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My wife had been wanting a serving tray for some time, and I think she felt she couldn't buy one because I always told her "I could easily make you one". Well I finally got around to it. I made this tray as a Christmas gift for her.

It's made of walnut (the same scraps I salvaged from an old discarded end table, which I used to build my valet tray). It was a lucky day when I discovered the walnut in that old end table.

I didn't have enough pieces of that scrap walnut that were long enough to do anything meaningful with, other than cut into a bunch of little "bricks". So I took advantage of the small pieces by gluing them up in a herringbone pattern, and was very pleased with the end result. Hard to tell from the pictures, but light reflects differently off the different bricks with their alternating grain direction, making the pattern pop.

It was fun to polish up some small scraps and offcuts in a project like this, and my wife loved it!

Gallery

Comments

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That is a fantastic looking serving tray, I'm sure your wife likes it. Who wouldn't? That is so clever, I don't remember seeing anything like that.
 

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Very nice tray. Nice workmanship and the bottom is wonderful.
 

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Very nice indeed.

Just curious, how did you clamp that? Looks like it was glued up all at once. I tried that once and it was "a challenge." Worked OK but I need to to find a better way.
 

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That's beautiful. I think most Parquet floors I have seen do what you describe about the different light reflection. Mostly the same exact grain if all oriented the same, but just due to the minute differences of grain orientation, it provides a lot of flash. Cool look is the result. I think that is why this tray is such a winner.

Are the ends at angle to the base? Can't tell by the pics.
 

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Very clever touch to a common project.

I may borrow this idea for Christmas

Thanks for posting.

Bill in MI
 

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Great looking tray.
 

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Lovely. The walnut really looks great with that design. What are the dimensions? Also, interested in what finish you used.
Again -super job!
 

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yes - very nice build. At second glance I see the end are offcuts as well - good job
 

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That takes dedication and patience!

Never seen one with the handles made like that, the entire effect is stunning.
 

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I love it. What a great idea and a great way to use left overs.
 

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Very attractive look! How thick is your finished wood in this project? I'm considering resawing some 3/4 stock but not sure if 3/8 or 1/4 is suitable for a tray project.
 

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@Ardubya - my tray actually has a 1/2" thick bottom, which is probably a bit thicker than a typical serving tray, but it doesn't feel excessively bulky. If you're planning to build a tray in similar manner, namely by gluing together smaller pieces to form the bottom, I'd recommend considering a thicker bottom to allow more glue surface area if you're edge joining small pieces. Thinner pieces such as 1/4" thick might not provide enough glue surface to make for an adequately strong bond in the seams between pieces. The problem is compounded if you're also considering a herringbone pattern such as I made, since there really is no good way (that I know of) to provide clamping force on all the little pieces during the glue-up. When I made my tray, I didn't clamp any of the patterned pieces during glue-up. I simply loaded up the edges with glue and set them in place, and hoped that my half-inch-thick pieces had a enough glue surface area to create a solid bond.

On the other hand, if you're not going with the herringbone pattern, or you're using one solid board/panel/plywood for the base, and depending on the size of your tray, a 1/4" bottom may be plenty thick.

I'm not expert, but hopefully that helps and gives you some things to think about when choosing your thickness. Good luck!
 
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