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Maple Leaf Forever

Combine the design of maple leaves with maple wood for this truly Canadian trivet.

by Rob Brown

Combine the design of maple leaves with maple wood for this truly Canadian trivet.

Maple Leaf ForeverWhat you'll need


  • maple lumber (shown: 13" x 6" x 5/8")
  • polyurethane finish 1878-212

trivet download button

Here's How

  • Breakout the blank to final dimensions.
  • Use the stencil for the trivet and the maple leaf design shown


  • Mark a layout line 3/4" from the outside edge of the workpiece, all around the perimeter.
  • Draw four gradual arcs, starting at one layout line intersection, and finishing at an adjacent intersection.
  • Position three maple leaves or paper cut-outs on the workpiece in a pleasing orientation. Overlap them a bit to add structural strength to the design. (photo 1)
  • Avoid leaving narrow, short-grain sections of wood because they are brittle and prone to break.
  • Trace the shape of the leaves onto the workpiece. (photo 2)
  • Drill 1/16" diameter holes in each section to be cut away. (photo 3) Position these holes in an inside corner to assist with the scroll sawing operation. (photo 4)
  • Insert the scroll saw blade into a hole and remove the waste.
  • Repeat until all waste has been removed.
  • Extreme accuracy while cutting isn't necessary as natural shapes are organic and imperfect.
  • Extend the overlapping portion of the leaves across the 3/4" perimeter with a chisel or sharp knife. (photo 5)
  • Add vein lines to each leaf. (photo 6)
  • Sand the surfaces and the edges.
  • Break the corners with a block plane or sanding block.
  • Soften the scroll saw edges with sanding block.
  • Apply 3 to 4 coats of polyurethane. Allow each coat to dry. Sand between coats.

trivet 1Photo 1
Play Around
Place leaves in a pleasing pattern on the workpiece. Overlapping the leaves into the border is encouraged to add strength to the trivet. Paper cut-outs also work well.

trivet 2Photo 2
Time to Draw
Trace the shape of each leaf directly onto the solid wood workpiece.

trivet 3Photo 3
Drill Some Holes
A hole must be drilled along the perimeter of each cavity in order to insert the scroll saw blade into the wood to start the cut. A 1/16" diameter drill bit works well.

trivet 4Photo 4
Many Small Cuts
Remove all the waste areas with a scroll saw. It's a repetitive process, but a little patience goes a long way to creating a nice trivet.

trivet 5Photo 5
Extend the Leaves
Define the shape of each leaf by adding grooves where the leaves overlap the border using a V-gouge or sharp knife.

trivet 6Photo 6
Add Some Life
Vein lines that are reminiscent of real leaves bring the piece to life and add depth to the trivet.

Rob Brown designs and builds custom furniture, and is editor of Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement magazine. 
Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement