After years of different kinds of woodworking projects, I have boxes full of scrap pieces of different types of hardwood. Some of the woods have such unique colors, so of course I can’t stand to throw even the small pieces away. Here is one way to thin out that scrap wood pile.
These are three trivets I made for putting hot dishes on at the dinner table.
The first step to making these is to cut all the scrap pieces the same thickness. Since they are all such small pieces, I found it safer to cut them with the fence on my bandsaw. Then, if necessary, cut the other sides to make sure they are all straight pieces that can be glued together. To prepare the pieces for gluing I didn’t feel it was necessary to sand, plane or joint the pieces to get perfectly smooth edges. Since there isn’t a lot of stress on the trivets, and because I wrapped a frame around the finished trivet I figured the rough edges were good enough for gluing. Making sure you have a perfectly flat surface to work on, put a sheet of wax paper on your working bench so any glue that oozes out of the joints won’t stick to the workbench. Don’t use too much glue because that just makes all the more work removing it after the laminate sets up. You want to clamp the pieces together just hard enough to force the glue into the wood pores. Too much pressure will just cause problems with the wood buckling and extracting more of the glue out of the joints. I used waterproof glue just to be on the safe side, in case these trivets got wet.
After the glue sets up at least 24 hours, cut the laminated board into squares. At this point you will need to sand or plane the back side smooth. This is necessary so that you can stick a “handle” on the back side using double faced foam tape. You need the handle to push and lift the board across the router table.
For the first two trivets, I used a set of straight router bits. The first cut was with a ¾” bit set at 1/16” deep.
With guides clamped onto the router table, slowly drop the board down, then push the board across the bit.
Do this on all four sides. Next move your guide boards clamped onto the router table to the next position for the second row. Keep doing this until you have the pattern that you want on the trivet.
My favorite pattern is the trivet with the different shaped ridges.
You can comp up with several different patterns. After your last cut with the ¾” router bit, leave the guides where they are and change the router bit to a ½” bit. Set the depth to 1/8” deep cut. Now move the guides back one at a time at the matching points that you used for the first cuts. When you get the ½” bit done, repeat this process for a 1/6” bit, set at a 3/16” deep cut. Next you’ll have to sand all the fuzz off the edges of the routered layers. Now you can make a frame to put around the trivet. This will hide all the edges of the laminated pieces as well as help strengthen the trivet since it is only help together with glue and every joint could be a weak breaking point. On one of the trivets I routered a small groove on the edge between the laminated portion and the frame just to dress it up.
My third trivet was a circular pattern. I started by drilling a ¼” hole dead center of the finished trivet.
Then put a short ¼” dowel in a board clamped onto the router table. I used a cove bit to router the circles in the trivet.
Slowly dropping the trivet down onto the ¼” dowel, simply spin the trivet around to make your circles. Move the clamped board until you have all the circles done.
Since hot, sometimes sloppy, dishes will be set on the trivets, I thought Tung Oil would be a good choice for the finish. I surprised my daughter, Catherine, with these for her birthday. She didn’t even mind that I didn’t spend any money for these beautiful gifts.