Introduction: Deviled Egg Tray

My nephew asked me to help him make a 4H fair project for next year. He is 11 and isn't sure what he wants to do yet. I said sure but he needs to learn how to use my shop tools first. I did not tell him what we were making until the very end of the project.

Step 1: Step 1: Tools and Materials


Scrap wood

Tape measure


1/4" round nose bit (cove box)

Round over bit

Pantograph (designed by Matthias Wandel, his site is



Dremel tool

Dremel 80 grit flap disk



Tablesaw circle jig



Handle (Menards $3.50)


Step 2: Step 2: Assemble the Boards

I had several pieces of scrap laying around the shop. I squared them up to 3/4" x 3/4" and glued it together. The initial size was 13" x 14". I used the same steps as if I was building a cutting board.

I prepped this before my nephew came to my shop. He did most of the work for the rest of this project, I just made sure he stayed safe. His mom would not be happy with me if he got hurt.

The first thing we did was run it through the planer to smooth out both sides.

Step 3: Step 3: Making the Tray Shapes

He used the ruler to find center of the board and drilled a 9/64 inch hole part way into the board for the tablesaw circle jig. There are several plans out there for making circles on the tablesaw. I had made my jig years ago and it still works great.

My nephew is a little short to use the table saw without a stool but he did a great job and he did it safely. I stood close to him just in case he needed help, he didn't. He made two circles without any problems. His smile of accomplishment was awesome.

I then showed him how to find the center of the circle. There are several techniques out there so use your favorite.

Using the compass we drew two circles, one at 2" from center, one at 4 3/4". I did not do exact math, just estimated everything and the guesses came out really close. These circles would give us 4 holes on the inner circle and 11 on the outer circle.

To figure out were to route out for the eggs, the inner circle marks were placed opposite of each other. For the outer circle we placed a mark randomly on the line then used the ruler to measure 2 3/4" in a straight line to where it intersects the circle again.

The math said if we followed the line the next mark would be 2.82 inches around the circle. We were not going for perfection just experience. I think the last two circles were about 1/8" closer together than the rest.

Step 4: Step 4: Routing the Holes for the Eggs

We used the pantograph jig designed by Matthias Wandel, his site is My nephew was a little nervous at first using the jig but the more he used it the more confident he became.

We borrowed a large spoon from the kitchen, maybe I should have told my wife what I was going to do with it, whoops. To stabilize the spoon we put the handle on a short board and then put a piece of tin over the handle so it would not tilt. Around the edge of the spoon we tacked two short pieces of tin with nails to create a lip to prevent the jig guide from going past the edge of the spoon.

I had tried to route a test piece without the lip with disastrous consequences. We used two pieces of tin because it was easier to shape to the spoon than using one piece.

We used a marker and placed a spot near the center of the spoon to create a reference point.

To stabilize the tray we attached two boards in a "V" formation and used another board to apply pressure opposite the "V" to keep it from shifting while he routed. Sorry, I didn't take a good picture of that setup.

WARNING: Leave the router unplugged and off during the setup process.

To set the tray location before screwing down the "V" boards he put the guide on the spoon mark then moved the tray until the router bit contacted one of the marks on the outer circle.

We then secured the two boards to create the "V" and used the other board to create pressure opposite the "V".

WARNING: Do NOT start the router with it contacting the wood.

We set up a Home position for the router. We found a point that when the guide pin was in the Home position the router was not touching the tray. He always had the pantograph at HOME before he started, before he turned power on or off and when he finished. You can't see it but I used a punch and made a shallow hole in the board just to the right of the spoon handle, the guide sat in the hole perfectly and the router bit was not in contact with the tray.

He moved in a counter clockwise motion starting at the outside edge of the spoon and slowly working towards the center of the spoon. He wanted to watch the router and not the guide, this caused a few mistakes but it was a great learning opportunity.

Next move across the spoon in a side to side movement from left to right than front to back. As he went along and gained confidence the holes looked better and better. It would still require some sanding.

When one hole was finished the router went Home, powered down then we removed the pressure board, rotated the tray to the new position to be routed, checked that the guide pin was in the center of the spoon and the bit touched the mark on the circle, reinstalled the pressure board and started routing.

Always starting and stopping at the home position. As my nephew gained experience he grew more confident and his smile got bigger. It was fun to watch. When he finished with the outside circle we repositioned the "V" to route out the inner circle holes.

Step 5:

We used an 80 grit flap sanding disk on the Dremel to sand out the holes. We found that turning the tray as we sanded each hole made it easier to sand all sides of the hole.

He was getting tired to we didn't sand it as well as it should have but the technique worked extremely well.

I then used a router rollover bit to soften the edges of the tray. I am fortunate to have a drum sander so after the holes were sanded we ran the tray through sander. A palm sander would work just as well.

Lastly we attached the handle to the tray. He still wasn't sure what we had built but after 14 guesses he got it right.

We did not put a finish on the tray yet. I plan to use a linseed oil and paraffin wax finish when we have time. We need to use something that is food safe and my research said this was a good way to go.

Step 6: Conclusion

My nephew had fun and learned many new things. He didn't hurt himself once, happy mom with that success. He can't wait to come back to the shop and try something new. He has plans to build a small shed at his place next summer, I have no doubts he will do it.