When an exceptional woodturner informs you that a project will be “simple,” be forewarned: you may be in for a fair challenge. In our AAW feature article this time, world-renowned Australian woodturner Richard Raffan shows us how to turn a simple tray. I suspect he’s actually having a bit of fun with us, because while the tray offers clean lines and minimal ornamentation — simple enough, right? — turning it will involve using most of the tools in your arsenal: screw and four-jaw chucks, bowl and spindle gouges and scrapers in various shapes. If you turn a lot of bowls and spindles, this tray will also require that you work in a mostly flat plane instead. The tolerances narrow, and the stakes get a bit higher. Fun stuff! What you might also enjoy is the minimal cost outlay: you can make Raffan’s tray from even a 4/4 or 5/4 board offcut that’s probably gathering dust in your scrap bin right now. So, simple? We’ll see. But, why not take him up on his challenge this weekend? Grab a scrap board, sharpen up your turning tools and give his “simple” tray a go!
Chris Marshall, Woodworker’s Journal