Wooden Tray: Episode 1

Wooden Tray Episode 1 Keyframe

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This simple wooden tray can be used for drinks, to keep your stationary or keys tidy, or any number of uses. Once the bottom is laminated, the half housings can be laid out and cut. Then the top edges are cambered and rounded.

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  1. redwood on 30 November 2018 at 10:49 am

    Thanks guys, great little project.

  2. grover on 30 November 2018 at 11:41 am

    In fact a great Christmas gift

    • Pieter Hermans on 30 November 2018 at 11:57 am

      Nice little project voor gifts.
      What is the pencil used by Paul?

      • Gary Campbell on 30 November 2018 at 10:09 pm

        I was wondering the same thing. It’s a Koh-I-Nor Mephisto Selfactor.

        • edgefinesse on 2 December 2018 at 7:30 pm

          It’s a Dixon Ticonderoga green lettering and green banding on the ferrule give it away.

          • Matthew Moody on 6 July 2019 at 9:24 pm

            Edge, the two pencils on the bench to find the parallel surface of the two mating edges are Dixon Ticonderoga but the first pencil (actually a lead holder) is what Gary identified correctly. So, you’re both correct.

  3. Simon Mason on 30 November 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Your generosity in continuing to put so many great videos up for free is much appreciated! Looking forward to making this.

  4. Anthony Greitzer on 30 November 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Nice project. I like the tips about not breaking off the ends. I’ve done this when making dados a 1/2 from the ends of boards.

  5. Anthony Greitzer on 30 November 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Looks like one of the clamps have been sawed down if not all of them. I like this idea because I have one clamp that I could saw down because it doesn’t work correctly. If I try to slide the movable part of the clamp down the clamp towards the end of it, it only goes so far. I’ll saw the damaged end off.

  6. Steve McGonigle on 30 November 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Once again a short film from Paul contains some wonderful tips. The use of two pencils to ensure that you have an level join is so simple and ideal. The carriage that he made that fits your plane and ensures a constant thickness is superb! It could be made from off-cuts that we have lying about, and I for one have no end of small pieces of wood which I save and can be made into a laminated board. I will be making the tray, but I’ll be making a carriage first. Keep those tips coming Paul, they’re invariably what I love the most.

  7. Danny Marchese on 30 November 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Great video…thanks Paul

  8. John Phillips on 30 November 2018 at 7:08 pm

    Love it! Thanks Paul!

  9. Ian Allan on 30 November 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Paul I would love to find stock like you have here. 🙂

  10. Paul Gibbs on 30 November 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Really nice and clear as usual, thank you

  11. grover on 30 November 2018 at 7:46 pm


    Is your 10″ flat file a single or a second cut one?
    And finally, is it for wood or metalworking?

    Thanks in advance.

    Kind regards,

    • jasonwb on 30 November 2018 at 10:04 pm

      Hello Grover
      Paul has mentioned that his file is single-cut so that the file cuts smooth. Double-cut files will abrade the surface of the wood.

    • Philip Adams on 3 December 2018 at 1:18 pm

      They can be used for wood and metalwork. Depening on the specific use, it can be good to have seperate files for wood and metal, but the file can be used for both.

  12. Tom Schutta on 1 December 2018 at 12:12 am

    I like the looks of those clamps. What brand are they?

    • Michael Ross on 2 December 2018 at 2:06 am

      I get them from Harbor Freight in the US.

    • Philip Adams on 3 December 2018 at 1:32 pm

      They are made by various brands. You can get them from Screwfix in the UK. Look for aluminium sash clamps

    • Brian Rosenberg on 11 December 2018 at 6:42 am

      Dubuque Clamp Works makes some stellar ones. A little pricy but they are strong and don’t need the reinforcement of wood inserts. Also made in the US if you’re on this side of the pond.

  13. Stefaan Verweirder on 1 December 2018 at 8:03 am

    Nice paul …

  14. jeffdustin on 2 December 2018 at 1:14 am

    I find splitting wood to be scary business! You never know when you’ll ruin the piece. Watching Master Paul do the work is awesome!

  15. Flemming Aaberg on 3 December 2018 at 8:29 am

    I say to myself “Do I really want to make a tray? – probably not, but i guess I’ll watch the video”. Whoa! – more super useful stuff about techniques – I am so happy the internet exists and that you are prepared to share your knowledge Paul – the occasional ‘whoops’ as something doesn’t quite go to plan, or you drop a tool gives us wanna-be craftsmen comfort and hope. I know you enjoy sharing your knowledge – well we enjoy receiving it – thank you.

  16. Keith Walton on 3 December 2018 at 1:50 pm

    quite a difference going between planing the walnut and the maple. do you consider grain ever when laminating so that final planing at least wont have opposing direction?

    • Philip Adams on 4 December 2018 at 10:08 am

      The appearance of the grain is usually the priority. Grain direction and how it will plane is hard to predict, and a cabinet scraper can always be used for alternate grain direction.

  17. Michael on 3 December 2018 at 2:57 pm


    I just began my retired life as a full-time RVer, traveling the U.S. In the back end of my 5th Wheel Camper sits my workbench. I’ve taken my hobby and my passion with me. I intend to make pieces like this, boxes, keepsakes, cedar chests, etc., and sell along the way to pay for my fuel. This is going to be a great selling project. When I finish my current project, a sliding lid, dovetail jewelry box, I’ll start on this tray. By the way, my other passion is fishing…and the water calls.

