Turning a Serving Tray

Turning a Serving Tray

by Brian McEvoy

Turning a Serving Tray

In this article I will show in detail how to use the boring bar to achieve a perfectly flat bottom like the one one shown on this serving tray. The wood is Queen Charlotte Yellow Cedar, and the tray measures 2" x 19"


Let's get started.  I've cut a 2 x 19 inch yellow cedar blank and mounted a 6 inch face plate.


I always recommend tailstock support until the piece has been trued.


True up the side as well as the bottom with whatever tool you're comfortable using. I use a 5/8 inch bowl gouge.

Use a straight edge to check for a flat bottom.

Sand the bottom flat; a sanding block comes in handy to remove any in perfections. I like to sand to at least 600 grit for a smooth finish.


I like to use a vacuum chuck for re-chucking but if you don't have one in your arsenal you can easily turn a shallow recess in the bottom so you can re-chuck using the dove tail expanding jaws on any four jaw expanding chuck.


Now's the time to set up the boring bar; starting with the secondary tool rest. Place the rest perfectly parallel to the wood blank. This will ensure a flat surface on the inside bottom of the tray. Place the floor stand where you need it and set the boring bar on the stand and tool rest.  Be sure the cutter tip is at center and the bar is level.


Using the tip of the cutter, hog the wood out down close to the finish depth.


Once you've rotated the cutter where you are presenting a flatter side you can proceed with the fine finishing cuts.


Note my hand position in relation to the boring bar and secondary tool rest. Remember I set the rest perfectly parallel to the tray so with a smooth easy pass and my thumb resting against the tool rest I can cut a perfectly flat bottom.


Use a straight edge to insure a flat surface; again a sanding block will remove any minor imperfections. Finish sanding.


The finished 2 inch x 19 inch Alaskan Yellow Cedar serving tray. Any timber will work for this project but be sure it is cured to perfection; you won't want to be balancing wine glasses on a warped tray.

In this case I've enhanced this project with a little Pyrography; this simple embellishment is one of the projects covered in my Secrets to Woodburning, Airbrushing, and Texturing & Piercing DVD.
Finished Walrus ready for Lacquer.
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by Brian McEvoy