Cabinet Making: How to Make a Tea Trolley

The useful three-tier tea-trolley illustrated below is in some ways similar in construction to the trays previously described, in that the bases of each shelf or tray of the wagon fit into grooves cut into the side rails. In fact, the tea trolley is a series of trays affixed to corner posts which are mounted on wheels. The legs or posts may be made by the handyman cabinet-maker, or ready-made legs with turned shapings may be obtained from local timber merchants and woodwork stores. The tea trolley would look well in oak or made with oak posts and rails with walnut or any other contrasting wood used to face the plywood used for the bases of the shelves.

The base of the trays is 4-mm. ply, faced with a thin veneer of oak, or any other wood to the preference of the handyman, and the plywood may be obtained from any good timber merchant already faced. The wheels on which the  tea trolley is mounted, are rubber-tyred metal wheels with a diameter of 3 in. The dimensions given in the illustration are finished sizes and the handyman cabinet maker should make some allowance for trimming when compiling a cutting list.

making a 3 tier tea trolleyThe 1-¼ in. square corner posts should be made first and the tops rounded over. It will be seen from the detailed drawings that a mortise and tenon joint is used for securing one rail to the posts, with a dowel joint securing the right-angled adjoining rails. The mortise and tenon joints are used for the six rails at the sides of the tea trolley, and the dowel joints are fitted to the rails at the ends of the wagon. The rails should be made and grooved as shown in the illustration to take 4-mm. plywood. 4-mm. ply is slightly wider than 1/8 in., but the grooves cut in the rails may be made with a 1/8 in. blade in the plough used for the job. The depths of the grooves is 4 in. inset from the inside of the rails, and the edges of each groove are made to allow in. under the base. The six side rails should be made first, finishing each piece smoothly and cutting neat and accurate tenon joints as shown in the illustration. The top edge is best rounded over with a block plane, finishing with a smoothing-plane and glass-paper.

After making the long rails for the sides of the tea trolley the corner posts should be jointed by cutting the mortises into which the tenon joints will fit. The dowel holes should not be drilled at this stage but a diagonal slot to take the corner of the base of each tray should be cut in the inside corner of the posts as shown in the illustration. With the six side rails and the four posts jointed to make the side rails, the two sides of the trolley may be assembled. A synthetic-resin adhesive may be used for securing the ends of the rails into the posts; each side should be lightly cramped up, and any surplus glue which exudes from the joints wiped off before it has a chance to harden.

Before laying the parts aside for the adhesive to harden, the rails and posts should be tested for squareness. This is done by placing a try-square in the angle formed by the joining members; there should be no wedge-shaped gaps between the members and the handle or blade of the square. While the glue is setting the six rails for the ends may be cut to shape, and the holes for the dowel pegs drilled in the ends of the rails, in the positions shown in the image above, also the base grooves cut. The three base pieces can be cut to size at this stage; dimensions are given in the image above, and each corner of each one of the tray bases should be cut off as shown in the illustration, to notch neatly into the slanting grooves cut in the corner posts. As 4-mm. plywood is s lightly thicker than the grooves it will be necessary to thin the edges of each plywood base on the underside and this may be done by vigorous rubbing with grade middle-two glass-paper folded over a block of wood. The end rails and the three bases should be smoothed down before completing the assembly. In all cabinet-making projects the handyman will find it best to smooth the parts down before assembling them.

After the cement has hardened and the sides of the trolley are firmly secured the dowel holes to take the pins should be bored in the posts, and this must be done carefully so that the positions of the side rails coincide exactly with the end rails. Test the pieces for fitting before final assembly. With this done the joints should be coated with synthetic-resin cement and one end of the trolley fitted to the two sides. At this stage the three bases should be slid into the grooves before assembling and cementing the opposite end of the trolley. The rails and legs should be tested for squareness before cramping up and setting the job on one side for the cement to harden.

The last stage in making the tea trolley consists of fixing the wheels. To do this the wagon is turned upside-down and holes drilled in the ends of the legs to take the sleeves into which the wheel spindles are inserted. The sleeves have a saw-tooth edge under the rim of the top as shown in the illustration. They are fitted to the end of the leg by inserting the tapered ends of the metal sleeves in the drilled holes, which should be in. deeper than the length of the sleeve, and hammering the top rim of the sleeve to sink the teeth firmly in the end grain of the legs. The wheel spindle which fits into the sleeve is pushed firmly into the sleeve with hand pressure and when in the correct position the shaped end of the spindle will click into place as it slides over the end of the sleeve.

To complete the tea trolley, clean down with grade-0 glass-paper and finish according to individual taste. Instructions for finishing furniture are given in the Treatments and Finishes section.

27. July 2011 by admin
Categories: DIY Projects, Woodworking | Tags: , | Comments Off on Cabinet Making: How to Make a Tea Trolley


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