Red Cedar End Grain Tray

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About: I get a real kick out of completing projects with as low a budget as possible. It's usually pretty easy to collect almost all the parts necessary to make some pretty cool stuff. I also enjoy playing music an...

I just finished rebuilding my truck bed with red cedar, so I had a little bit of left over scrap pieces of cedar that I needed to use. If you know me, you know I wouldn't dare throw away a piece of wood, not in this lifetime. I also just recently got a new grill, so I thought I would make a little tray to carry grilling supplies to and from the kitchen. Nothing big, just a small tray for seasonings and whatnot.

I have always been drawn to the end grain cutting board projects I've seen others do, so I wanted to try that technique. Cedar is not a wood that people use for cutting boards, but I figured I could still use my scrap pieces to make this tray. Now I can't wait to get my hands on some maple to make a cutting board.

Supplies:

Scrap wood

Wood Glue (Tight Bond III)

Table Saw

Power Sanders

Router (optional)

Clamps

Step 1: Prepare Wood

I had some thin pieces of scrap wood, so I ran them all through the table saw to make them the same dimension. First, I ripped them all the same width, then I cross cut them all to the same length. Then I spread them all out on the table to arrange them in a way that looked nice.

I put them all down on clamps and spread wood glue all over. I just poured a bunch of glue out, then spread it evenly with my finger. After stacking up all the pieces, and slightly tightening the clamps, I added a piece of wood over the top to keep the whole thing from bowing upward as I applied pressure. Don't forget to put something between the two (I used a garbage bag), or else the piece of wood will be attached to the top of your glue up.

The longer you can allow this to sit, the better. I gave it about two hours and it was good to go.

Step 2: Repeat

After removing your wood from the clamps, it's pretty much and exact repeat of step one. I ran a belt sander over the entire thing for a while to flatten it out as much as possible. Then run it through the table saw to get uniformly shaped pieces. Once it is all cut, back to the clamps to glue it up once again. This time, you will want the end grain facing upward, so glue the sides. I decided to stagger my pieces, so that all the same pieces of wood were not side by side, but diagonal from one another. If that makes any sense at all.

Then just glue it up, and clamp it. This time I let mine sit over night, just because it was that time of the day.

Step 3: Framing the Tray

At this point, my blank was way to crazy shaped for me to feel safe running it through the table saw, so I used a circular saw to cut one edge straight. Then I moved to the table saw to cut all four sides and get a perfect rectangle. Then I used another strip of cedar and cut 45 degree angles to miter the corners around the tray. I glued that up and waited another couple of hours.

Step 4: Finishing

Sand, sand, then sand some more. I did the bulk of my sanding with my belt sander. Then I moved to a random orbit sander and worked my way through the different grits. At this point, I realized I didn't like the squared off look and wanted to round over the corners. So I ran it through the router table to round it off. I took off a bit more than I would have liked to, so I had to revisit the sanding for a while longer.

To finish it, I used a butcher block conditioner that is made up of mineral oil and wax. I applied a coat and was amazed by the way the colors came out. I had not idea it was going to be that drastic. After about twenty minutes, I wiped it off really well. I ended up doing three coats like that, and it turned out much better than I was expecting it to. Very, very pleased with this project.

Thanks for checking it out, have a great day!

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    WeTeachThemSTEM

    8 days ago

    The tray looks awesome and it's a great idea for using your scrap wood.