I've used this 'loaf' method to crank out numerous coaster sets for easy cheap gifts or craft fair inventory.  Making them out of plywood is the cheapest source of material and still gives you an interesting enough end product.  The basic concept is laminating a stack of plywood discs together into one long log and then slicing it up. 

Materials needed:
- (1) piece of 3/4" plywood (preferably something furniture grade with no voids) 24"x48" 
- (1) 36" length of 3/8" diameter dowel (the one shown is oak)
- Wood glue

Tools needed:
- (2) 36" long pipe clamps
- Sander, belt or orbital
- Chopsaw (must have angle adjustable base)
- Small laminate trimmer router (optional)


Step 1: Plywood Discs and Sled

The first step in the process is to knock out about 36 plywood discs. The discs I made are 3-1/2" in diameter but you can make them any size you'd like. Each disc has a 25/64" hole in the center. The hole is slightly oversized to allow a 3/8" dowel to slip through the center to help align all the pieces.

I used to make the discs with the circle cutting jig for my plunge router shown in the attached pic Fortunately I live in the Bay Area and I now make these at TechShop with the help of the CNC ShopBot. I can now knock out the 3 dozen discs in about 30 minutes of machine time. I also recently assembled a sled for holding the log which is a great help in the upcoming slicing step.

Once all the discs are cut start slipping them on to a 36" length of 3/8" dowel. Don't be shy with the wood glue in between layers. Squeeze them all together with 2 pipe clamps. The extra length of dowel gives you something to hold onto when your cutting towards the end of the log.

When the glue is dry it's time to sand. A benchtop belt sander makes pretty quick work of this but it can by done with a handheld small random orbital sander. Doing it by hand always reminds me how much sanding has become my least favorite part of any project.

<p>The 5 degree offset is a good idea, so is your choice of bourbon in the last step.</p>
@cookna. On the ones pictured I used a Deft gloss lacquer. 3 coats.
What kind of stain do you use?
You should put some magnets (neodymium?) in the middle to keep them all together.
You mean for when they're not in use? That's an interesting idea. <br>I put magnets on everything. Maybe that will be my second Instructable.
Right when not in use... unless you need to have your beer really really high for some reason
sweet project! <br>
when you say 2 degree offset, do you mean a 2 degrees on the miter?
Gman, 2 degree on the base. Blade stays perfectly vertical. The 2 degrees is approximate, it just needs to be enough that you slice through the different layers in the ply but not too much where the coasters start to take on an elliptical shape.
very nice!

About This Instructable




Bio: My small garage business, 265 design, is the creative outlet for all things produced in one small garage studio/workshop located in Northern California.
More by jmc75:Redwood Rock Planters Plywood coaster loaf 
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