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Wood coasters


This set of wooden coasters was my first scrap wood project. And it’s the one that got me thinking about the benefits of saving wood from landfill. You’ll see loads of these online, many using lovely exotic hardwoods and other premium materials. But this is the budget version. I made it from leftover plywood and an old shelf. And I even left some nail holes in, so we can appreciate the history of these pieces of wood.

Making the coasters

First I cut my scrap wood into thin strips with my table saw, and then glued it together. I haven’t tried all the glues, but I love Gorilla wood glue. It sets at just the right speed for me, it’s easy to clean up and it’s non toxic.

Strips of wood being glued together

One piece of advice is to clamp a flat piece of wood to the top of your strips, to ensure they don’t raise up under the pressure of the clamps. That did indeed happen here so I had to plane it back down to achieve a flat surface.

Next, I cut my 9cm x 9cm squares using my mitre saw. I then sanded them down, and finished them with oil and polyurethane varnish. This gives it a tough, heat resistant finish to withstand hot cups and plates. Because oil is an easy finish to apply, I let young Oscar have a go. He’s now starting to figure out the properties of the different types of finishes. Probably should have given him gloves though. Moving swiftly on…

Oiling the wood coasters

Making the coaster holders

I then decided to make a holder for the coasters. I wanted them to stand proudly on a dining or coffee table rather than hiding away in a drawer. Here is my prototype which gave me the correct dimensions and dowel locations. So you’ll see you don’t always need fancy equipment or 3D modelling software. Just be creative with what you’ve got. And there’s a lot of crayons in my house.

A prototype for the wood coasters

Using the prototype as a template, I cut out the base from another piece of scrap. I then drilled the holes, glued in the 10mm dowels and applied the same oil and varnish finish. I always enjoy making these coaster sets. It’s a great way to bring random pieces of scrap wood back to life as something useful and attractive.

If you’d like to make one of these, or have one made for you, feel free to contact me. Or you can receive my newsletter to get the latest news, updates and projects straight to your inbox.