Inlaid valet tray

Wow, it’s been a long time. Trey, remember? No, it’s ok, I’m bad at names too.

So, the latest in my series of gift valet trays, I decided to add a little directionality to it by embellishing the front with an inlay. This is for someone who just celebrated her 40th, so a little inscription seemed to be in order.

Let’s dig in.

  1. Overall dimensions (internal) are 6.5" x 8.5"
  2. All wood non-PG solid hardwoods in 1/8"
  3. Liner cut from chrome-free leather from Tandy
  4. Base is 2 layers of 1/8" baltic to give it heft
  5. All exterior wood surfaces are finished with wipe on satin polyurethane. The only part that is not finished is the inside of the base so the leather can be properly glued in place.
  6. All wood sanded to 600 grit, it brings out the shine

In terms of construction techniques, search for “@evansd2 tray in:first” and you’ll find my other tray posts that get into a lot more detail about kerf compensation, foot installation, and overall glue-up.


The basic design is something I’ve explored and posted about before, contrasting corners with complex butt-jointed curves. I’ve settled on dark corners, it makes the finger joints nearly disappear.

Figured walnut, Figured maple, Padauk, Cowhide, Rubber feet

I design the trays and the inlay in this case to be viewed from the outside of the tray. That being said, it looks just as nice from the interior, albeit a bit cut off by the leather/base. With inlays like this, (I call this a “hero inlay”) it’s important to put your best foot forward. As such, you should take care to ensure that all your hard corners are eased before you cut anything, to prevent unsightly overburn “pocks” in the hard corners.


Figured walnut, Figured maple, Padauk, Cowhide

The padauk has nice chatoyancy to it, which really glows when lit properly, This is a more accurate color representation. It shimmers a bright almost metallic orange. It’s my favorite aspect of padauk, and very difficult to convey via the forum.


Figured walnut, Figured maple, Padauk, Baltic birch ply

A simple engrave is the way to go here. One’s 40th is a minefield.


Figured walnut, Figured maple, Baltic birch ply, Rubber Feet, Stainless steel screws

The corners are new shapes, and I shifted their aspect ratios so that they are oval spirals, I’m pretty happy with the end result. This is also your best look at the light figuring in the maple, it has a nice gentle waviness to it, it shimmers and changes as the light moves.


Figured walnut, Figured maple, Padauk, Cowhide

So? Not much more to add here. Assembly went smoothly, no real mistakes to learn from, I’m fairly dialed in.

77 Likes

Beautiful! So much skill, technique and I’m sure sweat… :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Wow. Just Wow!

1 Like

Pretty! So pretty!

2 Likes

Had to click! Not sorry. Beautiful! :smile:

1 Like

I knew you guys would not be able to resist. Discourse needs a “draft” status so I can write these things up without everyone commenting on it before it’s done :wink:

2 Likes

Use Notepad. Format transfers over one to one.

1 Like

Farkin’ brilliant!

I swear I’m poaching every bit of this info to create some of these… just need a day to sort the kerfing… I’ve found some super cool designs to try out.

THANK YOU! So inspiring!

4 Likes

So, so nice!

1 Like

Beware of too much detail on kerf-adjusted surfaces. It gets much more difficult the more complex the shape, try to keep your corners smooth and start with bolder shapes. The impact you can get from a well-executed but simple design is just as much from a complex one.

7 Likes

Gorgeous! I’ve been missing the trays…

2 Likes

You are SO incredibly skilled and artistic, it blows me away. And…you attention to detail is impeccable. I like everything I’ve seen you do.

2 Likes

Now you say :crazy_face:

I have been trying 1/8 wood and it has seemed to be very much thinner than yours look. How tall are the sides? Do you do any mechanical prep for the sides to bottom attachment? I was thinking a groove to hold the edge in but experiments have not gone well, so, for now, finger joints are everywhere.

About 1.5”

Nope. Just a nice tight glue fit and yellow wood glue.

1 Like

Looks super cool.

1 Like

Wow. Amazing gift. Thank you for the photos and write up. This tray is what we all aspire to make at this level someday.

3 Likes

Your woodworking layouts never cease to amaze me. Eventually I’ll have some time to sit down and glean information from your posts regarding jointing and kerfs to try my own hand. Until then I’ll be living the dream through your work.

3 Likes

:squee:
(really wanted “mind blown” but couldn’t find it without my mind intact…)

2 Likes

Wow, another gorgeous project. Most inspirational!

2 Likes

:exploding_head: This one?

1 Like