Dragon Sushi Tray

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Project by Aubster posted 08-01-2007 10:07 PM 2473 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is the second tray to be completed. The tray measures 19 1/2 X 12 1/2. Yeah, it’s pretty big for a sushi tray, but everyone in my family really loves sushi.
The tray is made out of scrap birch plywood and red oak for the trim and feet grooved in the bottom. A while ago I watched a video on how to ebonize wood using vinegar and steel wool. It said it works on woods with tannins like oak, and mahogany. Not knowing all the woods that contain these pigments we decided to experiment with other woods. Michele came up with the idea to wood burn the dragon in the center and put a decorative piece in it. We found this medallion with Japanese symbols on it, and a square hole in the center. So Michele went through her bead collection and found a square glass bead that fit perfect, I just had to drill the hole a little deeper in the center to get it to sit flush. She also found a smaller glass bead that I put in the eye of the dragon (It doesn’t show up well in the picture).
I finished it using premixed amber shellac I bought at Home Depot. This was also the first time I have used shellac and found it a little hard to work with than tung oil. It didn’t come out as smooth as I would like, but it made me look other ways to apply, and cut shellac, so the next time I use shellac I will be armed more knowledge. I do like the way the amber shellac made the dark wood darker, and the burnt image of the dragon is subtle.
I hope you enjoy this one; it was really fun to make, and a lot of first experiences for me.

-- A man who moves mountains starts one stone at a time.

8 comments so far

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5584 days

#1 posted 08-01-2007 10:22 PM

Great stuff Aubster. It really has an asian look to it and the subtle dragon and medallion details are wonderful. Not sure I would have chosen shellac for something that will have food on it (especially raw seafood) and need to be wiped off regularly but I will be curious to see what some other jocks have to say about that. Regardless, great piece and thanks so much for sharing this with us.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 5665 days

#2 posted 08-01-2007 10:42 PM

Next time you use the shellac, try thinning it some, maybe to a 1lb cut. You might get better application results (though you’ll have to apply an additional layer or two to make up for it).

-- Ethan,

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5668 days

#3 posted 08-01-2007 11:51 PM

Quote Chip:Not sure I would have chosen shellac for something that will have food on it

Sorry Chip, but I think you are misinformed.

Shellac is probably one of the safest finishes one can apply to wood that comes in contact with food. To quote from Neil Ellis’ “A Polisher’s Handbook”, page 34, ”Today it is still used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry as a coating for lower intestine pills, I confectionery, at one time it was the coating on M&N’s and on food coatings on apples and other fruits.”

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5584 days

#4 posted 08-02-2007 03:48 AM

Thanks for setting me straight Don. I’ve always used Walnut Oil on the cutting boards I’ve made. When I first used shellac I used it right out of the container like Aubuster and it chipped and flaked over time. I began diluting it as Ethan mentions above and never had that problem again but never forgot that flaking. At least now I know that those flakes are yummy. Always learning something here at LumberJocks.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5528 days

#5 posted 08-02-2007 03:55 AM

Great tray!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 5569 days

#6 posted 08-02-2007 04:30 AM

Nice looking Fish Tray Aubster! Great job.

Don-You all have some really nice sounding books and magazines over there Austrailia. (Like this Polishers Handbook) Wish I could get them here in the States.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View Aubster's profile


132 posts in 5520 days

#7 posted 08-02-2007 04:53 AM

Thanks for the commets on this tray. Doing this tray I have learned alot. I read up on finisihes before I choose shellac, and found that it was safest and the best to use. Otherwise, I would have stayed with my tried and true Tung Oil. You guys are a great help with my learning. I have to say when I read Chip’s post I gasped, then I read Don’s and went whew.

My next tray will be up soon. It was another fun one to make.

-- A man who moves mountains starts one stone at a time.

View snowdog's profile


1184 posts in 5474 days

#8 posted 08-16-2007 12:40 PM

The tray looks great from the photos.

Love sushi

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

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