Here’s a neat last minute gift idea. The construction is fairly simple. It’s one of those “how’d you do that” projects, and that makes it a particularly good gift since recipients think you spent more time making it than you really did! To make it you’ll need a table saw, miter saw, one band clamp, and about 4 hours of time.
A great place to store pocket stuff!
Construction Notes. I used African mahogany for my tray’s frame, and I covered the bottom with a scrap of burgundy colored leather. I finished it using Deft brand spray lacquer. That stuff is super fast! Sawing the frame stock profile can get a bit tricky. Using hold-in finger boards in front and behind the saw blade really helps. There’s a lot of saw setups used to cut the profile and miter the frame side ends, so make a bunch of cheap wood extra “test” frame stock.
Dresser Tray Exploded View.
Make the frame stock. Machine your frame stock so it’s 1-1/8″ thick x 1-7/8″ wide. Make at least 40 lineal inches. It doesn’t hurt to make extra in case you make a mistake along the way.
Miter and assemble the frame pieces. Finish sand the inside faces of the frame stock.
This is the miter saw setup
used to miter the ends of the frame pieces. It’s the same type of setup you would use if you were mitering crown molding. The frame stock is oriented “real world” against the miter saw’s fence and table with the narrow flat bottom edge resting on the saw’s table, just like it’s oriented when the frame is assembled. That way you can set the saw for a 45 degree miter, cut the miters, and you’re done. The 1/4″ thick support panel holds the frame piece from shifting when the miters are cut.
Clamp a 1/4″ thick support panel
in front of the miter saw’s fence on the right side. Use a 1-1/32″ wide spacer to align the support panel the proper distance from the fence. Secure the panel with double stick tape if you have no way to clamp it down. Miter the left ends of your frame pieces, and then shift the support panel to the left side of the saw.
Use a stop block
to make repetitive length cuts. The actual length of the frame pieces is not critical. Making the parallel frame pieces exactly the same length is imperative though; otherwise the frame cannot be assembled.
Join the frame pieces with masking tape.
Put tape across the joints with the frame pieces set upside down. Pull the tape tight.
Flip the tape-assembled frame over
and apply a small amount of glue in each corner joint. Glue the open end too. Then fold the frame closed and tape the last corner.
Place a band clamp around the frame.
It does not take a lot of clamp pressure to close the joints. Make sure the inside corners are aligned.
Use spray adhesive to
adhere the leather to the top of the MDF bottom piece.
Use a utility knife
to trim away the excess leather.
Finishing. Finish sand the frame outside and ease any sharp edges. Apply the finish, wait a day or two for that to dry, screw the bottom in place, all that’s left to do is the gift wrapping!
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