    Thanks, Paul. You are my master and mentor.


  18. Marie Bouchard on 5 December 2018 at 10:44 pm

    Thank you Paul, for all those tricks, and for your simplicity. I will make this tray, even if it is at least to practice thoses simples technics. You make me feel that I will learn something, and make something beautifull. Thank again!

  19. Antonio Santos on 9 December 2018 at 11:23 pm

    After gluing the edges, at the beginning, Paul wipes off the excess because it could “dry on the outside but not on the inside”.
    What did he meant about that?


  20. deanbecker on 10 December 2018 at 1:26 am

    When glue dries on a big gob it skins over and doesnt cure underneth the skin.

  21. Kurt Schultz on 11 December 2018 at 1:43 am

    A TRAVESTY INDEED!!…As I proceeded to shape the side pieces and did not realize my error until I was on the last edge shaping! UGH! All that demensioning from rough, too. And, admittingly, I snickered when Paul said to mark the pieces to avoid just what I did! Serves me right and lesson learned! Still counting…deep breaths.
    On the other hand, I did find that not chopping out the lap joints right away before shaping did help in supporting the plane during shaping. Just should have marked the pieces accordingly.

  22. Brian Rosenberg on 11 December 2018 at 6:47 am

    This may be a dumb question as I’ve been watching Mr. Sellers videos for some time and do not know why I have not asked this before. What is on the inside face of his clamps to act as the cull. Is it leather? A piece of very soft wood? Soft wood with leather glued to it? Is it just glued to the inside faces of the clamps? He has had them on clamps for almost all videos after the early days of posting but I have never seen him address it durning a glue up.


  23. Randall Cates on 22 December 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Great small project. I’m working on one for a Christmas present. Should have just enough time for the finish to dry before wrapping it. One question I do have tho. Did Paul glue the fence pieces together after completing them? Not sure if it’s necessary given that they’ll be screwed to the bottom.

    • Izzy Berger on 3 January 2019 at 9:56 am

      Hi Randall,

      No he didn’t, he just glued the walls to the base and screwed them.

      Kind Regards,

  24. Stefano Passiglia on 22 January 2019 at 4:46 pm

    Glad to see I’m not the only one using a ketchup bottle for the glue!
    Great little project!

  25. James Collier on 6 September 2022 at 10:07 am

    What I noticed is that you 1) thicknessed your pieces to a consistent dimension without a planer/thicknesser, 2) cut your lap joints without a table saw, mitre gauge and stacked dado blade, 3) cambered your top edges without a bandsaw, scroll saw or jigsaw, 4) rounded over the top edges without a router, router table and bearing round-over bit, 5) used your finger as a gauge fence to mark the edge round-over tangent to the face, and 6) you didn’t need any noisy dust collector taking up space and requiring 4-inch diameter hose pipes overhead or on the floor under your feet, no dust mask and no ear defenders. It would have saved me a fortune had I started watching you ten years ago.

  26. James Collier on 6 September 2022 at 12:18 pm

    My No. 5-1/2 plane has a cutting iron that is 2-3/8″ wide. If I make a carriage to plane pieces to a consistent thickness, it must be dedicated to that plane and used for work pieces that are only 2-3/8″ wide so that the piece is confined laterally within the rails of the carriage. In actuality, I would probably make the carriage bed (the inside distance between the rails) 1/16″ wider than the plane blade to avoid nicking the rails and then joint edge the over-wide pieces to final width. Furthermore, the thickness of the pieces can only be made to the height between the work bench surface and the top sliding surface of the rails where the plane rests. You could make that any thickness you want, but it is dedicated to that thickness. All of this says to me that you need to build a new carriage for every different width/thickness combination. One other thing; the final thickness of the work piece is determined by how far the plane iron is protruding from the plane sole. If that is different from piece to piece, they won’t be the same thickness. Yes, I’m an engineer, can’t help myself.

    • Benoît Van Noten on 6 September 2022 at 3:44 pm

      – As long as there is enough bearing surface, slightly nicking the rails is of no consequence. This nicking is something which also happens on a shooting board;
      – if one build this thing for the maximum thickness, one can put shims under pieces of lower desired thickness;
      – one should plane all the pieces for a particular project near to the desired thickness and then use this system for final thicknessing
      of all the pieces (with a fresh sharpened iron) without changing the (fine) setting.

      Remember this is wood and the pieces will react to change in humidity.

    • Colin Scowen on 6 September 2022 at 6:33 pm

      As another engineer, and an inveterate jig/fixture builder, I can categorically say that’s not true. Build the sides higher, then shim underneath the work piece to raise it to the desired height. Put one of the side rails at an angle so that, in combination with a wedge, you can restrain various widths of work piece. You then plane with the front and rear of the plane resting on each rail, so that the plane, and therefore the blade cut at an angle (similar to skewing a plane because of difficult grain). This wedge restraint also allows you to work long pieces, as you don’t close off the end (a super sharp plane helps here).
      I built one of these a couple of years ago, mainly just to prove the theory, and it works well enough.

  27. Colin Scowen on 7 September 2022 at 7:30 am

    Looks like I actually posted about that jig before, about 14 months ago. If you look in the forums/general woodworking discussions/Wood and Wood Preparation/Thicknessing Fixture, there are some pictures.

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