Nesting Trays | Popular Woodworking Magazine
 In Projects, Questions And Answers, Techniques

Nesting Trays

Eye-catching and practical, these handy carryalls are sure to please.

By Tim Johnson

Here’s your chance to cut lots of corners and still get great-looking results. These sturdy trays are easy to build, thanks to their simple box joints and template-routed curves. You don’t need a super-equipped shop, just a tablesaw with a dado set, a router table and a drill press. You’ve probably saved enough scrap pieces from other projects to build the trays and the jigs, but even if you buy lumber and plywood, you can make this trio of trays for cheap. 

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The ends of the trays match, so you can comfortably carry all three.

Click any image to view a larger version.

Great-looking box-joints are easy to make. I used a shop-made jig and my tablesaw, but these sturdy joints can also be cut on a router table or with a dovetailing jig.


Protect the end grain when you glue the tray together. Paper towels absorb squeezed-out glue, so it doesn’t soak deeply into the wood. Because of the towels, the clamping blocks knock off easily after the glue has dried.


Level the sides and ends with a block plane or by sanding.


This story originally appeared in American Woodworker September 2005, issue #116.

September 2005, issue #116

Purchase this back issue.


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