Introduction: Round Up Those TV Trays!
If you have some folding TV trays that did not come with a storage rack, have no fear! So did I. This is an easy project for someone who wants to do some woodwork and end up with something useful. When your friends and family come over to watch the game, don't be embarrassed any more by your stack of folded trays leaning against the wall. Now I can whip out the trays from their convenient storage location every pizza and movie night.
Step 1: Materials
I made my TV tray caddy from 100% reused oak floor boards and some wood screws. I bought nothing specifically for this job, but used stuff I already had. If you need to buy the wood, you can cut it all out of 7' x 4" x 3/4" (220 cm x 10cm x 19mm). Staining or painting is only limited by your imagination. I recommend a durable finish like polyurethane.
Step 2: Tools
Step 3: Plans
I included .pdf versions of the plans, in case you want to print them out.
Step 4: Cut Out the Pieces
Practice woodworking safety! For some tips on working with tools, check out this article.
Most of the pieces are 2 inches wide, so a table saw is ideal for ripping these, but you can use a circular saw with a fence. If you do, be sure to secure your work with clamps.
If you print the plan of just the handle at full scale, you can cut it out and trace it on the board, then cut it out with a jigsaw, band saw, or coping saw. I left an extra inch (25mm) on each end so I could screw it down to a board clamped to my table, as shown in the photos. I countersunk the screws so the router base could slide over them without catching.
Cut the pocket out of the middle with a straight router bit using a fence as shown in the photos.
Smooth out the saw marks with 60 grit sandpaper or so before routing the edges with a roundover bit.
After the edges are rounded, you can cut off the extra that was left on the ends earlier.
For the scallops in the racks (item 4) (the semicircle pockets on the top edge for holding the trays), I laid them out along the center of a board 4" wide. I cut the holes with a forstner bit, then ripped the board down the middle to make both racks at the same time.
For rounding the corners of the vertical rails (item 1), feet (item 2) and horizontal racks (item 4), my favorite method is freehand with my disc sander. If you don't have one, you could use a coin and a pencil to mark the radius, then cut it with a coping saw, band saw, etc.
For the screw holes, I laid out the centers with a square, as shown in the plans, then marked them with a center punch and drilled them with a drill press. It has been wisely pointed out that the horizontal racks may need to be higher depending on the size of your tables. If you don't have a drill press, you could use a power drill with this method.
Countersink the holes on one side of each rail for the screw heads.
Sand all the pieces, starting with coarse paper about 60 grit and working your way up to about 200 grit for most finishes.
Step 5: Assemble and Finish
This design uses wood screws through the vertical rails (item 1) into all the other pieces.
I started with the feet (item 2), then the racks (item 4). I clamped a square to the rails, then used it as a guide to locate the feet and racks. Each time, I clamped the pieces together first, leaving room to pre-drill the pieces, then screw them together.
Once these were together, I stood the two rails up on their feet and clamped a square to both to hold them level and in the right place. I made light marks where the stile (item 3) and handle (item 5) needed to go, then held them in place while pre-drilling and installing the screws.
At this point, the caddy can be put to use, or you can apply finish to your heart's desire. I like Danish oil to retain the wood's natural beauty, but if you want to stain, I recommend a durable topcoat like Polyurethane. If you paint, I recommend a high-gloss enamel, reducing the risk of paint rubbing off on your trays. It would also help if the paint, stain, etc. is the same color as your trays.
Step 6: P.S.
If you like this style of step-by-step instruction, please share with others and subscribe, so you'll be notified when I post more. If you have questions, please post them in the comments. I will try to answer and probably update the instructions, too. Read about more of my woodworking projects and tools at ChipsWoodShop.com.
6 months ago
Your plans worked great! I had an old poplar board I wanted to repurpose from an old waterbed my grandpa and I made many years ago. I figured this was a great use for it.
My only recommendation when building is to set the horizontal arm height based on your actual TV trays. My TV trays are not standard and would have touched if I hadn't raised it.
Thanks for the plans!
Reply 6 months ago
Beautiful! Thanks for the suggestion, and for sharing!
6 years ago
This is great but I would never use it. I leave mine out all the time! :)