Boxguy and Ken's Remote Trayfecta

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Project by Boxguy posted 04-20-2015 11:39 PM 2539 views 7 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Thanks for looking at this project. Any comments and suggestions are appreciated and welcome. I will reply to all of you Lumberlanders out there who take time to “have your say” in the next 24 hours, so check back for feedback.

At the end of this posting, there is a tutorial index of some of my previous postings that will show you how to build the jigs and learn techniques for building boxes.

Pictured is a removable quarter sawn white oak tray (15×10 1/2×3) with a Bubinga burl veneered tray bottom. The side pockets (15×14) and support structure are also White Oak. The corner splines are ebony. The idea is that you will have a removable TV tray and a convenient place to keep remotes for various devices. This unit is designed to hang over the arm of a couch that sits next to Ken’s favorite TV chair. (For these pictures we used a random chair. The unit fits Ken’s furniture much better.)

Story: After we took some measurements and had approximate sizes we quickly made a plywood prototype to try out. It worked, but we talked it over and decided that it could be improved.

We could add a snazzy removable tray, tweak the angles and sizes, and make it possible to adjust the dividers for future remote sizes.

Ken is a perfectionist and gave the whole project a flawless finish with several coats of Minwax Wipe-On Poly. It really shines.

.Tutorials: For methods used to make boxes like the one pictured just click on the blue links below. They are arranged by topic.

Making a jig to cut spline slots:
Jig for 45ing corners:
Making splines with a simple jig:
Finishing tips:
$5 band clamps:
Combining Wood Colors:
Sizing Tea Boxes and Dividers From Venetian Blinds
Making Kleenex boxes:
Making music boxes
Routers and Rounding edges
Why round box corners?
Organizing a glue-up table:
Adding splines to a box:
Measuring for spline slot cuts:
Installing an attached top: like that pictured above.
Cutting off the box top and sizing piano hinges
Adding finger indents:
More about finger indents.
Mortising and installing hinges:
Tips on making sliding trays: for inside boxes:
Swapping Wood By Mail:
Making a serving tray with angled sides.
Roy Underhill's tool tote.
Teaching Boxmaking

-- Big Al in IN

22 comments so far

View Mean_Dean's profile


7039 posts in 3887 days

#1 posted 04-20-2015 11:58 PM

Well this certainly turned out great! It’s beautiful and functional and a great idea. I’m sure Ken will get a lot of good use out of it!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3543 days

#2 posted 04-21-2015 12:01 AM

That is mighty fine Al. I guess you could use one o those cubbies for an ice cold brewski… lol. Luv the design and funtion of it all.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View PhilosopherSteve's profile


43 posts in 4825 days

#3 posted 04-21-2015 12:53 AM

What an awesome looking and useful piece. Love the look of that tray. Now that it’s done is there any reason to get off the couch?

View Jerry's profile


3388 posts in 2387 days

#4 posted 04-21-2015 01:10 AM

Your work is always so beautiful, classy, mouth watering, but this is really ingenious on top of it all.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View Combo Prof's profile

Combo Prof

4216 posts in 2017 days

#5 posted 04-21-2015 01:27 AM

Nicely done as always.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

View Boxguy's profile


2870 posts in 3007 days

#6 posted 04-21-2015 01:56 AM


Dean, thanks. It did turn out well. The bubinga is really beautiful and so full of figure. Ken put enough coats on it to make it bead water. Ken took it home today and will be trying it out.

Roger, ...about that beer… guess Ken and I forgot to build in a small refrigerator. Maybe on the next version. The original did have a cup holder, but we opted for a tray.

Steve, you are so right. Why leave the couch? However, you are assuming someone will bring you the food and drink that fits on the tray. Ken and I also forgot to build in a rest room, but maybe on the next version we will add that and the refrigerator both.

Jerry, thanks for the kind words. Practicality and utilitarian purpose are always foremost in my work it seems. I am not prone to making things that are just pretty to look at. I think it is channeling my inner Shaker or something.

Don, always nice to hear from you. Hope your area is starting to thaw out. We are in the midst of a beautiful spring. How about posting another box that demonstrates the Golden Ratio and tellings us about that?

-- Big Al in IN

View DocSavage45's profile


8932 posts in 3582 days

#7 posted 04-21-2015 01:59 AM

I like it! This is probably not a one size fits all?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View SenecaWoodArt's profile


477 posts in 2359 days

#8 posted 04-21-2015 02:06 AM

Definitely impressive.

-- Bob

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4058 posts in 3848 days

#9 posted 04-21-2015 02:57 AM

This is absolutely gorgeous. Interestingly enough, the only thing I would put on it would be a book or maybe a drink with a coaster, as I use the internet for most of my visual input, not the TV. Three of my top listed woods, to boot. That bubinga (looks like waterfall) is the best! I want to build a dining room table from a piece of waterfall bubinga, if I live long enough to get to it.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4048 days

#10 posted 04-21-2015 03:48 AM

Great idea and build Al. Nice for those chairs that don’t have a table next to it. How about one with a swivel top that could be used as a lap tray also?

View Boxguy's profile


2870 posts in 3007 days

#11 posted 04-21-2015 04:35 AM


Doc, I think you would have to vary the dimensions and angles for various sizes of arms for chairs, so one size wouldn’t fit all very well…just like trying to put me into to a one-size-fits-all T-shirt. It is not a good idea, and certainly not pretty.

Bosum, I like the clocks you posted. Did you consider putting one in a box? I put clocks in the side of some of my Kleenex box covers. Looks good and works well with kid’s desks.

Dark/Light, thanks. I liked your spectacle cases. Have you thought of adding a magnet to keep the hinged lids closed?

I have made several boxes from this bubinga burl scrap that a friend gave me. While you are pining away for your bubinga dining table, keep putting money in the bank. That stuff is expensive, but I agree it is one of Nature’s most beautiful woods.

Greg, the swivel is a good thought, thanks. Part of the idea of the removable tray is that you can move it to your lap for a meal, and use it to carry food and plates back and forth. Hope your show are going well. You certainly have been building a wide variety of boxes lately.

-- Big Al in IN

View DocSavage45's profile


8932 posts in 3582 days

#12 posted 04-21-2015 06:22 AM


That would be like me actually dancing a jig, instead of making one. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1925 posts in 2709 days

#13 posted 04-21-2015 10:26 AM

That is beautiful. How you can take something that is always so boring looking and make it amazing is incredible. Great work. Thanks for the inspiration

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View helluvawreck's profile


32119 posts in 3606 days

#14 posted 04-21-2015 03:54 PM

That turned out so nicely, Al, and it’s a very practical design.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Boxguy's profile


2870 posts in 3007 days

#15 posted 04-21-2015 05:01 PM


Doc, I’d kind of like to see you dance a jig. Better entertainment than me squeezing into a too small shirt.

Kaleb, thanks for the compliments. Just because it is useful doesn’t mean it can’t be a pleasure to see and a joy to touch. I enjoyed seeing the wide assortment of projects you have posted. The candle holder, boxes, and shop projects were especially interesting. Hope you enjoy teaching as much as I did. I never went to work…I just went to school.

Charles, thanks for the pleasant thoughts. It is nice when a design turns out to be useful and pretty. Ken really did a great job on all the finish work. That always makes a project look good. Having Bubinga to work with helps too.

-- Big Al in IN

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