These waffle-patterned trivets are perfect for the last minute “shopper”. All you need to crank them out by the dozen is a dado set or router table and a plywood frame.
You can make these trivets any size. You could make different shapes, too. I decided on 6″ squares, to keep it simple.
A single 6″ wide board would work, but I opted for gluing up strips of maple and walnut (Photo 1). I like the contrast and resulting visual interest. When the glue dries, plane the long blanks to make sure all the surfaces are flush. Cut the glued-up strips into 6″ squares.
A plywood frame is the safest and easiest way to cut dadoes in a small part like this; especially when you’re cutting at a 45° angle. For 6″ trivets, cut a 12″ plywood square, using plywood that’s the same thickness as your trivets.
Mark crosshairs on the plywood square by drawing intersecting centerlines from side to side. Position the trivet blank on the plywood so that each corner of the trivet is on a line. This automatically centers the trivet on the frame. Trace around the trivet (Photo 2), and then bandsaw the trivet’s outline (Photo 3). Test the trivet’s fit in the cutout, and adjust the frame as necessary.
Set your dado blade’s height so that it’ll make a groove that’s half the trivet’s thickness plus 1/64″. Decide what groove width and spacing you want. I made 1/2″ dadoes, spaced 1/2″ apart, but you can use whatever spacing arrangement you like.
Mark the first groove’s location on the frame’s leading edge, and line it up with your dado set. I wanted full corners on my trivets, so I made the first groove 1/4″ off the centerline (Photo 4). That way, I’d have a 1/2″ wide strip running down the centerline on both sides of my trivets.
To simplify spacing, I made a few 1″ wide mdf spacers. After each dado, I inserted a spacer (Photo 5). Using spacers, I only had to set the fence once. When you’ve cut dadoes all the way to the trivet’s corner, lift the trivet out of the frame and spin it 180°, but don’t flip it. Cut the dadoes in the other half of the first side by removing spacers one at a time. This method uses only half of the frame, so you could use the other half of the frame to cut a different spacing.
When the dadoes are all cut on the trivet’s first side, take the trivet out of the frame, flip it over, and rotate it 180° (Photo 6). Using the same method you used on the first side, cut all the dadoes on the second side.
After all the dadoes are cut, ease the edges using a block plane or sanding block (Photo 7). Trivets are meant to hold hot pans right out of the oven, so I didn’t apply a finish.
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