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For several years, I’ve been making serving trays from reclaimed wood. They were great things to give as gifts and sell at craft shows! I’ve made them so many times, that I realized I’d never actually made a video about them!!

There are so many ways that these trays can be modified, from paint and finish, to how smooth or rough they are. You can adjust the size, handle type, tray bottom pattern without changing the general construction of them at all!

In case you’d like it, I’ve added a set of plans for this project that come with a template for cutting the handle pieces!

Buy plans for this project

I grabbed some boards from my pallet slat stockpile.


I removed the cut off nails in the places where a saw might hit them, but left others when they were not in the way.


I marked the length of the tray bottom on my darker boards.


I cut all of the bottom boards to length, being careful to avoid nails.


I used a simple hold down jig to get a clean edge on one side of each piece.


This clean edge can be used against the fence to get a parallel cut edge. This jig is a create alternative to a joiner in some cases.


I cleaned up the opposite edges of the bottom pieces.


My side pieces were pretty straight, so I trimmed off the rough edge.


Then I ripped the side pieces down to 2″ strips.


The end panels were cut to length on the miter saw.


I cleaned up the faces on these as well.


I glued up the bottom pieces as a panel, clamping from the top and bottom.


I ran the side and end pieces through the planer to smooth the faces. You could also just sand them with an orbital sander.


After it had dried, I put the cut edge of my glued panel against my sled and squared off the other edges .


I sanded down the top surface of the panel, just enough to loosen dirt and remove splinters, but not enough to remove coloring or character.


I set my side pieces against the panel and marked where to cut so that they were an exact fit.


These were cut to length on the miter saw.


I sat the side pieces in place and measured the full width for the end panels.


I marked the center line and measured out the width and height on the end panels. Then I added two nails at the same height as the side panels.


Using the nails, I bent a flexible ruler into an arc and traced the shape onto each piece.


I cut out this curve on the bandsaw, but a jigsaw would work as well.


These pieces were both squared off on the miter saw.


They were not exactly the same, so I clamped them and sanded then to match.


I marked circles in the center and 1 1/4″ on each side.


Using a 1 1/4″ forstner bit, I drilled out all three holes, which slightly overlapped.


I cleaned out the opening with a chisel.


I used a flexible sanding block to smooth out the inside of the handle.


The outside of the panel, and inside of the handle, were lined with blue painters tape.


I trimmed the tape off to be flush with the inside face of the panels.


I made sure to get this trimmed as closely as possible.


I sprayed a coat of spray lacquer over all of the pieces to seal up the edges of the tape. This will stop paint seepage.


Then I sprayed several thin coats of spray paint over the pieces, doing a light sanding after the first coat to smooth the raised grain.


When the tape was removed, the edges were very clean and sharp.


I sat the pieces around the bottom panel, and nailed them together with a brad nailer. I nailed the pieces to each other and to the bottom panel.


The whole piece was finished off with a few coats of spray lacquer.


For more information, be sure to watch the full video above!_YT_serving_tray