Table Mats - not many joints in these

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Project by Don Johnson posted 02-17-2013 10:41 AM 1648 views 4 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

On a number of occasions, my wife, Avril, has mentioned that our table mats were looking rather sad. But when looking at the sets of four offered for sale in various shops, she rejected them all as ‘Not quite what I was looking for’, and being rather expensive for what they were – especially as she wanted at least eight. After spotting some recently – which again failed to meet her standard – she suggested that I ought to be able to make some wooden ones.

I remembered that I still had some slightly over 1/8th inch thick oak-veneered MDF remaining from another project, which might be suitable, and when I looked, there were three lengths, the width of each being almost exactly the width of one of our existing mats, so I could make four from each. Serendipidy or what ! And there was another strip exactly the width of the smaller coasters, so I could make twelve of those as well!

Well, with such luck, how could I avoid turning the material into mats – it seemed as though fate had decided for me!

I initially thought of making one as a pattern and and using a trimming router to cut the radiused corners on each, but I soon realised that it would take longer to fix each mat to a jig than it would to eyeball to a line on a disc sander – and I would have to make the jig. I did make up a little jig with scraps and double-sided tape to draw the corner curves with a pencil, but that only took a moment.

I finished the tops with three coats of quick-drying matt polyurethane varnish that – hopefully – will stand up to hot plates, and found some 1/32 inch thick cork sheet on E-bay which I stuck to the backs with PVA. When the glue dried, I carefully bevel-sanded the cork edges.

I appreciate the simplicity of this project, but I have not been out in the workshop much recently as it has been too cold (or should I say ‘chilly’ as we do not get the temeperature extremes of the US over here in the UK) and have not had anything else to post to show that I am still active.

-- Don, Somerset UK,

7 comments so far

View thelt's profile


671 posts in 4349 days

#1 posted 02-17-2013 10:49 AM

Very nice place mats. I’ve not seen anything like that in the USA. Near 1/8” MDF is not common here. In fact Ive never seen it here, much less veneered. Now I’m going to start looking.

-- When asked what I did to make life worthwhile in my lifetime....I can respond with a great deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served a career in the United States Navy."

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 4404 days

#2 posted 02-17-2013 11:36 AM

Don, they are super nice and very practical. IMO, a much better set than you can purchase at the store from God knows what materials.
I see a village shop items here:-)
Well done.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3377 days

#3 posted 02-17-2013 12:19 PM

These look nice but…...............did they pass “the” test? LOL

PS—-Its pretty cold here this a.m.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4303 days

#4 posted 02-17-2013 02:02 PM

These are real nice Don. The wood makes them special. Kudos to your wife for suggesting them and you for making it happen!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 3023 days

#5 posted 02-17-2013 08:19 PM


-- Joel

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

732 posts in 3750 days

#6 posted 02-18-2013 10:13 AM

jaykaypur – yes, SWMBO was delighted.

thelt – after actually measuring it, the thickness over the veneer was just under 3/16 inch.

Roger – I’m not sure if the selling price would be reasonable if I had to buy the veneered MDF specifically for more mats, but perhaps . . . . .

Thanks for the kind comments

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View DonB's profile


586 posts in 3661 days

#7 posted 04-27-2013 05:46 PM

I would love to find some of that veneered, thin, MDF also. Anyway, very nice project and I’m sure you made “points” with your wife.

-- DonB

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