|Project by Boxguy||posted 749 days ago||3392 views||25 times favorited||34 comments|
Pictured: A tea box and serving tray combination. The Black Cherry tray is about one foot by two feet with end-hole handles, corner splines, and sloped sides. The cups and tong-holder are made by a local potter. (I featured this tea box in a separate post “Boxguy’s 6-Sided Tea Box.”) The goal of the trayfecta is that I would like to sell all three items, tray, box, cups as a unit. On the next version the splines in the tray and box would match and the potter would join in the fun. At least that is the plan.
Tray Construction Details
The Bottom Dado: I find that it helps to cut the bottom groove for the inset bottom in all four of your side pieces first. The angle is 25 degrees to inset a tray bottom. (Since the sides are long and thin, I would suggest that you glue at least the center strip of each side to the bottom board to give the tray more strength.) You have now established the inside and the bottom of your tray sides.
The Set-Up Block: The trick to making several of these efficiently is to speed up set-up and cutting and still get the angles right. That starts with a set-up block.
Turn your miter gauge to 22 1/2 degrees, and tilt your saw blade to 40 degrees. While you are at this point, cut a 2×4 scrap at this angle, then for future trays you just bring this block against your blade and tilt it until no light shines between the 2×4 and the center of your saw blade.
The Corner Cuts: I soon tired of turning my miter gauge back and forth to work on alternate ends of the sides, so I made this simple jig. The two sides are each angled at 22 1/2 degrees to the saw blade. The cherry strips let me hold the board I’m cutting while it goes through the blade. If I am making several sides, I clamp a stop to the far side of the jig. (On the near side you are just cutting the correct angle on that end.)
Lay your side or end piece down flat on the saw and make the first cut.
Now spin the side blank around to the other side of the jig laying it flat and keeping the same side up to make the cut on the other end of this side piece. To keep things straight, pencil-line the slant of the angles on the two ends before you make the cuts and remember you are putting the inside of the tray up.
Assembly: Tape together the four sides to hold the tray together. (Sorry for the poor picture in the mock up here.) Loosen one corner, lay out the sides, and apply glue to all 8 corner cuts. Roll the tray together, apply the corner blocks, pull everything tight with a band clamp.
Applying the blocks and band clamp is a little like wrestling an octopus. Apply tape to the corners to hold them in the corner blocks until the band clamp is pulled up tight.
Help! This is where I need some advice. I couldn’t come up with a good way to make these corner blocks work if they were wood. So, I welded these corner blocks of angle iron with a piece of rod across the angle iron to keep the wooden sides from creeping up the angle as I tightened the band clamp.
The band clamp pulls on the block’s straight “leg” to keep the pressure even. The block’s angled part applies pressure evenly to all of the joints. The rod holds the tray in place. (I added a piece of flat metal inside the angle to make up for the rounded corner inside the angle iron.) These work for small trays and larger boxes with 6 inch sides as well. My guess is that someone else in Lumber Land has come up with a better solution for these blocks. If so, I would love to hear about it.
Thanks: As always thanks for looking and I really appreciate those of you who take the extra time to comment or make suggestions. I think that is the essence of Lumber Jocks.
-- Big Al in IN