Beer Connoisseur’s Serving Tray
This post is a part of a series of projects I’ve been contracted to develop for The Gorilla Glue Company that will be featured at the Cincinnati Mini-Maker’s Faire, September 13-14, 2014. Click here for more information on the event.
Anyone who walks around a party with food and drink in your hand can understand how awkward it is to free up a hand to greet someone. This project is designed to help solve that problem—at least for those who are drinking beer from a bottle. Part painter’s palette, part serving tray, this wood serving tray offers a functional and elegant solution to giving your beer and food a place to rest when at a party. Place the large hole of the tray over the end of the bottle, and you’ve freed up a hand to nibble at your food. Place it on the table, and you’ve got a built in coaster to sit your bottle on.
This simple, Mid-Century Modern-shaped tray consists of a variety of contrasting wood species and a piece of leather, finished with a food-friendly oil. I’ve decided to build a few of these to demonstrate how different wood looks to hopefully inspire your own creation. You can even add on the end a handy bottle opener for ultimate party-going utility and style. I’m using Gorilla Glue and Gorilla Glue White for the wood and leather bonds required for this project, and the fact that it will likely be exposed to water for cleaning at some point after use.
1. Select up to (3) pieces of 3/8″ thick contrasting wood that can be glued up to form a rectangular blank 9″ wide x 12″ long. Glue up the pieces by applying glue to one surface while lightly dampening the other surface with water.
2. Carefully align the boards and clamp with even pressure. Allow to remain clamped for at least 1-2 hours. Let dry over night if you can.
3. Once the glue has fully cured, carefully remove the excess with a scraper. The dried glue should resemble dried-up pieces of foam.
4. Sand the surface flat with 100 and 150 grit sandpaper.
6. Using a band saw, coping saw or reciprocating saw, carefully cut to just outside of the traced line. You’ll need to make a few relief cuts to cut around the sharp corners of the handle section.
7. Clean up all edges so the cut piece appears as shown above.
8. Using a file, rasp or coarse sandpaper and block, smooth all edges and remove all burn marks from your saw blade.
10. Trace a pencil line around all surfaces approximately 1/8″ from the edge as shown above. Hint: use your finger to guide your hand and the pencil point around the whole piece.
11. Using a fine toothed file or coarse sand paper, remove the wood between the pencil lines to form a 45 degree edge around the entire piece.
12. Sand the edges to a smooth finish using 100 – 150 – 220 grit sand paper.
13. Thumb Hole: Cut a hole located in the middle back of the tray approximately 1.25″ from the edge using a 1-1/4″ diameter Forstner bit. Then, drill a 5/8″ diameter hole 3/4″ from the edge of the back lobe of the tray as shown in the photo above.
14. A router can be used to quickly remove the edges of the thumb hole, otherwise, repeat steps 10-12 above.
15. Leather Coaster: Cut a 3″ diameter circle of 7-8oz. leather for the coaster. Using Gorilla Glue White, apply a thin surface of glue to the bottom of the coaster, dampen the surface of the board and clamp in place in the position shown above.
16. Finish with 2 coats of cutting board oil. Then make a loop to hang the board using a 12″ long boot lace.
Now you are ready to crack open a bottle of your favorite beer and serve with an appetizer of your choice—and now you can hold everything in one hand!