These elegant trays make excellent gifts for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and special occasions. They can be made to any custom size - the left two trays are 18" x 14" with raised hand grips, and the right tray is 22" x 18" with a continuous low rim.
For an especially striking application, a veneered tray could be designed as the removeable top of a butler tray table.
Each tray consists of an inlaid veneered plywood base panel with appropriate solid hardwood rims.
Deserving of the best possible handling and finish, after "normal" preparation the trays are hand sanded to 800 grit to remove all possible blemishes in the veneer and hardwood and bring out all their luster and character. Finishing begins with a coat of linseed oil to highlight the wood, followed by two coats of water borne shellac to further highlight the veneer and wood. This is followed by three coats of a water borne hybrid varnish for a very attractive but also durable and water resistant finish. These trays may be beautiful but are fully functional!
More details on the construction and finishing of the trays is available elsewhere on this web site. On the home page, click the "Project Chronicles" link.
This collection of trays shows some of the possible designs for wedding and anniversary gifts. The lettering is either dyed black veneer or fumed white oak veneer, and are cut into the background or "field" veneer using a scroll saw.
The top tray is a simple walnut field with solid walnut rim.
The very elegant and refined next tray is has a pair of initials (in fumed white oak) inlaid into quartersawn mahogany. The handsome border consists of narrow hand-cut strips of dyed black and maple veneer.
For a couple who very successfully raised and showed dachsunds for years, a traced pattern was used to scroll saw a dark brown veneer sillouhette into a swirl mahogany field.
The star pattern is separately assembled and then cut into the field veneer using a sharp knife. The compass rose pattern was similarly assembled, then cut into the birds eye maple veneer. The latter was cut into a circle, and then wrapped with a dyed black veneer ring. Finally, that assembly was cut into the field veneer for the tray's panel, quartersawn mahogany veneer.
"Venessa" was designed as a unique and striking birthday present. With prior permission, a duplicate was made to serve as a model or sample of gift tray ideas. In the model (the upper tray), the field veneer and rim are white ash, quartersawn to give a very uniform and straight alignment of the growth rings.
In the gift tray, the field veneer and rim are padauk, which takes on a deep scarlet hue when finished.
In both versions, the rose consists of 25 individual pieces of veneer, including dyed green poplar for the leaves, leaf buds and calyx; black veneer for the bottom of the stem; walnut for the stem; and holly for the petals. Many of these pieces were scorched using hot sand to create a three-dimensional look.
"Robins" uses fumed quartersawn white oak veneer, mottled makore, and holly for the feathers, satinwood for the beak and legs, and wenge for the branches. The inner background field is birds eye maple, the border black dyed costello and padauk, and the outer field and the hardwood rims are quartersawn cherry.
"White Trillium" uses dark green Italian dyed poplar for the leaves, light greed Italian dyed poplar for the sepals, holly for the petals, and a bit of African satinwood for the flower center. The inner background field is birds eye maple, the border black dyed costello and padauk, and the outer field and the hardwood rims are quartersawn African mahogany.
"Holly" uses dark green Italian dyed poplar for the leaves, mottled makore for the berries, and walnut for the branches. The inner background field is birds eye maple, the border black dyed costello and padauk, and the outer field and the hardwood rims are quartersawn cherry.
"Music" uses fumed quartersawn white oak veneer for the symbols, black dyed costello and wenge for the whimsical "eyes" in the pair of eighth notes, and another piece of black dyed costello for the back of the "flag". The inner background field is birds eye maple, the border black dyed costello and padauk, and the outer field and the hardwood rims are quartersawn cherry.
These trays were donations to the Madisonville Arts Center. The script is a copy of its logo in padauk.
In the top tray, the logo is inlaid into a satinwood oval. Its ring is dark brown wenge, and the field is makore with a very vibrant pommele figure. The rim is brazilian cherry.
In the lower tray, the logo is inlaid directly into a pommele sapele field. The rim is sapele.