanship .


-- Kiefer

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2520 days

#7 posted 10-14-2011 06:25 AM

These are very attractive and nicely made, the box too!
I think the frames really add to the great look but are also quite necessary here as you have interrupted the long grain repeatedly with the curved strips. However, I doubt if they’ll crack or show any lines given your thorough finish schedule.
Super holiday gifts showing a craftsman’s touch and a favourite for sure.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View ChuckV's profile


3123 posts in 3549 days

#8 posted 10-14-2011 01:33 PM

As Lee mentioned, there is a simple jig plan in the magazine that helps when regluing the pieces. You will definitely want this because of the tendency of the pieces to slip and slid as you clamp them. I still found it a challenge to keep the pieces relatively even in the vertical direction. In other words, when clamping from the sides, some pieces wanted to slide upwards off the bench. In some cases, I ended up clamping the runaway piece down.

Since I am making eight sets now, I made four gluing jigs. While four of the pieces were clamped and the glue was drying, I would cut and prepare the other half of them. By the time these were ready to be glued, I could remove the clamps on the others. This really sped things up.

I wish that I had pictures of the clamping and gluing, but our camera died a few weeks ago and we just got a new one. So, I had no camera when I was gluing the eight sets.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Dale 's profile


415 posts in 3203 days

#9 posted 10-14-2011 03:12 PM

Great job Chuck, I’ll be finishing my second one today. I like the splines you added to the original plan. As you know the plan calls for laminating 3/4 stock, since I plane my rough sawn maple my srock was closer to 7/8. My point is that you get 5 coasters out of each one, so if you make 4, its like getting the fifth set free. Your right, they are fun.

-- Dale West Central Pa. Do it all, before last call.

View ChuckV's profile


3123 posts in 3549 days

#10 posted 10-14-2011 04:40 PM


Funny you should write this now. I just came in from the shop where I sliced up the eight blocks to make the coasters.

The curly maple that I had was just about 3/4” after I milled it, so I did laminate it to make the blocks. It turned out that four of them gave me five coasters and the other four gave me four coasters. The difference is that some of them had all the segments more level on the outside faces than the others and there was less trimming required. The ones that gave only four had a left-over piece that is probably about 1/16” shy of the thickness of the others. I will keep these for our use.

I also changed the cutout on the tray. I only made it on one side and did not have it go all the way through the bottom. This is because of instead of making the bottom flush as in the plan, I have it rabbeted and in a groove as is done for a drawer.

Edit: Here they are fresh off the bandsaw:

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 3141 days

#11 posted 10-14-2011 04:50 PM

Nice job on these coasters, not sure I would want to put a drink on them they are so nice, lols, Your work always has great craftsmanship and style, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3671 days

#12 posted 10-14-2011 04:54 PM

this are sweet Chuck, came out great. I like the subtleties of the curly maple, it’s there but doesn’t yell at everyone for attention.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Mike's profile


33 posts in 2448 days

#13 posted 10-14-2011 06:17 PM

Inspiring work! My 12yo daughter and I are making a few sets of those too. And I thought I was the only one that read that magazine…. :-) Your work looks great.

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3124 days

#14 posted 10-15-2011 07:28 AM

I don’t think I know anyone sophisticated enough to use coasters. Yours look great…......

-- mike...............

View ChuckV's profile


3123 posts in 3549 days

#15 posted 10-15-2011 02:43 PM

That is a funny thought. I can just picture someone’s particle board table being protected by one of these curly maple coasters.

This is a great project to work on with your daughter. I like Woodsmith. It has lots of good project ideas, no ads, durable non-glossy pages, and is three-hole punched.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

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