Using Scrap wood to Create A Rustic Serving Tray
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Anyone who works with wood on a routine basis has a scrap pile in corner somewhere or like me, a huge trash can in the corner of the shop. Normally I go through it once it’s full and pull out decent pieces to put back in my lumber stash then put the rest in the burn pile. This time it was full I pulled out all the scrap 2 x 4 pieces to use for this project.
After pulling out several scrap pieces of wood, I set up my saw with a 3/8″ saw stop. Some chop/compound miter saws will have an attachment for setting stops (a guide or jig that allows numerous uniform cuts). If yours doesn’t, use the stability vise or a good clamp and a block of wood secured to the saw’s fence or platform 3/8″ to the right of your blades edge. Setting a saw stop allows you to push your lumber up against it while cutting each piece and since it doesn’t move it allows the same length on each cut. I cut roughly 50 pieces of scrap 2 x 4 showing the end grain.
I also cut an 18″ x 24″ piece of pine to use as the base. After all my cuts were made, I sanded each piece.
After laying out the pattern I wanted to use, I labeled the rows with numbers to make staining and assembling a little easier on me.
I chose a few different colors of Unicorn SPiT colored gel stains for the herringbone pattern. A fewof the colors I used are a mix as follows:
Row 1: Mix of 1 part Weathered Daydream, 1 part Rustic Reality
Row 2: Zia Teal
Row 3: Mix of 1 part Rustic Reality, 1 part Midnight’s Blackness and a few drops of Molly Red Pepper
Row 4: Mix of 2 parts Pixie Punk Pink, 2 parts Phoenix Fire and 1 part White Ning
Row 5: White Ning
Row 6: same as Row 3
Row 7: same as Row 2
Row8: same as Row 1
I laid out the colors in the pattern before finally using wood glue to secure them to the base. The base is stained with Rustic Reality. When using Unicorn SPiT as a stain, I dilute all the colors with 50% water.
Using a circular saw, set the depth slightly more than your combined height of the base and pattern. Then trim off the over hanging pieces so that all four sides are flush. I used some scrap pieces to trim out the tray, which I secured with wood glue and a few pre-drilled screws.
Before starting the epoxy filling of the tray, I flipped it over and taped over any seems, knots or spaces that the epoxy could potentially leak out of. Make sure when you’re taping to use a good painter’s tape and seal the edges well.
I’m using a two part epoxy resin made by Famowood. Using disposable plastic cups measure out equal parts of the resin and the activator in two separate cups. In a third cup combine the two and stir with a wooden craft stick, making sure to scrape the sides often and keep mixing. Mix constantly for 3 full minutes. You will notice that towards the end of your mixing time that your cup may start to feel warm. That is a good sign that your epoxy is almost ready to pour.
Once you have it mixed completely, it’s time to do your first pour. I always do epoxy in multiple pours. The first pour is the sealing pour, it’s a thin layer of epoxy poured across the entire surface to seal the wood from releasing air bubbles. Doing a thin layer in the beginning instead of one large pour all at once, reduces bubbles and the risk of leaking epoxy.
Using the wooden craft stick, I spread the epoxy over the surface like you would with a squeegee.
After you have spread your epoxy across the surface, lightly tap the sides and bottom of the tray to help any bubbles come to the surface. I use an old credit card to smooth over and pop any bubbles.
This tray took three pours of epoxy letting 4 hours of cure time in between each layer. Allow the last layer to cure over night or at least 6-8 hours.
Once the epoxy had cured over night, I added a few handles on each side and it’s ready to use.