This was a fun project that I easily made over the weekend. I promise you that I used brand new mouse traps, straight from the wrapper. No recycling for this project -- LOL.
I carefully read the package and visited the manufacturer's website. I didn't see anything that indicated any toxic materials on these mouse traps. Of course, it should go without saying that you DON'T want to incorporate used mouse traps in this project. That would be DISGUSTING.
I used only a few tools - bandsaw, drill, belt/disc sanders, clamps.
In summary, I took 6 mouse traps and cut them in half. I then glued them to a piece of oak board to give the tray some strength and durability. Did a little shaping and sanding, and then finished with mineral oil.
The dimensions for the finished cheese tray: 20 inches long by 3.5 inches wide by 1 inch thick.
In case you are wondering, I made this cheese tray strictly for personal use.
Step 1: Remove Metal Parts
Okay, technically these are the large rat traps, although I'm calling them mouse traps. Just to be clear, I'm using the wooden snap traps that are non-toxic. No, I'm not using the small size.
I carefully removed all the metal parts. I tried not to dent or mar the wood. However, there's bound to be some dents and holes left from these parts.
I wore some work gloves, being careful not to cut myself or mash my finger.
Step 2: Cut the Mouse Traps in Half
With all the metal parts totally removed, I carefully cut 6 mouse traps in half. I liked the half that displays the mouse and this half tends to have fewer holes.
Step 3: Glue the Mouse Traps
I laid out the cut-in-half mouse traps on a 5.5 inch wide by 0.5 inch thick piece of oak. I alternated the direction of each trap, applied some Titebond III glue, and used hand clamps. I allowed the glue to dry overnight.
Step 4: Cut and Trim the Tray
I used my bandsaw to cut out and trim the cheese board or tray --- whatever you want to call it.
I also trimmed out a handle on one end and drilled a 3/8 end hole for a lanyard.
Step 5: Rough Sanding
I used all the sanding tools I had available: my disc/belt sander combo, my drum sander, and regular sandpaper. I started with 80 and 120 grit sandpaper. The mouse trap wood is soft wood, so I had to be careful with the lower grit sandpaper and not take too much wood off. But it did help with the oak and getting rid of my bandsaw blade marks.
Step 6: Detail Sanding
I used my trusty little Black & Decker mouse (oh the irony!) finishing sander to smooth the sides and edges. Then I lightly hand sanded the top with 400 grit sandpaper. Had to be careful not to remove much of the designs on the mouse traps.
Hindsight, I probably should have filled the holes with some type of non-toxic putty or filler so that food won't become embedded anywhere. I elected to leave a few holes though.
Step 7: Finishing
I finished the mouse trap cheese board with some food-safe mineral oil. I made 3 applications and allowed for a 30 minute soaking in between.
I probably could have applied just about any non-toxic finish. I don't plan on doing any cutting on the board, but use it just as a serving tray.
Step 8: Added a Paracord Lanyard
I added a paracord lanyard, using the Cobra Weave pattern. I thought the operative color should be yellow to go with the cheese theme.
I didn't have to get so fancy here. Could have just as easily tied on a leather cord or a single piece of yellow paracord.
Step 9: Time for the Party
The finished product. Now invite the neighbors over and have a party!
Let me think now --- what else can I make with mouse traps?
Please share your ideas or comments.