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Outdoor Coasters

Outdoor coasters. The ultimate accessory for outdoor entertaining.

CoastersOutdoor Coasters
by Rob Brown

Makes 8 coasters

What you'll need


Here's How
  1. 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.
  2. Crosscut one piece of 2 x 4 cedar 16" long. Simply adjust the length to make more or fewer coasters.
  3. Machine a contrasting species (I used spruce from another 2 x 4) into two 1 1/2" x 1/8" x 16" strips.
  4. 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.

  5. Glue and clamp all five strips of wood back together, alternating species.
  6. When the glue is dry, surface one face, then square one edge.
  7. 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.
  8. Rip the blank to a final width of 3 1/8".
  9. Resaw the blank down the middle to get two 3 1/8" wide x 16" long pieces, about 1/2" thick.
  10. Plane both of those blanks down to the final thickness of 3/8".
  11. Trim one end of each blank clean, then set up a stop block and cut all the coasters to final length -
    3 1/8".
  12. 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.

  13. Sand all the surfaces, starting with 80 grit and ending at 150 grit. Ease all sharp corners.

  14. Brush, wipe, or spray on the finish. Be sure to apply a finish to both sides of the coasters to reduce warping.