by Rob Brown
Makes 8 coasters
What you'll need
- wood glue 2020-173
- 80 grit sandpaper 1233-172
- 150 grit sandpaper 1233-174
- polyurethane varnish 1877-160, spar urethane 1877-721/730/758/767/909/918
- Select wood that is knot-free and preferably quarter cut, so the annual growth rings are perpendicular to the top surface of the coaster, thus reducing warping. The perfect stock for this project is 2 x 4 as it's already the right thickness and width. Make sure the wood is dry enough to use. Wood that has been inside your shop for a while is likely much drier than recently purchased wood.
- Crosscut one piece of 2 x 4 cedar 16" long. Simply adjust the length to make more or fewer coasters.
- Machine a contrasting species (I used spruce from another 2 x 4) into two 1 1/2" x 1/8" x 16" strips.
- Mark the end grain of the cedar with a line so you can reorient the strips in the same sequence they are cut from the blank, then rip off a 3/4" wide strip, followed by a 1/8" wide strip.
- Glue and clamp all five strips of wood back together, alternating species.
- When the glue is dry, surface one face, then square one edge.
- Plane the top surface of the blank until it's even and flat. This will depend on how even the glue-up process was, but usually removing 1/8" of material is enough.
- Rip the blank to a final width of 3 1/8".
- Resaw the blank down the middle to get two 3 1/8" wide x 16" long pieces, about 1/2" thick.
- Plane both of those blanks down to the final thickness of 3/8".
- Trim one end of each blank clean, then set up a stop block and cut all the coasters to final length -
- With either a sharp block plane or a router table, chamfer the four sides of each coaster. By chamfering the end grain first you ill reduce tear-out.
- Sand all the surfaces, starting with 80 grit and ending at 150 grit. Ease all sharp corners.
- Brush, wipe, or spray on the finish. Be sure to apply a finish to both sides of the coasters to reduce warping.