I have to say that I am definitely love making trivet’s although they may not be a money maker that I hoped for but I will leave them in my shop just in case someone actually comes across them.
Anyway I am moving away from the router made trivet’s just for a change and will be making this trivet on my table-saw equipped with a dado stack. The trivet actually don’t take that long to make but they do take more time sanding and applying finish to them mainly because of the drying time involved. The larger trivet is more than twice the size of the last project I did.
Anyway this is the Process, need to apply finish but that is for another days work.
Purchase the lumber & Sticker it overnight
Ripped the wood to its final width
Crosscut the trivet blanks on my miter saw
Router Table Time
Design & Spacers
Dado stack time small trivet
Sanding & More Sanding
PURCHASE THE LUMBER & STICKER OVERNIGHT
I purchased the lumber at the same place I bought the red birch for the last trivet’s I made from at Barney & Carey Lumber located in Avon, MA. but this time I purchased white oak for my current project, I have used red oak in the past but I purchased it big box stores and let me tell you the quality difference between the two is huge.
For the lumber to dry properly, you’ll need to sticker your pile. Stickering refers to the use of narrow strips of wood – typically 1”x 1” – between the layers of lumber to allow adequate air flow. For best results, the stickers should all be the same length (the same as the width of the pile) and rot- and stainfree (to minimize staining your lumber). In a perfect world, the stickers would be dry, but billions of feet of wood have been stacked using green stickers created in the board edging process with perfectly adequate results.
RIPPED THE WOOD
So my first step was to rip the wood to its final width and I figured it better to do this before I cross-cut the wood into their respective trivet sizes, anyway its better to rip one board than 20 of varying sizes as you are removing or lowering the percentages of error.
Next step was to cut the trivet blanks and I used a set-up on my miter saw station where I used a stop block but because I was making two sized trivet’s I made 2 sized spacers, so placing the the stop block I measured the distance for the larger trivet and cut a spacer to that size, then measured the distance for the small trivet and created another spacer block to that dimension, below you can see some pictures of the process, this makes it very easy to repeat cuts and makes the operation go a lot smoother and removes the need to measure every single trivet that needs to be cut.
ROUTER TABLE TIME
The next phase of the build was to add a round-over to the trivet on all faces I figured this would be a lot easier to do while the the trivets were still blanks and did not have a ton of grooves and dadoes for the router bit to get stalled on. So using my router table with a 1/4” round-over bit in the router I made a couple of passes to remove all the sharp corners.
I meant to say that before I brought the pieces to the router table I wanted to make sure that I put the trivets in sequence as to how they were cut from the board that way I was maintaining the boards natural grain direction and making it look really nice. Below you can see what I mean, I also marked the best face for the top of the trivet.
DESIGN & SPACERS
I came up with the design on my 3D software Sketchup and I actually made it in the last batch of trivet’s I made and thought that this design would look really nice if it was a lot bigger, I made a quick and dirty set of plans to follow so as that I put the grooves in the right places.
To help me all the grooves and dadoes that made up the design of the trivet I needed to make some spacer strips so as that I could repeat easily on every trivet.
DADO STACK TIME
To make the trivets I decided that I would use my dado stack. The trivet is not that hard to make but it does require a decent amount of concentration as it is easily screwed up. The lattice design is eventually created by rotating the board and using the spacers in designated areas. I was working both faces of the trivet. I will try my best to give accurate step by step below.
STEP 1: SMALL TRIVET
Place a 1/2” wide dado stack into the table-saw and raise it 3/8”. Since I am working on the small trivet I start with the 2” spacer strip as seen below. Run the the trivet blank through the Dado Stack which I will be calling DS from now on.
Here is the 2’ wide spacer strip to position the fence 2” away from the cutting edge of the DS.
Here you can see the trivet positioned to cut the 1/2” wide 3/8” deep groove, once one side is rotate the trivet 180° to catch the other side. Now you will need to rotate the trivet so as that you can position 2 more grooves running perpendicular to the grooves you already made
Now you will need to rotate the trivet so as that you can position 2 more grooves running perpendicular to the grooves you already made. After this is done you trivet should look like the picture below
Next we move onto cutting the grooves on the bottom face of the trivet, this is what determines the lattice style, if you dont like my spacing you can always use your own imagination to come up with your own design, anyway
With the 1/2” dado stack raised 3/8” high we are basically going to run grooves on the bottom side splitting the squares on the top in half but from underneath the top face, confusing I know but the pictures will help.
