Reclaim Wood Rotating Tray. (Lazy Susan)




About: I'm a biologist, DIY guy, tools hoarder, and big admirer of people who can solve problems with ingenuous solutions..... the kind that make you say "why didn´t I think of that....." I also enj...

Big round table in your house?..... salt, gravy and sauce have to go from one hand to the next until it reaches you?.... Not anymore..... If you are interested read the instructable and you will find a elegant and good looking solution for this dinner time problem.

Step 1: Tools, Materials and Knowledge You'll Need

Let us make this boring step quick.... ok?
- Drill and a 5/16" drill bit
- Jigsaw or hand saw
- Bearing balls 5/16" (about 12), marbels will also work fine but they are not as uniformly sized
- 5mm thick board
- One bolt, 2 washers, 1 nut, size doesn't really matter ...... for our purposes
- A round piece of reclaim wood ( you know that tree your neighbour just cut down? )
- Some other stuff you will find useful and around your workplace..... you'll figure it out, right now this are the "must have" things to make this GREAT instructable posible...

oh yeah!... the knowledge part

You will need common sense to avoid accidents and basic carpentry skills.


Step 2: Measuring Tape, Ruler and Pencil Step.

First of all measure the diameter of the reclaim piece of wood you stole from your neighbour..... I mean, you borrowed from his garden. (see 3rd picture below)
Then take 2 or 3 inches of that measurment and draw 3 circles of that size on the 5 mm thick board.
Mark the center of all the circles.
On one of the cirlces you will also mark the position were the bearing balls or the marbles will be, preferably 12 or more depending on the size of the circles and the expected load.
You can distribute the marbles or balls as if ther were the hour marks on a clock. (see 2nd picture below)

Step 3: Prepare All Pieces for Assembly.... You Are Almost Done Step.

Now you need to cut all the circles and drill the necesary holes in them. This step is actually better explained with pictures. Please see all of them.

Remember that the holes should be just a little bit larger that the marbles or the bearing balls themselves to avoid to much movement.

You also need to drill a hole in the center of all three circles, this should be big enough for the bolt to go through.

Step 4: Center of Gravity....

NO, I did not go nuts.... this is indeed, a needed step. Let me explain.

The reclaim piece of wood you "somehow got from somewhere" is basically a slice of a tree trunk and there is very little chance that it is perfectly round.... SO... to keep the turnin tray balanced you need to find and mark the center of gravity of that chunk of wood.

No need to go to the science teacher for this one. You just need a small stick and patience.

Place the stick firmly on a board or elswhere and paint the tip with chalk or coloring pencil. (see picture below)
Now take the reclaimed wood and balance it on top of the stick, patience, Patience, PATIENCE!!!!! ...... there you go,.... you did it!, now press down so the chalck marks the center of gravity on your tray.

Once you marked it make a small hole without going all the way through. This hole should be just big enough for the nut to fit in (better explained in the assembly step.

Step 5: Finally.... Assembly... You're Almost Free of the "pass Me the Salt" Problem.

Take all the pieces and go to a quiet place to keep working........Naahh! sounds of the workshop are better!

Take the washer and bolt and run it through the bottom circle (picture one)
Take the middle circle, yes, the one with all the holes, and put it on top of the bottom one.
Take all your marbles.... balls..... bearing balls and place them on the holes (picture 2)
Take the top circle, washer and nut and place them on top. Picture 3
Now you have your marble sandwich. (picture 4)

Tighten the nut just as much as you can with your fingers, no need for more, or the turning tray will have problems turning.

Cut the excess length of the bolt to make it fit into the small hole you've already made in the center of gravity of your tray.

Place the stolen..... I mean "reclaimed" wood on top of your assembly and you're DONE.... well almost, you can glue the reclaim wood to the top circle so you can move it around easily or you can leave it like that to make it easy to clean, as you wish. And since you are already playing with superglue....put a drop on the nut to fix it (we don't want everything falling apart or overtighting)

Step 6: You Are DONE

This step is basically useless but is needed.

Step back and admire your work being used. Watch how the gravy flies and makes a mess because the newbies spin the turning tray to fast..... hilarious...

See you in the next instructable..



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    10 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 6

    how do you address the issue of the "log slice" splitting? my husband cut a log into slices like that and the thinner ones (less that 2 1/2 inches) split and broke up...

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    If the wood has not been treated or if it has been recently cut, it will expand and contract while moisture goes in and out of it, the best thing you can do is to use a log that has been sitting around for a long time and has reached a moisture balance, so when you cut it you will know it will not expand any more unless of course you take it to a different climate lets say a place with high humidity. The slice I used had been on the back yard for at least a year... someones backyard...ehemmm...


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    This is great!!!  I have an odd shaped table, and I wanted the lazy suzan in the middle to match it in color and shape.  I was looking for a ball-bearing mechanizm to buy off of the internet, but why?  I now know how to make my own! And I know what to do with all those marbles I saved when I was a kid.  Thanks a lot, I'll put up an ible when I'm done, (and give Tazo the credit of course) on my vacation coming up.  Here is a pic of my table.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    awesome project! what species of tree was that slice cut from? very nice grain and color! thanks for posting this instructable! I've got tons of bearing balls and I'll definitely be trying this..

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I am 90% sure that the wood comes from a Mezquite tree. (Prosopis glandulosa)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    It's usually called a Lazy Susan, I think. :P Maybe it should be a little bigger, then you can put small foods and sides on it too, sop they don't have to be passed around too, and it will also decrease the distance you'd have to reach to get the salt from the middle. Still, it's a nice instructable! Would a round groove for the ball bearings be any better, or would it make no difference? I suppose you'd need more bearings...

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I'll change the name I just didn't know how was it called (I'm not a native english speaker) . Anyway the size was pretty much determined by the tree trunk from which the slice came. but you are right it would be better if it was bigger. I do not think a groove could make a difference in this case, and actually I've already noticed that the steel balls are already making the groove on the wood just with the weight of the tray. Thak you for your comments. I will edit the instructable to add one more step shortly and also will change the name to "rotating tray" since it seems more appropiate


    9 years ago on Introduction

    "Lazy Susan" has been declared to be insufficiently sensitive to the feelings of the oppressed classes. The approved term is "rotating tray". What sort of finish did you use on this?

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I did not use any kind of finish. It is just the wood. I'll see how that works when it gets wet.