PROJECT: Substantial Serving Tray

PROJECT: Substantial Serving Tray

A fancy serving tray will present food items more elegantly than this substantial section of slab lumber will. But even so, this project creates a dramatic and beautiful serving board that is pleasing to look at and will bring admiring comments.

Given the popularity of projects made from slab lumber, the number of scraps in our shops with live edges are becoming more numerous. You could always slice off the waney edge, but that organic shape is all the rage right now, so keep it and use it in a gift.

Handhold cut into the side of a serving tray
Form a finger recess on the bottom of the serving tray at both ends. They will help to get a good grip on this substantial piece of lumber.

Our example here is almost 2″ thick, but slimmer stock will suffice. Much thinner than 3/4″ may be too thin. We cut one of the blank’s edges flat and squared up both ends to more dramatically show off the waney, live edge.

Using a cove cutting bit to cut tray handhold
Use a cove bit or a section of a bowl-carving bit as shown here to mill the recesses.

After cutting the ends square to one another, there are only a couple more steps to completing the serving board. First, form finger recesses on the bottom edge of the board. These will allow you to easily pick up the board from a flat surface. Then comes sanding. Sand the show faces up to at least 320-grit. With that done, cut out four small feet.

Gluing feet onto the base of serving tray
Glue small feet onto the bottom of the tray with white glue. They lift the tray visually, providing a shadow under the slab.

Ours are 3/8″ x 1/2″ x 1″ … made of maple. Glue them to the bottom of the serving tray. These visually lift the board from flat surfaces, which adds to the “machined” impression of the waney edged board.

Completed slab serving tray with feet
Sand the wood smooth and seal it with a food-safe finish such as butcher block oil or walnut oil.

Lastly, you need to select and apply the finish. We recommend either butcher block oil (a refined mineral oil) or something like walnut oil. Both are food safe, but both will need to be refreshed every so often.

Now slice some cheese, break out the crackers and enjoy!

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