Hands On

Volume 45/Issue 3

Contest Winners
First, Second and Third Place Winner Projects
Project Articles
The Tall Bookcase
The Folding Party Tray
The Mug Holder Shelf and Baseball Equipment Holder

Ask Smitty
Owner’s Gallery
Letters from Owners
Academy Notes
Finishing Touches - Pt.5 Refinishing
Service Pointers
Lathe Tailstock & Tool Rest Service Pointers
Safety Tips
Workshop Fire Safety

What's New
Hands-On Timeless Classics Now Available on CD ROM

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National Woodworking Academy in Dayton, OH

Online Accessory Catalog
Request Printed Accessory Catalog
Online Replacement Parts Catalog

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MARK V Demo Near You

Request MARK V Information Package

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The Folding Party Tray

Here's a great project to hlep you be prepared for those upcoming Summertime deck or patio parties. Plan your operations carefully and you should be able to make a half dozen of them in a single weekend!

You've planned a cookout and your guests are scheduled to arrive in 15 minutes. You've already dragged that wobbly old card table out just one more time and set it up beside your picnic table on the patio or deck. But you still don't have enough space for all your guests. So, you're back in the house, scrounging around for more tables when the doorbell rings. You open the door and there they stand…as if they all arrived in a single bus. A quick count and your worst nightmare becomes reality…you have four more guests than places to seat them. Your four closest friends end up in folding chairs with paper plates full of food balanced precariously on their knees and barbecue sauce dribbling down their pant legs. GREAT!

Next time, get those plates off their laps and give them a place to ENJOY their meals with these handy, fold-away party trays. Made of redwood (or any wood of your choice), they're not only utilitarian, but beautifully designed and easy to build, too.

Getting Started
To build the project, you'll need your MARK V (or a table saw) and jointer for making your sizing cuts (the jointer is optional)…a drill press (or your MARK V) for boring the bolt and screw holes…a bandsaw or scroll saw and a disc sander to round and smooth your parts.

Component Construction
Before you get started, keep in mind that since all the tool set-ups for this project are so simple, it's almost as quick and easy to go ahead and make six or so of these trays, while you're at it. Making more is a simple matter of running additional lumber through your machinery. Of course, you'll need a little extra assembly time too, but you'll quickly discover that it's a lot easier to make more trays now than to go back and re-do all your set-ups for another “run” at a later date. So, think about how many you might need and “do it now”. You'll be glad you did.

Since our plan calls for outdoor use, we used redwood for our trays. It's attractive, light in weight and resistant to decay. However, you could just as easily make these trays out of virtually any clear, attractive lumber. The choice is yours.

Start by using your table saw to cut all of your pieces (A,B,D,F,G,H) to size, as shown in the Bill of Materials. Rip everything to width first, making all your pieces just a “hair” oversized so you can run them over the jointer to smooth the edges prior to assembly…then crosscut them to length.

Cut out an extra piece, from which you will cut however many small, round spacers (C) you may need for the number of trays you plan to build. Use a pencil compass to draw a sufficient quantity (two per tray) of 1" diameter spacers on this piece of stock.