Smoke Bush Coaster/Trivet

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Project by bobasaurus posted 12-25-2013 05:21 AM 2800 views 11 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this coaster/trivet as a Christmas gift for my aunt. I used smoke bush slices from a branch I pruned in my garden… I actually started it several years ago and forgot about it until I was looking for present ideas. The smoke bush has a really neat yellow-brown heartwood with bright white sapwood for contrast. I turned the bark off on the lathe, cut some slices, and glued them up exposing the end grain. I’m not sure how it didn’t crack/check with the pith still in there, but it’s been years and the wood is still solid. The gaps are filled with an eclectic combo of sawdust, plastic wood, titebond III, and CA glue as I’ve been working on it off and on for so long. For the outer edge I traced the V-shaped gap onto scrap walnut, cut out pieces on the scroll saw, and spindle sanded them to fit before gluing. I cut the whole mess into a circle with a crude bandsaw jig and sanded it all flush. Finished with some shellac to seal the weird filler materials then several coats of waterlox for water/heat resistance. Now I have to quit messing around on lumberjocks and go wrap the darn thing.

-- Allen, Colorado

15 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7177 posts in 2625 days

#1 posted 12-25-2013 06:24 AM

So unusual…

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ For lovers of all things timber...

View sras's profile


4336 posts in 2399 days

#2 posted 12-25-2013 06:28 AM

Exceptionally interesting!! I’m guessing that the extended time span played to your advantage.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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Dan'um Style

14135 posts in 3253 days

#3 posted 12-25-2013 06:30 AM

really nice piece

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

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2793 posts in 2291 days

#4 posted 12-25-2013 08:33 AM

That came out very nice

-- Larry in Hawaii,

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Monte Pittman

20103 posts in 1608 days

#5 posted 12-25-2013 10:44 AM

That’s really cool

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View recycle1943's profile


979 posts in 892 days

#6 posted 12-25-2013 11:28 AM

symetrical – howja doit

really nice and totally unique

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - Your imagination is your only holdup

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1324 posts in 2600 days

#7 posted 12-25-2013 12:19 PM

Very striking coaster! The contrast really sets it off.

Years and years ago someone gave me a small piece of Smoketree root and it had brown, yellow, green, orange and white colors. I turned a small bowl…. and since, I have been keeping an eye out for more of this wood.

Nice work!

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View johnhutchinson's profile


1042 posts in 899 days

#8 posted 12-25-2013 01:16 PM

Amazing attention to detail, Allen !!! At first I thought I was looking at gaps in the edge until I read that you filled them with fitted walnut wedges. Band clamp for the glueup?

Gotta go now. Just had an unexplained craving for a slice of pepperoni pizza. :)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View HossMan's profile


42 posts in 2988 days

#9 posted 12-25-2013 05:40 PM

Incredible piece of work!

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5220 posts in 2638 days

#10 posted 12-25-2013 06:47 PM

Allen that is NOT your average coaster as it is outstanding.

Remember, things made in the shop are things from the heart!

Never heard of a smoke bush … !

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Steve Kreins's profile

Steve Kreins

358 posts in 901 days

#11 posted 12-25-2013 06:49 PM

Now that’s something you can’t buy at Walmart. ;) Very nice and I’m sure it’s a conversation piece. Thanks for sharing.

-- I thank God for everything, especially all of you!

View Karson's profile


35023 posts in 3670 days

#12 posted 12-25-2013 11:26 PM

When I lived in New Jersey we had a smoke bush in our front yard. One of the branches died and I cut it off imagine my surprise when I saw the bright yellow and brown wood.

It makes beautiful pens.

Nice looking coaster

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Picklehead's profile


982 posts in 1199 days

#13 posted 12-26-2013 04:01 PM

Awesome. Favorited because the materials and techniques are so unusual. The project’s not REALLY completed, though, until you drink a cool one that’s been sitting on one of those!

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

View woodkandy's profile


53 posts in 1148 days

#14 posted 12-27-2013 04:39 PM

Oh wow, this is beautiful. I have many birch branches that I have been wondering what to do with…I think I may now have an idea! Thanks for sharing.

-- Kandy, Alberta, Canada

View Carbide's profile


204 posts in 1716 days

#15 posted 12-28-2013 03:47 AM

That’s really neat !! I like that. Great use of natural materials.

-- When it feels like a job, it isn't a hobby anymore.

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