Newton Coasters

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Project by AffineCreations posted 12-14-2012 05:57 PM 2252 views 12 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I came up with these coasters as a test for techniques I needed for my PoincarĂ© clock. But they’ve turned out to be a popular inexpensive item. Easy to make and sell well.

They start with a piece of Curly Maple, which I cut into a blank long enough for the four coasters. Using a V-Groove bit, I route shallow grooves for the dividers between the colored rectangles. I cut deeper grooves for where I will separate the blank into the individual coasters.

Using a water-based dye, I dye the whole blank, top and bottom, black. After the dye is dry, sand back the top until only a little bit of dye is left in the curly figure, which at the same time leaves the grooves black. With yellow, red and blue water-based dyes, I paint each of the rectangles. I don’t need to mix the dyes beforehand to get the secondary colors; I just paint the pair of colors one on top of the other. They mix on the wood. Kind of fun to paint blue on top of yellow and see green on the wood. Here is where the black dyed grooves are important: when painting the colored dyes, I don’t have to worry about staying in the lines too much. A little color on top of the black doesn’t show.

At the table saw, I CAREFULLY cut the blank apart into the individual coasters and apply some black dye to the cut sides. A coat of Tung Oil to bring out the figure and let that dry for days. Steel wool back the oil and lots of spray lacquer. I’m liking the Target Coatings' EM6000 Not too expensive, not very toxic and build fast and clear. And I can spray it with a single-action airbrush. A spray gun would be overkill for little coasters. Then some 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper with mineral oil/spirits mix and some steel wool and they have a nice gloss.

-- - Nicholas, Silver Spring, MD

6 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4089 days

#1 posted 12-14-2012 06:31 PM

Very cool ,well done.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30441 posts in 2850 days

#2 posted 12-14-2012 07:51 PM

Nice little project

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View robscastle's profile


6362 posts in 2716 days

#3 posted 12-14-2012 08:52 PM


Looks like a suitable project fora child or young adult who is interested in doing woodwork and or craft to participate in with assistance and supervision from a mentor.

Good work

-- Regards Rob

View Boxguy's profile


2857 posts in 2779 days

#4 posted 12-15-2012 01:12 AM

Nicholas, the results are wonderful. The process is exhaustive. There are a lot of steps here. So, if you don’t mind my asking, what is the price of these. Thanks for all the details on your build. I like the clock too.

-- Big Al in IN

View AffineCreations's profile


28 posts in 2770 days

#5 posted 12-16-2012 03:48 PM

@Al, I charge $35/set of 4. Though there appears to be lots of steps, most of them are fairly quick to do. For example, sanding back the black dye takes 5 mins. The key is when I make them, I make them in 4 sets of 4. In the morning I can grab some Curly Maple from my lumber stock and by dinnertime have the Tung Oil applied. And doing the lacquer takes a morning. So in a ~12 hours I can make $140 of inventory, which is about the mark I strive for.

The good news is I am in talks with a buyer for a mail-order catalog/online store to supply these. All I need is a faster way to paint them (ideas in the works…) and I can keep a nice income level from them.

-- - Nicholas, Silver Spring, MD

View DavidIN's profile


81 posts in 2500 days

#6 posted 12-18-2012 04:59 PM

made a few things almost identical in that shape and used the table saw with a flat blade. i used flat paint with a spray laquer but i like yours better ….very nice.

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