So using the 3/4” spacer to determine the distance from the blade to the rip fence we will run the trivet through the blade, after you run the trivet through the first side rotate the work-piece 90° and do the other 3 sides
This is the final step in cutting the grooves on the small sized trivet.
Using the 3-1/4” sized spacer to set the distance from the fence to the blade, this will center the dado stack in the middle of the work-piece to place one more groove.
Other than sanding the trivet down the smaller of the 2 trivets are made, I need to do a lot of sanding as you can see there is a lot of tear out, I need to figure out a way to reduce the amount of tear out as this will take a lot of sanding to make nice to the touch.
NEXT : THE LARGER TRIVET
The larger trivet is 14-1/2” long x 7” wide and is also made using the same lattice pattern as the smaller trivet, my goal is to sell these as a set of 3.
Using the 2” wide spacer block to determine the distance of the blade from the fence I ran the board through the blade along its length to establish the 2” wide squares on the top face then a swung the board to its other side and repeated the cut, creating 2 grooves running the length of the board .
So using most of the spacer blocks I start cutting all the cross grooves on the bottom of the trivet creating the lattice effect for the trivet.
I started with the 3/4” spacer and got all for sides of the bottom of trivet, then moved onto the next spacer which is 3-1/4” wide and again completed 2 across the grain cuts at each of the ends, next spacer was 5-3/4” and again I cut 2 across the grain grooves on each end and finally I used the 7” spacer and this located the center of the trivet and you should have a trivet that looks like this below.
THE NEXT STEP
Now that all the grooves were cut on the bottom of the trivet I needed to make the grooves that set up the 2” squares. As I mentioned above I made an error when I was doing the final cut on the bottom of the trivet I used he 7” spacer and I should not have because that spacer was for the top side, so as it turned out that I have bigger squares in the middle of the trivet and not 2 the same size as the rest. I determined that it actually didn’t look that bad and left it as a design element.
So lets move on
I started milling the top of the trivet and I started with the 2” wide spacer and cut the grooves on each end of the board, then move onto the 4-1/2” spacer and cut 2 grooves on each end of the board and that is it. If i had followed my plans I would have used the 7” spacer next but since I already used that on the bottom I could not use it on the top as it would have divided the trivet into two halves and I didn’t want that .
So after all the table-saw work was finished I needed to do a lot of clean up work on the trivet’s as there was so much tear out , if your not familiar about tear out this happens when you are cutting wood with machines or by hand and what happens is that unsupported wood fibers blow out, I found an interesting article in Popular Woodworking that describes tear-out.
I need to do some more research and try and come up with a solution that will prevent large-scale tear out. Below are some pictures of the tear out that I had on my trivet’s.
SANDING & AIDS
This tear out will be easily removed in some locations and other areas will require a little more work. I found the tear out really bad on the underside of the trivet especially in slots that were cut, so to remedy the problem of sanding in tight quarters I made some home made sanding blocks, these are nothing more than scrap wood, but the wood had to less than 1/2” thick as that is the width of the grooves we cut, then I used various grits of sanding paper to smooth out the edges.
The top and bottom faces of the trivets were easily sanded as they were flat and I didn’t have to contend with the grooves, I used my orbital sander moving from 120 grit all the way up-to 400 grit and its very smooth now.
Here is what the trivet looks like now after a decent amount of time spend sanding them, is it done ?? I ask myself and I say no because all the over lapping milling marks left behind by the dado blade are not totally gone so I will need to return and do more, but as you can see the difference in the before and after is a big difference.
So after all the sanding done today there is a huge difference but before I go into production mode I need to figure out some solutions to some of the problems I encountered making this set.
Need to solve the tear out :- I might try cutting reducing the depth of cut and not taking out all 3/8” at one time, also considering alternating the with the grain and against the grain cutting, if I do all the against the grain cutting first hopefully cutting with the grain will also reduce the tear out.
Making sure I font repeat the mistake that resulted in a groove being placed in the wrong place, this cut have been a costly mistake but I was lucky that it didn’t ruin the trivet, this one is easy slow down and follow the plans .
Below are the 3 trivets that I made using this design and I have to say that they look great and especially like the white oak that I used but to be honest I like the red birch better, but the red birch had a lot of wood burn where as I didn’t get that with the oak.
I need to apply the finish to them but to be honest this is a rinse and repeat from the last batch of trivets that I made using 3 coats of 1:1 ratio of oil based polyurethane and mineral spirits and after that has dried I will burnish them with very fine steel wool.