A little tray and some time to chill

A simple little wooden tray to keep some small tea canisters nice and tidy in my work desk drawer. Using some more of my supply of pretty recycled hardwood fence pailings that I just can’t seem to exhaust. 

My little tea canisters tray.

Sometimes you just need a project to make you relax. So when I found myself in the shed hiding from the kids recently, I started looking through my stash of wood for inspiration.  I came across this small thin board that I’d put aside ages ago, and realised it might just be big enough to make a tray to contain the tea canisters I keep at work for my stash of loose leaf tea. They are always falling over and recently one popped open sending tea leaves over everything.

Being so little I didn’t bother with any fancy joinery. Just clean square cuts on the table saw and some decent glue would be all this project needed. The only real concern was to show off the grain. So I made sure to mop up as much glue as possible with some sawdust. Then I spent some time carefully scraping down the inside edges to remove any remaining dried glue and take care or and remaining saw marks. 

A nice sharp chisel works well as a scraper, creating a very smooth surface and also helps square and straighten things.

A quick sanding with the orbital sander just to neaten up the edges that were a little oversize, but this needed some more care with some hand sanding to finish it. This old weathered timber has a tendency to chip and break out if treated too roughly. So in the spirit of relaxation I spent some time in the afternoon chilling on the grass in my back yard; taking my time to smooth everything out, and rounding off all the edges.

Chilling on the grass with a sanding block. Isn’t this how everyone relaxes?!

A little tung oil applied and you can finally appreciate the reason I love the look of this wood. Just look at this. So simple but also so lovely. The oil highlights the deep weathering that attacked this wood during its previous 60 year life as a fence before I got hold of it.

Soaking in a good coating of pure tung oil. 

After curing for a couple of days, some beeswax to finish, and this simple project is done. When I really need that cup of tea during a busy work day, it’s nice to think this tiny bit of my hobby will be there. 


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