Instructables
Picture of Plywood coaster loaf
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)


 
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Plywood discs and sled

Picture of Plywood discs and sled
Plywood-2.jpg
Plywood-4.jpg
Plywood-5.jpg
Plywood-6.jpg
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 greatly 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 nice 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. 


 
jmc75 (author) 11 months ago
@cookna. On the ones pictured I used a Deft gloss lacquer. 3 coats.
cookna11 months ago
What kind of stain do you use?
actruncale11 months ago
You should put some magnets (neodymium?) in the middle to keep them all together.
jmc75 (author)  actruncale11 months ago
You mean for when they're not in use? That's an interesting idea.
I put magnets on everything. Maybe that will be my second Instructable.
actruncale jmc7511 months ago
Right when not in use... unless you need to have your beer really really high for some reason
roballoba11 months ago
sweet project!
Gman2005cs11 months ago
when you say 2 degree offset, do you mean a 2 degrees on the miter?
jmc75 (author)  Gman2005cs11 months ago
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.
asamchenko11 months ago
very nice!