A friend of mine at work drinks a lot of coffee. Several time a day he visits a coffee establishment and returns with coffee for himself and others. In addition to the coffee he returns with those paper coffee totes and now has a stack to rival the Tower of Pisa. To help the environment and as a quick woodworking project I decided I would make a wooden coffee tote for him to use.
My first step was to visit his favourite coffee establishment and get a couple of coffee cups.
Then it was off to my scrap wood pile to find a piece large enough to carry four coffee. I found a piece of 3/8 thick spruce that was approximately 14” x 10”. The dimensions will actually depend on the size of the cup used and the number you want to carry. You could also use a piece of plywood instead of spruce . . . I just happened to have the spruce available.
I then went to my table saw and set the blade to about a 35 degree angle and cut all eight sides to give the following profile.
In order carry the cups the hole has to be large enough to grip the cup mid way up the side. Less than half way the tray will be tippy. More than half way and the cup may deform and fall through the hole.
I placed the open end of the cup on some blue cardboard and traced a circle. I then placed the bottom of the cup inside that circle (centering it by eye) and traced another circle. I picked a point between those two circles and that would be the diameter of the hole. I used a compass to draw the final hole and then cut out the four circles. Here I am placing them for best fit.
After tracing the holes on the spruce I cut them out using a jig saw. To smoothen out the edges of the holes I used a drum sander in a drill press. The tote had to be raised in order to keep it off the counter when loading it with cups. I went off to the scrap pile once again and found some poplar (1/4” thick by 1 ½” high) for risers. I cut three pieces to the same length as the width of the board and just to make it a little fancy I cut the ends on a 45 degree angle.
I marked the locations of the risers, predrilled two holes per riser and used brass screws to fasten them to the tote. A little sanding using 120 grit sandpaper and voila . . . a reusable coffee tote from scraps. A fun little woodworking project that helps the environment.