Two years ago our daughter mentioned she bought some tiles, and “…sure would love to see them put into some kind of woodworking project…”, or something like that. I show this on the blog now, to prove that something simple can be made into something striking (at least, in my mind…)
I found an article in a very old issue of ShopNotes magazine (# 19) for a nice, plain serving tray. That particular article was really an exercise in hand-cut dovetails; of course, I wanted to use my Leigh D4 dovetail jig, as I just don’t do the hand-cut variety. And the project languished for a couple of weeks.
Side note: ShopNotes magazine is an AugustHome publication; AugustHome also sponsors the WoodNet woodworking forum, which I frequent.
Eventually I decided to make the tray, and also made a subconscious decision to somehow attach the tiles to the flat surface after I made the tray. Well, that turned into a nightmarish experience; I selected a high-temperature silicone smeared into a somewhat even layer on the backs of the tiles, using spacers I removed as I placed the tiles on the bottom of the tray. Then I filled in the space between the tiles, to give it a finished look. What a mess! Can anyone suggest a good way to do this without smearing the silicone into thinner and thinner layers? I seem to remember using two full rolls of shop towels to make the tiles shiny again.
It turns out that the high-temperature silicone takes a long time to cure. But it does cure, eventually. Of course, at the time I did not know this; but it was a good experience, from which I learned to just leave well alone, and to be very patient. It worked!
Some details about this little tray project:
- Wood: Sycamore; some is quarter-sawn, some is plain-sawn
- Sanding: 150 grit on the drum sander, then 220 to 320 grit with the random orbital sander
- Finish: Sprayed 2 coats shellac, followed by 6 coats of Target’s satin USL lacquer (edit to change); sanded to 400 grit after the shellac, and to 600 after the fifth USL coat
- Handles: Cut using a 30-year old jigsaw (edit to change this…); I used the oscillating spindle sander to refine the shape of the handles
- All other curves cut on the 17-inch band saw with a 1/8-inch blade in place
Here is the outcome of that project, in full, living color – just click on the first image, and navigate within the window that opens: