Introduction: Live Edge Walnut Catchall Valet

About: Project videos and tutorials that show the creation of home decor and furniture. I specialize in DIY woodworking, building custom items for clients, friends, and family, showing a variety of woodworking tools…

I wanted a one-day project that looked unique so I decided to make a live edge catchall valet. This Instructable is a step by step on how I made it so that you can make something similar in your shop.

I’m using a piece of walnut that was sitting around in my shop. It was too small for most of my projects, but just right for something like this. You can raid your firewood stack to find an off-cut from a log to make something similar.


Step 1: Layout for the Tray

I want my valet to have a large tray and then a phone holder. I measure for the phone and the tray. Using a piece of paper, I traced the shape of the edge of the board with a marker. I scanned the drawing onto my computer.

I used Inkscape, a free vector drawing software, to draw the shape of my tray. This can be used to route out the tray.

Step 2: Route the Tray

There are a few ways to cut the shape of the tray. I am fortunate enough to have a CNC. I used the vector that I drew in Inkscape to have my CNC cut the shape out. You can also do this with a handheld router.

To do this, tape a print out of the shape onto a piece of plywood. Using a bandsaw or scroll saw, cutout the shape, which will give you a template. That template can be used to guide a handheld router to cut out the tray.

Step 3: Make a Phone Groove

I want my valet to have a place to hold my phone. Each phone is different so the length and width of your groove may vary. I would rather have a larger groove than a smaller one.

Using a handheld router and a 1/4” router bit, I cut a 1/2” wide groove that’s approximately 1/4” deep. To ensure that my groove was straight, I used double sided tape to stick some pieces of wood onto my workpiece. This ensures that I don’t route past my layout lines.

Step 4: Cut a Channel for a Phone Charger

While my router is still set up, I cut a smaller groove directly in the middle of the long groove that holds my phone. This groove is only slightly wider than the width of my phone charger. I made multiple passes with the router until I cut a channel all the way through the workpiece.

A tip that’s helpful is to put your workpiece on a sacrificial board. You can then route through your workpiece and into the sacrificial board, eliminating tearout when the router bit exits the piece.

After I routed out the channel, I used some chisels to clean things up and square off the corners of the grooves.

Step 5: Cut the Exit for the Charger

I flipped the workpiece over and cut an exit groove for the phone charger. I used a handheld router and a router fence to cut a channel from the back of the workpiece to the exit point when I routed out the channel for the cable. I used chisels to clean up the corners and make the channel look crisp.

Step 6: Add a Brass Phone Stand

In order to make sure my phone doesn’t fall over, I added a brass bar for the phone to lean against. Brass is soft and easy to shape with woodworking tools and processes. I marked the area where I want the brass bar to stand. My bar is about 1/2” wide and 1/8” thick.

I used chisels to cut a mortise for the brass bar. I then used a sander to shape the top of the bar, rounding it over so it has a soft look and feel. I sanded the brass, moving up in grits until it was shinny.

Installing the brass couldn’t be easier. I used CA glue to stick the brass in place. CA glue works great for combining wood and metal.

Step 7: Sanding and Finishing

I sanded the catchall from 80 to 220 grit. I then used some spray lacquer to finish it up. I think this project turned out really cool! It’s unique and is a good conversation piece in the house. I hope that you give this one a try. You can't really mess it up because every piece of wood is different and any tray shape you add will only add upon the cool factor!

•• My Links ••