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Simplistic Servers

These tiered serving shelves are a simple display solution when hosting a buffet or barbecue.

ServersThese tiered serving shelves are a simple display solution when hosting a buffet or barbecue.

The eclectic mix of glass legs and geometric wood surfaces become functional artwork to display your fare. Clean-up is simple. Recycle the bottles, and store the food-friendly, triangular wood pieces until your next event!

What You'll Need
  • solid wood - sized to fit your needs
  • metal straightedge 1048-075
  • compass 1115-626
  • food safe finish 4548-181
  • bottles, varying heights


Here's How
  • I used a 1" thick, 6" wide, 11' long board.
  • Lay out the different sized shelves on the board, then cut parts to manageable lengths that are not too short to fit through your planer. (photo 1)
  • Joint and dress workpieces to final thickness. Joint all the edges square and straight.
  • Edge-glue boards to create wider panels. (photo 2)
  • When dry, level upper and lower faces of panels.
  • Use the metal straightedge to mark the edges of the panels. (photo 3)
  • Add radiuses to each corner of the triangles. I used a 41/4" diameter paint can. (photo 4)
  • Cut each shelf to line with a band saw or jig saw. (photo 5)
  • Belt sand the edges smooth and true, and fair radiuses on the ends of the panels. (photo 6)
  • Use a compass to mark the centre of each radius. (photo 7)
  • After testing drill bit size on scrap, drill a hole in the corner of each shelf to accept the bottles you're using. I used a 11/8" diameter spade bit. (photo 8)
  • Use a spindle sander in your drill press or drill to smooth and, if necessary, enlarge the holes.
  • Add a small round over to both the underside and show surfaces of the shelves, and at the holes to protect from splintering during use.
  • Sand the surfaces and sides, and break all edges.
  • Apply a food safe finish to the exterior of the shelves.
Proper Layout
Because these shelves are triangular, marking the boards before cutting them on angles reduces waste.
Servers How-To
Glue Up the Panels
While edge gluing, you may have to cut a small notch in a board near an angled end to offer a surface for the clamps. You can see this in the shortest of these three boards, at its angled end.
Add Lines
A straightedge will assist you with laying out the triangular shape of each shelf. Ensure cracks and rough material is removed at this stage.
Simple Radius
An object, like a paint can or glue bottle, makes a great template to quickly draw a radius at each intersection.
Cut it Out
Using a band saw or jig saw, remove the waste from the outside of each shelf, leaving the line on.
Smooth Sides
A belt sander makes quick work of each side, and each corner.
Find the Centre
To accurately mark the centre of each radius, use a compass with the same diameter as the radius, and reference off of two points of the arc. The resulting lines will locate the centre point.
Drill the Holes
After using scrap wood to check that your bottles fit the hole, drill holes in each corner of the shelves.

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

Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

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