Wooden Tray

Wooden Tray WWMC_

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This simple wooden tray can be used for a drink tray, stationery holder or somewhere to put your keys. It features an edge jointed base and four simple corner half housings and a little shaping.

Tool List

  • Knife
  • Square
  • Marking gauge
  • Tape/Ruler
  • Chisel hammer
  • Chisels (at least 3/8″ (8mm) and a 3/4″ (18mm) or 1″ (25mm)
  • Smoothing plane (No 4)
  • Spokeshave
  • Dovetail &/or tenon saw
  • Hand drill or drill driver
  • *Rasp
  • File

* = optional

Joints List

  • Half housing

Cutting List

DescriptionImperial SizeMetric
Long Side12″ x 1⅝” x ½”305 x 40 x 13
Short Side5½” x 1″ x ½”140 x 25 x 13
Base12⅜” x 6⅛” x ½”315 x 156 x 13


  1. Ed Black on 30 November 2018 at 11:34 am

    Nice project. Should be able to knock out a few before Christmas.

  2. grover on 30 November 2018 at 11:44 am

    what kind of woods have been used for this project?

  3. Jim Felton on 30 November 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Paul, just a thought. If you marked all if the housing cuts and then shaped the tops of each piece I think you could eliminate the possibility if breaking off the ends of the housing cuts. This changes the order of creating the pieces but should make it easier for the new woodworking.

    Thanks and Merry Christmas,


  4. Wayne Willy on 30 November 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Paul, Thank you again for a another project that is something all of us can do and is STUFFED with your shared skills that we always need. Can you tell us more about the jig you used to plane all the parts exactly to 1/2 inch along the entire length?

  5. btyreman on 30 November 2018 at 5:57 pm

    this looks so beautiful, I know what to do with my oak offcuts now before christmas arrives.

  6. Keith Walton on 30 November 2018 at 7:49 pm

    what timber is used? what is the width of the pieces in the base?

    • Philip Adams on 4 December 2018 at 11:29 am

      Paul used black walnut and birdseye maple. The centre strips are 1 5/8″ or 42mm and the edge strips are 5/8″ or 15mm. Although this project can be resizes to any size you want and made from pretty much any wood you want.

  7. Amir on 30 November 2018 at 8:03 pm

    Mister and Master Paul Sellers.. You are so generous.
    Everything I know in hand woodworking I learned from you.
    So thank you very much.

  8. Florian on 30 November 2018 at 10:19 pm

    Hi Paul & team,

    thanks for the nice project. I wanted a good rasp for quite a while now but I was unsure which coarseness to go for. The one you are using here is exactly the coarseness I am looking for which can be smoothed out quickly with a file. Which grain is it?

    Kind regards,

  9. steve on 1 December 2018 at 9:53 am

    Hello Paul,

    I am thinking of buying an Auriou rasp as I have been very disappointed with the cheaper versions I’ve bought. There seem to be several – which one is the one in the video ?

  10. martin Brown on 1 December 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Superb Paul, nice & simple introducing entry level skills that builds confidence. You get better with every presentation warts & all.

  11. rmriley on 4 December 2018 at 9:42 pm

    I was glad to see Paul pull out the Poor Man’s Thickness Planer. Mine is indispensable in my shop. I actually have two. One for my No. smooth plane and one for my No. 8 jointer. For example I am building a stair rail for my house and have a lot of identical parts to make, particularly for the newels which have frame and panel sides.
    Keep it up guys. You are doing great.
    Rob Riley

  12. martin Brown on 6 December 2018 at 11:41 am

    Episode 2 ?

  13. Craig Meaney on 7 December 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Looking forward to building a few of these! Do the dimensions provided include the extra 1/4” Paul left on the lamination ends to be planed/cut away?

    • Izzy Berger on 13 December 2018 at 8:25 am

      Hi Craig,

      Paul says the dimensions do not include the extra 1/4″.

      Kind Regards,

  14. Bob Lawry on 7 December 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Thank you for the beauty & skills you all freely demonstate & willingly share with us eager souls.
    Polite request: Tools/Materials lists.
    Would it be at all possible to include the details of the particular woods/materials used for each project, along with the types of finishing products etc.
    This would really help the less knowledgeable of us select & source our interest in growing supplies.
    Finest regards, Bob.

  15. Alan Knowles on 2 March 2019 at 5:40 pm

    It would be nice to add the finishing to the list:
    220 grit sandpaper; and Ronseal water-based clear satin varnish.
    The wood is maple and walnut.
    Also the use of six brass screws 1″ x 4 mm.

    • ted clawton on 20 August 2019 at 10:03 pm

      I agree. Would be nice for all projects to include a list of hardware, finishes, etc. Thanks.

  16. ted clawton on 20 August 2019 at 10:05 pm

    The thicknesses of all pieces is 1/2″. Would 3/8″ be okay? I’m thinking about ripping 13/16″ stock. Thank you.

  17. Paul Cunningham on 15 February 2020 at 11:37 am

    What method would be used in attaching the bottom board to the tray walls if this was scaled up? My concern is wood expansion across the width.

    For example, the internal tray area was a generous A4 (210 x 297 mm) size, giving a bottom board size of ~ 260 x 350 mm.

    I’m thinking that over-sizing, in the width direction, all the holes in the bottom board would be sufficient to cope with any wood expansion of the bottom board.

    • Izzy Berger on 17 February 2020 at 11:53 am

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you for your question.

      Paul says:
      I think what you could do if you were making the tray much wider is you could screw the bottom board onto the walls and use slots which would allow expansion and contraction as long as you didn’t glue it.

      Kind Regards,

  18. SEAN ONEILL on 28 December 2021 at 11:57 pm

    Thank you Paul for this project! I was able to make a version of the tray, perhaps a bit narrower, as a Christmas gift for a good friend. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  19. Rob Schwab on 1 January 2022 at 7:56 pm

    My first ever fine woodworking project! I’m absolutely delighted at the result, as is my wife who received it for Christmas.
    It was fun to make, a nice easy start to the use of hand tools. Looking forward to the more ambitious projects next.

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