While we are talking about wooden trays, there is something I would like to mention here:
As some of my older friends here know, I visit England quite often, and there one of our pleasures (wife & I) is to browse - and many times buy - stuff in all sorts of antique fairs, from the smallest to the big two classic events, in London and in Birmingham (museum stuff there, if you can spare some rolls with thousands there is very nice stuff!).
So, on a Saturday morning in Warwick central square, a small street market was on, just 10-12 stalls, spuds, artisan cheeses etc, and one "antiques" stall, with nothing that could catch my eye, except two old wooden dusty trays in the corner. I touched them and felt the irregularity of wood that has been wetted and dried for years and years. I turned them on their side and noticed that the bottom was a single piece mahogany (not ply, not glued, not anything - a single piece like you would need to make a musical instrument) merely 12mm thick. The man who made them also made some (I think elementary) inlays to decorate them. I don't fancy them very much, but they still stand. How did he join sides to bottom? Brass screws. Overall condition excellent. My guess for their age: late 19th to early 20th century. I imagined his hands feeling the edges for more smoothening, plenty of hand planes and scrapes used on them and I saw him going over the surfaces to decide when enough is enough and starting to varnish. He must have been a sort of man who is patient, persistent, caring and careful. I thought he must be gone by now, and then wondered what will become to all of the stuff we make, wooden objects far away from the mode of times, God knows if anyone will give a moment to think about what sort was the guy who made this particular thing they are holding. Herb, when after 80 years a stranger will bring into his home one of your superlative breadboards (you remember, none of us here could imagine how you made it until you explained). Harry, your grand daughter's wedding ring box you made will pose on the wedding of her grand daughter. THose who look at them, will they spend a moment to think of who made them and thank for their effort? Only if you make sawdust yourself you tend to appreciate what it takes to make these wooden things.
Woodwork makes us better humans I think, at least for me it has systematically washed away all the blood from my soul following days and nights of operating fractures.
All these thoughts circled my mind that cold Saturday morning in the street market. I asked what was the price, already preparing myself to put the trays back - in our age the house is full of clutter and it isn't wise to spend lots of money for nice things that are just old. The man's voice surprised me "Five pounds sir!" In a split second the trays were in my hands, the fiver in his, and I have them photographed here for you, please enjoy them: They are lovely for our alfresco meals in the summer!
Dimensions of the trays: the bigger 56x34cm, the smaller 56x30cm, height of long side 22mm, max height of short side 60mm at top of handle. Handle width at base 85mm, wood thickness 12mm.
Thank you mr tray maker, may God give your soul peaceful rest.
Dear friends, here are the trays:
"if you think it is important, you will find a way;
if you think it is not important, you will find an excuse"