Introduction: Interlocking Coasters

About: I have been working with wood since I could stumble into the shop with my dad. About a year ago I moved into a house with no space for a full shop so I decided to take up all hand tool wood working. That start…

Some time ago, I was asked by a friend on the channel to make coasters and figured this would be a good opportunity. I don't like making coasters that fit into a little box as the box itself serves little point other than holding the coasters and that seems counterproductive. I wanted to make coasters that would hold themselves together but still look like just a stack of coasters. The idea of using interlocking pins came to mind and the concept for these coasters was born. Originally, I was asked to make them out of walnut and maple, but since that combination is a little overused and I much prefer using white oak, I decided to make them out of walnut and white oak.

Link to plans:

Tools needed

#4 Hand plane:

Hand saw:


Bit set:

Beam clamps:

Flush Cut Saw:

Frame saw:

Supplies needed
White Oak:


Walnut dowel:

Titebond 3:

2p 10 thin:

Wipe on poly:

Boiled Linseed Oil:

Step 1: Step On1. Cut Boards to Size.

I wanted to make 6 coasters that are about 4in square in size. This means that my boards need to be at least 12 in long. I chose to cut them 16 in long so that I would have plenty of extra to work with. Next, I wanted the strip of white oak in the middle to be a 1/2 inch wide so I ripped down the stock of white oak to 1/2 in. This would then give me a large strip of walnut a thin strip of white oak and then another large strip of walnut.

Step 2: Step 2. Join and Glue Boards

In this step, we need to smooth out the edges of the boards so they can be glued together to make one new board. I do this with a hand plane at the workbench and smooth out the edge so when I put the two boards together I do not see daylight coming through between them. Here's a video tutorial on joining boards. Then, I use Titebond 3 to glue the boards together. I'm using Titebond 3 because it’s water-resistant and these coasters may get wet in the future. Lastly, I will use several bar clamps and glue the boards together. Let them sit overnight and they will be ready for the next step.

Step 3: Step 3. Shape the Stock

At this point, we have one large board that we need to cut six coasters out of. The stock board is 16 inch long by 6 inch wide by 1 inch thick. I would like the coasters to be 4in by 4in by 1/4 in. I begin by ripping the board down to 4 inch wide. This will place the 1/2 inch strip of white oak off center, which I think makes it look artistic. If you prefer it to be centered then you could remove the same amount of material from both sides of the walnut. Then, I use a large saw to resaw this board into two pieces right down the middle of its thickness. After that, we can smooth out all of the surfaces and bring it all to a consistent thickness throughout with a hand plane.

Step 4: Step 4. Cut the Squares

For this step, I want to start by cutting one end of each of these boards perfectly square to the side. This will become the reference surface so that we can cut all of these coasters out of the boards. In order make sure that the boards are square, I use one board to mark the length of the coaster on the second board. This makes sure the length of the board is the exact same as the width of the board. After cutting out all 6 coasters, we can move on to making them interlocking.

Step 5: Step 5. Drill Holes and Prep Pins

In this step, we stack up all six coasters and clamp them together so that they will not move. I used a 3/8 in auger bit to drill a hole through all six coasters on two opposing corners. These holes will be what allows a dowel to go through them. Next, with a half inch bit, I drilled a hole all the way through in the other two opposing corners. This will be the hole that allows the dowel to rest in when the coasters are stacked together. Then, we need to cut the 3/8 dowel into 12 sticks approximately 1 inch long. You can use some sandpaper to clean up one end of each of these dowels.

Step 6: Step 6. Attach Pins

At this point, I grab a couple scraps of wood that are thinner than 1/4 inch thick. These will act as spacers so I can drive the dowel through the hole and make sure all the dowels stick out the same amount from the face. With one dowel driven into each of the ⅜ holes, you should have the smooth end of the dowel sticking out less than a quarter inch on the top side of the coaster and the excess of the dowel sticking out the bottom. To glue the pins in place, I used some thin 2P10 super glue. Once the glue has set, I smooth off the bottom with a flush cut saw and a hand plane. Lastly, we can go over the whole piece with a scrap of sandpaper and get it ready for finish.

Step 7: Step 7. Finish the Coasters

For this last step, I start with boiled linseed oil since this will bring out the color of the walnut by just applying a layer to all surfaces. After it has sat for a few minutes, I will come in with a rag and wipe off the excess boiled linseed oil. Next, I will let that dry for a couple of hours and then come back and apply six coats of wipe on poly. Then, I will sand after the second coat and the fourth coat with 400 grit sandpaper to leave them with a nice clean finish. After the finish has dried, they're ready for use.