Well, this project was born of necessity. My wife and I had a wooden napkin holder for years until the newly acquired kitten found reason to move it from the table to the floor just to check if it, too, was subject to gravity. (Don’t ask about the $300 hand blown glass bowl he also ‘transformed’.) The holder broke – the repair wasn’t invisible.
So, down to the shop I went, hoping for some inspiration – and to save kitty’s very life. I sketched a little, tried clamping some scraps together to get an idea of proper size, you all know the drill.
With the outline of a design in mind I started searching through my meager supply of lumber – probably under 3000 board feet at this point – and struck on a couple things. It would be nice to have a contrast in the wood, to use up some fairly narrow strips discovered in one rack, and to make several holders at a time – or something like that…
Here’s how it all worked out.
I started with a 5″ wide piece of maple, some birch and cherry similar in width and a few thin strips of walnut, cherry, maple and eucalyptus. While laying things out, I also got the bright idea that on the table with the napkin holder we often used a trivet to hold a hot oven dish.Estimating the total requirement at about 30 inches, I cut the maple to length and ripped it down the length to get a 2″ and 3″ wide piece.
For the contrasting woods I simply glued up 3 layers.Next step was to glue things up. Note that I chose to glue the 3 stripes of contrasting wood together first, then, glue up the entire piece. Since I was making 6 sets at one time, I thought gluing up the strips and then working out the best match of strips with the maple, birch or cherry might be the wisest way to approach this project. After sorting things out, I glued up the 6 blanks.
After the glue cured I ran the blanks through a thickness planer and finally a surface sander. Be sure to sand both sides. Once assembled the inner sections will be very difficult to access with any abrasive.After trimming one end, carefully measure and cut the 3 pieces for the napkin holder. Next, the remaining piece can be cut into 2 squares for trivets. When you make the base, trim both edges so the stripe will line up with the vertical sides.
I cut the top corners at 45-degrees to add a little interest. Just be sure to mirror this step on the trivet squares. Other options are a radius on the top corners, or leave them square. At this point I run the pieces through the router using a 1/4″ round over bit to soften the edges. A routed bevel on the edges looks nice, too.Here we’re displaying 2 different edge bevels you choose how much material to clip off.
Assembly is fairly straight forward. I simply set the vertical pieces in place and put a spare amount of glue on the horizontal section. Use a 1/2″ thick piece of narrow stock as a spacer. Be sure the reveal of the horizontal piece is equal at both ends by aligning the stripe. Apply glue and clamp the 3 pieces together. Let it cure for a while.
Miller mini-x dowels #21747
5/16″ Self-adhesive rubber feet