LOBRO Lap Trays

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Project by lobro4 posted 07-31-2016 10:27 PM 1468 views 5 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A project inspired by my wife actually saying (while walking through Bed Bath & Beyond,) “You could build that and make it a lot better.” Thanks, Babe. Partner that with kids getting married and/or moving out it made for a good housewarming gift if you will.
The project is from Jatoba. Often referred to with the made-up name Brazilian Cherry. There’s no relation between this Central American wood and our native Cherry. Made from 4/4 lumber the overall size is 13” x 23” with 10” legs. The panels are book matched from 4/4 and 1/4” thick. Mitered at the corners and glued with polyurethane glue. Miters are reinforced with 1/4” dowels. Three of them are finished with BLO which gives a red-orange color (the one with the legs unfolded in the main photo) and the other five with Watco Black Walnut Danish Oil. Two coats of spray gloss urethane and a final coat of semi gloss. 320 sanding between coats.
The pictures show a folded tray and a standing tray and the underside. The latter pictures show some examples of the more dramatic book match patterns.
Some engineering points. The legs are held in place by bolts through the legs in to barrel nuts in the frame. The barrel nuts were roughed up with 100 grit and glued in place with polyurethane glue. Blue strength thread locker on the bolts to help them stay tight over time. I placed two thin nylon washers between the legs and the frame. As for the legs, they were sized just to fit under the tray and the pivot hole had to be dead center. The barrel nut hole had to be the same distance up from the bottom. Take that same distance and add little less than 1/8” in from the end of the frame to give the end of the legs room to pivot and extend a little beyond the ends. The round tenons on the end of the leg crossmember were made using my Lee Valley Tenon Cutter. It’s one of my favorite small hand tools.
I have to laugh at myself. I made 8 of them. For the last several weeks so I can’t count how many times I’ve deatle with 4’s and 8’s and 16’s and 32’s with the parts. I’m ready for some prime numbers.
Thanks for looking!

-- Rock Chalk Jayhawk Go KU!!

3 comments so far

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

426 posts in 4519 days

#1 posted 07-31-2016 11:07 PM

These are lovely. Great hardware selections; that really completes the piece that must be reliable to be useful.

Jatoba is a dense wood; are these noticeably heavier that the Bed, Bath & Beyond version? Any issue there?

Did you turn the Jatoba dowels, or did you find them somewhere? And, if so, where? That is a very nice touch.

I’ve thought of making a similar project … but I don’t go to BBB with my wife. That may be how I avoid the imperial commands like you got!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View lobro4's profile


216 posts in 4665 days

#2 posted 08-01-2016 01:25 AM

Thanks, Mr M.
They weigh in at 6 1/2 pounds. Not cumbersome at all.
The leg crossmember are square blanks with just the ends cut down to “dowel.” Heres a link to the tool.,180,42288,52401
Here’s a link to the hardware. The barrel nuts are a standard length. The bolts come in multiple lengths.

-- Rock Chalk Jayhawk Go KU!!

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4319 days

#3 posted 08-01-2016 07:33 PM

You did a nice job on these. They are a nice design and are very practical.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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