Thursday, October 3, 2013

Yet Another Scrap Wood Project-Stacking Coffee Cup Coasters/Discussion, Plans, and Process Photos

Hi Everyone,

Well, it has certainly cooled down here in Minnesota and today and for the next several days, it's going to be raining-perfect wood turning weather. Let's go to work!

If you're like me you have a never ending pile of scrap lumber that is made up of pieces of wood that are large enough to be useful and so here is something you can make: stackable coffee cup coasters. They're easy to make and they make great presents for the holidays. Here's how I made some for our church library:


The rector at church asked me to make some coffee cup coasters for the coffee table in our church library. Every Sunday an adult ed group meets in there and the coffee table is getting a worn and stained from all the use it gets. The rector suggested about 12 of them and since I have a nice pile of scrap left over from a recent project, this will be a good way to use it up.


I'm going to make 12 coffee coasters using some 1x6- #3 common pine. This type of pine has a lot of blue-grey staining in it and often has a lot of oranges and yellows in it too. I love this type of wood--I grew up with this wood and common pine was the first wood I ever used when I was making furniture in high school. The blue stain gives it a beautiful and unusual color. And it's very cheap for a project. It's also soft and easy to turn and you can make a ton of coasters or other stuff from it relatively quickly.

Here is  how I made mine:

Marking and cutting the wood to shape

Here is a stack of cut off 1 x 6 #3 common pine. This will work very well for the project:

First of all I've marked off two 5 1/2 inch squares on both sides of each board:

Then I found the center of each square by connecting the corners. Do this on each side of each board:

Next I drew a 5 inch diameter circle by setting my compass to 2 1/2". Do this for all the squares you have marked off on both sides of each board:

Next I drew a 4 inch diameter circle inside of the larger 5 inch diameter circle. I did this for all the circles on both sides of each board:

Next, I drilled a 1 1/4" diameter hole into one side of each board. These holes are 1/4" deep:

Lastly, I cut them into circles on the bandsaw. Hmmm...looks like a big stack of wood pancakes!:

Turning on the lathe

Since pine is a soft wood, the turning tools for this need to be very sharp to avoid tearing across the end grain so I took a minute and touched up everything on the bench grinder. I'm using my 3/8" bowl gouge, a bedan tool, a skew, and a roughing gouge for this turn:

I mounted each disc on the lathe with my Nova chuck. Next I removed the wood between the two lines in the photograph. You can use either the skew or the bedan for this:

Here it is with that section removed:

Next I turned away the center section. Now there is a depression that is 4" in diameter and 1/4 inch deep. I used the roughing gouge and the skew for this part of the turn:

And they stack together! If you are doing this project and the coasters don't stack, you can either widen the center of the coaster 1mm at a time until they do or you can narrow the tenon on the back 1mm at a time until they fit. I think it's easier to work on the center depression:

All of the coasters stack together. Unfortunately the diameters are a little off and you can clearly see this in the photo:

To counter this I beveled the rim of the coaster:

Here is the rim before beveling:

And here it is afterwards. Make sure that the bevel you create is a straight and flat-it's easy to round off when you're turning:

And here are the coasters after they've been turned:

Finishing the coasters

I put them each back on the lathe and sanded them smooth with 120 & 150 grit sand paper. Since pine is so soft this part goest quickly:

Ahhh, my favorite part: I put a coat of rub on polyurethane. I used Minwax poly for this:

And here they all are after they've had a coat of polyurethane:

And this is what they look like on a table. Hmmm...not bad:

This is a simple project. The key is to make sure you duplicate each coaster as well as you can. By doing this you will ensure that your coasters stack together neatly. You can also stain them if you want them to match a particular table's color or paint them too. If you have kids at home, get them to embellish them with paints or markers and then give them a coat of polyurethane (the coasters, not the kids!). They make a great present for grandparents. If you want to get really fancy, hardwood scrap would make really lovely coasters. I plan to give them another coat of poly on the top side and then a single coat on the bottom and they'll be ready to take to church.

Well it's raining and I'm coming down with cold so I'm going to stop for today. I'm going to have some hot soup for lunch and listen to some great Irish music by the Two Tap Trio, a local St. Paul band. That always makes me feel better!!

See you soon,


No comments:

Post a Comment