I recently finished a fun serving tray project with shop scraps. It features a decorative bottom covered with a bar top finish. You can pretty much build this to any dimensions you’d like, but take into account how deep your tray needs to be to accommodate whatever you use to decorate the bottom – in my case I used halved wine corks. My dimensions ended up at 3″ x 15″ x 20″.
For the joinery, I’ve been practicing dovetails, so I made a single dovetail at each corner. I used 1/4″ square dowels to create a cleat which I glued and secured with brads to support the tray bottom, which was simply 1/4″ plywood.
To make sure my bar top epoxy didn’t ooze out of the cracks I used clear silicon caulk around the inside bottom and corners of my tray. I finished the tray with amber shellac. I attached store bought pulls for my tray handles, but you can, of course, cut out handles or create your own pulls.
From there, I proceeded to decorate my tray bottom with wine corks. I used a very elaborate method of halving them: a cutting board and a kitchen knife. Make sure you glue your corks (or whatever you end up using) to the bottom of the tray before poring your epoxy or else you risk them floating.
Finally, I poured my epoxy – I used Famowood Glaze Coat. I ended up using a couple of applications – the first just seemed to fill in the spaces between the corks (and possibly was absorbed by them as well). I actually had to run back to the store as I hadn’t bought enough epoxy. I started with a pint’s worth of the Glaze Coat and ended up buying the gallon size. In all I used about a half gallon of epoxy to cover the corks.
It was a fun project and I’ve already started making another one. As luck would have it, I have some epoxy left over, so it all works out.
Looking for more small scale woodworking projects? Check out “Simple & Stylish Woodworking,” for 20 fun builds to accent the home or give as gifts.