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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.

Photo 1. Glue up a length of strips from which you’ll cut trivet-sized squares. The width of the glued-up strips equals the length of the squares’ sides.

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.

Photo 2. Trace one trivet blank on a square piece of plywood. Mark crosshairs on the plywood to perfectly center the blank; one corner on each line.

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.

Photo 3. Bandsaw the square’s outline, forming a frame to hold the trivets for dadoing. Check your blank’s fit and adjust the frame as needed.

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.

Photo 4. Cut the first dado. Use push pads to hold the trivet firmly against the saw’s table.

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.

Photo 5. Insert a pre-cut spacer strip after each dado to produce whatever spacing you want.

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.

Photo 6. Flip the trivet, rotate it 90°, and then dado the other side.

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.

Photo 7. Ease all the edges using a block plane or sandpaper.

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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Showing 4 comments
  • bobleistner

    I like the concept;however, will the glue bond break when it gets hot? When I need to disassemble something, a bit of heat from a heat gun does the trick.

    • Collin Knoff

      I would guess not- the thermodynamic properties of a heat gun are much different than a hot item from a stove. If the pan is hot enough to cause the glue to fail, it would probably be hot enough to scorch the wood.

    • craig_shaw1

      This does not use any glue – it’s cut from a solid piece of wood.

      • craig_shaw1

        I see – you meant the glue he used in the lamination. I built some without laminations, so there is no glue, just a solid piece of wood. It looks less “busy” when it’s only one species and it’s a bit faster to make.

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