I posted the trays in the show and tell forum
. Here are the plans. Unfortunately, there seems to be a limit to the number of pictures per post so I had to break it up a bit.
This design is for box joint joinery. See the variations discussion for other options.
First picture is an example of the design.
Next pics are the shop drawings. Followed by some model detail pictures to show how it goes together.
I used 3/8" box joints for the frame and was very pleased with this. It looks good and makes for a very strong joint.
Steps to build:
Build the frame first.
- cut frame ends and sides. Make the end pieces about 1/8" taller.
- cut the end pieces and make the handles. See next post for the details on this including the template.
- make your frame joints. I use an INcra LS positioner to cut the box joints but you can use any joint you want. Be sure to adjust the dimensions for the joinery you are using.
- cut the dado for the bottom panel. If using plywood, now would be a good time to invest in an undersized straight router bit (7/32") to make a tighter dado.
- drill the holes for the leg pins. I drilled both sides at once to ensure the legs align. Note that the plan I have assumes slight round over of the frame's bottom edges. Changing this will effect the angle of the legs so you may want tom ove the hole position accordingly.
- cut the bottom panel. Dry assemble and clamp the frame to take final measurements. Then cut the panel and dry fit. It's a good idea to start a little oversized and sneak down to the correct size. I like to finish my panel before gluing up but you can skip that if you want.
- sand, sand, sand and then glue up the frame.
Now make the legs.
- measure the width of the inside bottom of the frame on both ends. you want the legs to be tight enough to stay up. I targeted 1/32" wider than the frame and sanded down to make for a friction fit. You may have to tweak the length of the horizontal members.
- cut the pieces (8 altogether)
- make the mortises. I use the router table with stops set up on the fence and carefully lower the legs onto the bit. Works great just keep your fingers away from the bit.
- make the tenons. I use the table saw for this and make the tenon a bit tight to start.
- tune the M&T fit. I found that you don't want the tenons to be very tight as you need the leg assembly to be 100% flat. More on that in a bit.
- drill the holes for the dowel pins. Clamp two legs together and drill at the same time to ensure alignment.
- round over the leg ends on the sander. It helps to draw a line (I used a washer) so you don't oversand.
- sand, sand, sand.
- glue the legs together. Find a flat surface that you can weight them down on to ensure they are 100% flat. Do a dry fit/clamp/test to make sure of this. Warped legs won't let your tray sit flat when folded up. If warped, use a chisel on the tenon to loosen the tenons up a bit before gluing.
- tune the leg fit in the frame. Use a sander to tune the width of the leg assembly so it friction fits in the frame.
- cut the dowel pins. I go for about 1 1/2" long. Sand down half of it so it doesn't bind in the leg's hole.
- test the leg fit. Press 2 of the pins into one side of the frame so about 1/4" shows on the inside. Slide the legs in place and pin the other side. The legs should pivot freely and when folded into the frame should stay in place. Remove the pins and legs.
- finish tray, legs and dowel pins. Use your preferred finish. I really like minwax wipe on poly.
- reassemble. I use a q-tip to put some paste wax in the leg's holes to make the action smooth. Gently pound in the leg pins. I prefer they stand about 1/8" proud.
- Use the tray to serve your sweety breakfast in bed and then tell you want to buy that 20" helical planer you've been eyeing.
Next post is about making the handles.