Wooden Coasters

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Project by bhacksaw posted 11-11-2015 11:22 PM 31425 views 15 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I can finally post these pics now that the wedding has come and I’ve given them to the newlyweds. Second pic is an ink drawing of a conceptual city block done by the groom while he was in high school. When I saw it last year, I immediately knew what to get them for their wedding. This execution is inspired by a video for “drinks mats” (silly brits!) that I had seen from Alex Harris at ThisWoodwork (

Five types of wood were used in this project:
- Pine
- Walnut
- Purpleheart
- Padauk
- Zebrawood

The pieces were shaped on the tablesaw using a plywood sacrifical zero clearance base for the more intricate cuts. The glue-up was pretty hectic. I didn’t expect it to take as long as it did, next time (if!) I’ll use a glue with a longer open time like Titebond III. Probably should have used it anyway since that’s waterproof. The assembled and glued block came to about 4×4x3. I only had a sanding disc on my tablesaw which gave me < 3” of face to sand on. Somehow, it came out flat on all sides, all 90 degree corners. I’ll chalk that up mostly to luck.

I then wrapped it in mitered Zebrawood sides and rounded over those corners. Then, I sliced it up like a loaf of bread on my tablesaw, using a resawing, end-over-end type of cutting method. I sanded and card-scraped. I finished it off with a few coats of Polycrylic. I’ve heard that Polycrylic is not good for this application, but i’ve also heard just as many times that it’s fine. (PS – I’ve come to learn that looking for woodworking advice is the same as baby advice. You’ll find just as many people saying to let your baby cry it out as you will saying to let your baby sleep in bed with you. And each has adamant objections to the other.)

16 comments so far

View lumberlover's profile


4 posts in 2207 days

#1 posted 11-12-2015 01:57 AM

Cool! I love the inspiration for your project. I’ll have to keep that in mind for future coasters.

-- -Andrew, California, "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth" 2 Timothy 2:20

View Betsy's profile


3394 posts in 5175 days

#2 posted 11-12-2015 02:20 AM

Marvelous – I’m sure they will love these.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Ken90712's profile


18081 posts in 4468 days

#3 posted 11-12-2015 10:41 AM

Those are great. I really like the design.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View michelletwo's profile


2795 posts in 4295 days

#4 posted 11-12-2015 10:54 AM

the design is wonderful and I like your color choices.

View SteveGaskins's profile


762 posts in 3866 days

#5 posted 11-12-2015 12:36 PM

Great design and colors. Yes, I can see how the glue up could be somewhat challenging. A glue jig may help retain things while the glue sets.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View Ivan's profile


17043 posts in 4147 days

#6 posted 11-12-2015 02:31 PM

I bet gluing was the hardest part. Grid pattern looks incredible. You realy combined wood colours very well.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View XquietflyX's profile


339 posts in 2240 days

#7 posted 11-12-2015 02:36 PM

Love that pattern!!! great job!!!

-- You can tell a lot about your wife by her hands, for example if they are around your throat she's prolly pissed off at you...

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4146 days

#8 posted 11-12-2015 03:15 PM

I love these. They really do catch the eye and are quite attractive.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View ellen35's profile


2750 posts in 4712 days

#9 posted 11-12-2015 09:14 PM

These are spectacular! Your method of construction is really spot on.
I would recommend spar varnish as a finish in the future… it is totally waterproof.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View bhacksaw's profile


165 posts in 3104 days

#10 posted 11-16-2015 08:04 PM

Thanks for the kind words, everybody. majuvla, you are correct. The glue-up WAS the most difficult, hectic part of the job. ellen35, thanks, I will keep spar varnish on mind for the next time.

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12852 posts in 4436 days

#11 posted 01-20-2016 05:30 AM

very nice creation indeed, I’ve been “playing” with some coaster designs of my own lately (mostly to use up some scrap woods) and the results have been pretty cool.
Have to agree, lots of time with the glue-ups to make these little buggers! Takes a lot of patience…
Great work!

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View bhacksaw's profile


165 posts in 3104 days

#12 posted 01-20-2016 07:29 AM

Thanks, Wisty!

View gustmadeit's profile


39 posts in 2204 days

#13 posted 04-22-2019 11:34 PM

Can someone describe how a glueup like this is done? Is it done in several different glueup or just one large glueup? I’m looking at the pattern wondering how it’s done??

View bhacksaw's profile


165 posts in 3104 days

#14 posted 04-22-2019 11:50 PM

Gustmadeit, if I had tried to do one glue-up, I would have most definitely lost my mind. The more pieces you have in a glue-up, the more they will slide around, especially if they are different sizes. If you can find squares or rectangles within your pattern, do smaller glue-ups then glue those subassemblies together to finish the glue-up. Good luck!

View gustmadeit's profile


39 posts in 2204 days

#15 posted 04-23-2019 12:30 AM

Ok for the L shaped pieces do you just use a router to remove a section? And thereafter just continue additional glue ups? For these coasters – how many total glueups would you guess there were?

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