Antique Oak Tray

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Project by KnickKnack posted 02-19-2012 01:18 PM 1919 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A while ago I made this Deco-esque box – it’s been sitting on my desk ever since. I really like the angles, the curves, the embedding, the overhang.
So I’ve been wondering if I could use a similar idea for tray handles, and this is the result.

The handles are from a stave of an ancient french calvados barrel, complete with worm holes, blackened from years and years of storing apple brandy. Since I wanted to keep the colour change from light to black as night in the handles, I fumed the (almost) completed piece before attaching the handles.
The original design was nothing like this – I’d made a special base for it, but it didn’t go – so that one’s waiting for another time. I was originally going to go with 45°-mitre cornered ash, but that would have been, I think, a bit “in your face” in terms of contrast. I had a brain wave (or brain disaster, depending on your view), and decided to go with oak, dovetailed into the beech – the dovetail has the same angle which, I confess, was luck rather than the result of any kind of master plan.
I did realise, luckily, that the usual “floating” base wasn’t going to be possible – can’t “slide in” the dovetails, so it floats on the oak, but is glued to the bottom of the beech.
I’m not sure about the “flares” on the beech – my wife doesn’t like them.
The finish is linseed oil – although I’m not a big fan of glossy finishes, I think it might work here, so, perhaps, I’ll put on some danish or satin varnish (does that make this an incomplete project?). I have a bunch of construction pictures, but I don’t think there’s much amazing in there – I used a jig based on the handle angles to cut the angles rebate…

I always think it’s interesting to compare pre- and post-fume, so pre-fume it was like this…

Making it went pretty well, but there’s something not quite right about it – I can’t put my finger on exactly what – it should be stunning, but there’s something just a little off somewhere.

He/she is 39 cm (plus handle extension) x 28cm x a bit of height.
Ancient oak, oak, beech – linseed oil finish.

Comments of any flavo(u)r most welcome.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

3 comments so far

View chrisstef's profile


17674 posts in 3150 days

#1 posted 02-19-2012 01:43 PM

I really like the sliding dovetails in the corners, a real classy touch, and the new tray handles mimic the same design.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 2912 days

#2 posted 02-19-2012 02:11 PM

Great job on the joinery, your assembly looks flawless.

I agree that there is something that’s just not quite there. I think there may be to much going on here. with the angels and wood contrasts and the handles with their color variation it’s a lot to take in. This may be a case where less is more. I think it would be more appealing to me if the bottom were darker or matched the sides. My first though was that if the ends were Oak like the sides I think it would work for me.

Try laying some different shades of material in the bottom to see how it looks. I’d try a piece of black poster board just to see if it feels right. I’d be interested in seeing pictures of the varying affects. This project is very intriguing. Thanks for sharing!

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10265 posts in 4196 days

#3 posted 02-19-2012 05:54 PM

COOL & unusual tray…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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