OG White Oak and Redwood Serving Tray (Reclaimed)

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Project by Horus posted 07-28-2019 03:59 AM 602 views 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been going to my friend John’s his family cabin with him since we were roommates in college – some 35 years. When I first joined him at the lake the stairway that ran from the cabin to the lake (maybe 20 steps) seemed to be in need of replacement. A couple of months ago,John and I went “Up North” to repair a shore deck we had built 15 years ago or so. John’s dad is in his 80’s and still enjoys the cabin when he is well enough to make the trip. So… since we had all of the tools with us and finished the deck faster than we thought we would, we decided to stabilize some of the stairs and railing – As much as his dad loves the lake place, we didn’t want disrepair to be his demise.

On to the stairway we went. As we started removing some of the rail supports, it became apparent they were all white oak painted but not otherwise treated. Amazingly, other than the section of the boards that were buried, the integrity of the boards was phenomenal for wood that had been outside for 50+ years.

Anyway, I took a couple of the 2×4 x ~2.5’ home with me to play with (I like reclaiming lumber and always like free)
These boards had been rough planed and measured about 1-3/4×3-3/4 – and they weighed a ton.
After skimming off the paint layer and inspecting the grain, it was clear I had old growth white oak lumber. (I can’t stop thinking about the retaining wall at that place with 20’ long 1×12 oak board covering a 50’x15’ embankment, reportedly all this same white oak).

Fast forward a couple of weeks, John asked me to help expand his deck, framing out an expansion and replacing all of the redwood deck with a PVC deck product (Atex – I highly recommend it if you can afford it). Fortunate for me I got paid to help on this one, and also got to recycle some of the redwood that came off the old deck. A couple of pieces are 6×6” posts about 3.5’ long (those are not part of this project). What I did use were a few 1×4 tongue & groove pieces. Judging from the tightness of the grain, I’m thinking the redwood may also be OG. His house is around 100 years old, so it’s possible/likely.

As a thanks for the extra cash and as a new deck warming gift, I decided to make a serving tray using both the white oak and the redwood.

I re-sawed everything on my table saw, joined on my router table and glued together. The bottom of the tray is striped Redwood and white oak with the frame and handles from white oak. All boards are ~3/8 thick. The board for the bottom are lap jointed with the oak 1” on top and 1-3/4”on the bottom – I think that may add some strength and rigidity if there are a lot of drinks on the tray. I thought about splining the corners; but my miters turned out so well, I didn’t want to detract – and I think the glue will hold well enough for this application.

A groove in the sides allows the bottom to float in the frame – I’m not sure how much expansion to expect from the redwood. Over all dimensions are ~14” x 20” x 3”

In an effort to try to keep the red in the redwood, I tried spar urethane and tung oil on some cut-off redwood. The spar turned the redwood brown and the tung oil turned it almost burgundy – it was a nice color but didn’t preserve the natural color of the redwood. I settled on Rust-Oleum Clear Top Coat – supposed to be UV resistant (we’ll see). The result was as close as I was going to get to the red of the untreated lumber – essentially both the oak and redwood look like they do with a little water on them.

Edit – I changed some of the pictures to give a more realistic representation of the actual colors of the piece – in natural light. Man I hate yellow lighting!

1 comment so far

View Peteybadboy's profile


1009 posts in 2428 days

#1 posted 07-28-2019 11:04 AM

Nice. This is on my list of projects. Thanks for posting

-- Petey

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