Cabinet Making: How to Make a Wooden Tray

A tray is a simple project for the beginner to try his hand at cabinet-making. It has four rails (these are the side members), a base and two handles. Any hardwood may be used for the rails, and this project would look well in oak. The base of the tray is of plywood, which should be faced to match the rails. The dimensions may be varied to suit individual requirements. The rails at the sides are made from pieces finished to the dimensions of 2 in. wide by 1/2 in. thick. It is not necessary to plane true the four pieces separately; the rails may be cut from one length of material finished to the required size. The top of the rails are rounded over with a small block-plane, or a smoothing-plane, and some alternative edge shapes for the side rails of the tray are given in the illustration, which also shows how the corners are jointed.

The mitred corner joints are cut in a mitre-box with a dovetail saw or with a tenon saw, then shot true on a mitre shooting-box. Each corner is notched after assembly for the insertion of three strengthening slips of thin wood, as shown in Image 2. (More on dovetail joints)

making a trayBefore assembling the sides of the tray a groove is cut to take the edges of the base. The plywood specified is 4 mm. in thickness and this is slightly more than 1/8 in. The groove is cut with a plough fitted with a blade 1/8 in. wide and the groove is inset from the bottom edge of the members by ¼ in. The depth of the groove is also ¼ in. The groove may be ploughed in the complete rail strip before cutting the sides to length. The plywood base is cut to the size of the dimensions given in image 1, and these allow for the edges of the base which are fitted into the grooves in the sides. It will be found that the 4-mm. plywood will be slightly thicker than the 1/8 -in. wide groove, and to overcome this the bottom edges of the base of the tray should be thinned by rubbing them with glass-paper folded over a wooden block. The parts should be put together and tested for fit before gluing them.

While the parts are assembled for the test fit, the notches should be cut in the corners for insertion of the thin strengthening slips. With this done, all the parts should be rubbed smooth with grade medium-one glass-paper, using the glass-paper with the grain — which is the longest way of the wood. With the parts sanded the tray may be assembled and this is a project for which a synthetic-resin glue may be used. The adhesive consists of the resin and a separate container of hardener. The liquid resin is brushed on one of the meeting surfaces and the hardener is brushed on the opposite part of the joint. With this done the tray should be assembled and the strengthening slips glued and inserted in the corners. With synthetic-resin glues it is only necessary to hold the parts together under light pressure and for this ‘ particular job a tourniquet can be made of stout cord or copper wire looped right round the outside of the tray and tightened with a stick; insert waste pieces of wood under the cord or wire at the corner of the tray to prevent bruising the edges. Make sure that all the corner joints fit together snugly before finally tightening the tourniquet and wipe off all excess glue exuding from the joints before putting the piece aside to dry. The setting time of synthetic-resin glues may vary between different manufacturers, but most of these modern adhesives set hard in 30 minutes — setting times are given on container labels.

dovetail jointsThe handles may be made while the glue is setting. Those shown in the completed tray in image 1 are simply 4-in. sections cut from the same type of wood as used for the rails of the tray, which has been rounded and cleaned down to a diameter of 1 in. The groove in the underside of the handles may be cut with a plough or the edges of the grooves may be run through with a tenon saw and the waste eased out with a 1/2 -in. chisel. The ends of the handles may be left square or rounded over and this may be done with a wood rasp finishing with glass-paper. The position of the handles is marked on the centre of the side members of the tray and a small piece of the rounded top, equal to the length of the handles, is flattened with a chisel to enable the groove parts of the handles to fit snugly over the sides. With this done the handles should be rubbed down with grade one glass-paper, glued in the same way as the rest of the tray and placed in position. With the handles in position, turn the tray upside-down and place under a weighty object. Any excess glue should be wiped off before it has a chance to harden. As soon as the handles have set the tray should again be lightly rubbed down, this time with grade-0 glass-paper, when it is then ready for finishing.

The tray and other articles described in this section may be finished in one of several different ways, and methods of wood finishing are given within Treatments and Finishes.

Image 1 shows how the design of trays may be varied to suit the individual, by using shaped pieces of wood (picture framing) for the sides, and further variety may be added by the fitment of handles of different shapes, some of which are shown in the illustration. If the tray is made from picture-frame moulding it will not be necessary to plough a groove in the sides of the rails and the tray base may be fitted into the rebate already worked in the frame moulding. If the tray, when in use, is to be placed often on a polished surface it will be advisable to face the underside of the edges of the tray. This may be done by gluing strips of felt to the bottom of the edges of the rails using a fabric adhesive to secure the felt to the wood.

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


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