Swirlend tray

Bonjour! Mes amis m’appelent Swirlend Tray.

I’m getting ahead of the gift season, making some trays to give out to friends. They’re perfect for it – a relatively simple project that makes quite an impression.

Notes:

  • Lots of what I did to make this has been covered in my previous posts, so I won’t get into too many technical aspects. Here are some relevant links: Simple tray and butt jointing
  • The supplier I got these woods from (discussed here) sands them to thickness, but they’re still fairly rough. I should have sanded my materials down a bit to remove the worst marks before I lasered, it would have made things a lot simpler later.
  • All visible wood is 1/8" (~3mm) thick solid hardwood. The bottom (not pictured) is 2 layers of 1/8" baltic birch plywood.
  • All surfaces sanded to 600 grit and then polished with 1500 grit, not a true sanding.
  • All surfaces treated with Feed n Wax.
  • Inner dimensions of the tray are 8.5" X 6.5" X 1.25" (215 X 165 X 31mm)

This tray is somewhat in progress. I’m not sure about the liner color, so for now I cut a piece of white pigskin liner to lay in there as a placeholder. You’ll probably notice the waviness of the leather surface, I haven’t tried to secure it in any way. I’ll probably end up choosing something with a richer color to play off the warm tones in the woods.


Maple, Wenge, Pigskin

I wanted to make a tray where the corners felt like they were framing a positive space in the faces, hence the choice of dark Wenge for the corners and bright maple for the sides. The finger joints in a dark wood like Wenge are naturally more subtle, and so the corners almost appear monolithic, which was intentional. The corners are sanded to roughly a 1/16" radius, subtle rounding of fingers is my current go-to.


Maple, Wenge, Pigskin

The sides are through-cut inlay/butt jointing. Kerf adjustment is necessary to get results like this – there’s no room to hide mistakes. As such, designs that have few or no sharp corners are preferable to avoid “pitting” where corners overburn. Designing so there are no sharp corners is a bit of a learning curve, but necessary and worth it. If you’re an inkscape user, I would recommend watching the video I posted here.


Maple, Wenge, Pigskin

I know, I know, all that pristine maple is asking for inlays or engraves. I wanted the corners to stand out and so decided to go simpler, choosing clear, bright maple boards and uniformly dark wenge. It might seem strange to design a tray to showcase the corners, but I’m pretty happy with the outcome.


Maple, Wenge, Pigskin

I don’t have a lot more to say here. Trays are simple, but if you take the time to get them right, they can be elegant and impactful. I’m already working on a variant for the next gift – it would be easy to crank out a few of these in various wood combinations, but where’s the fun in that? I’d be cheating myself out of designing new cool curved corners!

PS… I barely speak any french, so don’t reply en Francais or I’ll have to use google translate to keep up! OK, a plus tard!

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Beautiful is all that need be said.

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Mmmm. Nice tray. :sunglasses:

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These are great!

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You never cease to amaze me. Not only with your obvious skills and the beauty of your finished projects, but perhaps even more so with your great write-ups for each thing you make.

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Thanks!

These longform writeups take a while, that’s for sure. As such, I don’t write up everything I make, who has that kind of time ?:slight_smile:

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You seem to top yourself each post. Well done. Very nice write up, and the tray is beautiful.

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Xabbess said it for me.

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The contrast is stunning. I think you’re wise to leave the maple unadorned.

I also very much appreciate all of the write-ups!

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Again I say, OUTSTANDING! I’ve GOT to get the kerf thing figured out. Trays and boxes like this MUST fill my sales table next year. These are PREMIUM items @evansd2! I see lots of gifts too. Well done! Thank you for your continued inspiration!

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Pretty slick.
I like it…

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Lovely design work - I always enjoy your write up and your ideas. I love the way you blend art and aesthetic with design and engineering.

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Tes cabarets sont fantastiques! Tu m’éblouis avec chacun de ces images! Ton travail est sans-pareils et il m’inspire beaucoup!

Merci d’avoir partagé avec nous.

PS don’t tell me not to speak french!

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They are indeed beautiful

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Like everyone else said, it bears repeating. Thank You for sharing your projects and writups. They are very inspiring. I particularly love how you hide to finger joints. Laser cut burnt end finger joints are becoming so cliché I hesitate to use them.

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J’hésitait a lui répondre en francais, mais vu que tu as brisé la glace… :slight_smile:
Oui bravo! Tes créations sont sans pareil! J’aspire a creer des choses semblable quand je recevrai mon GF

I want to see more of your work!

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Man, when you post these I have the strongest urge to fire up the glowforge! Thanks for that. :sunglasses:

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one of the things i appreciate about what you did here (beyond the “beautiful design” part) is how it maximizes the value of the nicer, more expensive pieces of wood. using the wenge as more of an accent, with the contrast really punching off of that maple. contrast of both color and texture.

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Tray magnifique! (see what I did there…)
Stunning, as usual!

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Ugh, I hate it when a great pun occurs to me but has already been used!

Great work! (Yeah, you don’t know if I’m talking about the tray or the pun… Deal with it.)

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