Upcycling,  Wood

Chopping board-like coaster

This is possibly the easiest coaster to make, but still, it does what a proper coaster should do. It’s thick and protects the table from heat and cold. It also has a juice groove to hold water that comes from condensation when a cold drink is served on a hot day. Everything you would expect from a coaster is here but it looks like a miniature chopping board. In fact, this block of wood was cut off from an old chopping board that cracked and was removed from the kitchen.

I started by cutting a disc out, using my jig saw. Next, I sanded the workpiece to the line and created something that looked like a perfect disc, but it wasn’t – I explain that later. Using a router and a parallel fence it came with, I cut the juice groove. I’ve done this before and it’s always worked fine, I only have to remember to keep the RPMs low to prevent burn marks (2 out of 6 on the dial). In this method, the notch in the fence follows the curve of the wooden disc and keeps the bit at a certain distance from the edge. In theory, a perfectly round outer edge gives a perfectly spaced-out juice groove. In reality, that ridge is not evenly thick and it needs sanding. The other possible reason for not getting a constant, even ridge is human error – the router is held in hand and may tilt a bit. Luckily, there is always plenty of material to sand off and get a perfect-looking ridge. There is only one setup in this method because the opening in the fence can’t be adjusted, but it’s worked in every application, so far.

The bottom edge was rounded over and I applied hard wax oil. This particular product was very similar to water-based varnish and had to be applied like one. Probably, the coaster would work better without any finish – it could soak any water in, like a sponge, but unexpectedly it got its waterproof properties. I applied 2 coats with a light sanding in between – just like the label said. When it dried, I installed 3 rubber feet in pre-drilled holes. That made the coaster non-slipping.

And so it was – a chopping board-like coaster – very original and very easy to make. It’s fully waterproof and heatproof too. I tested it with cold drinks and any condensation water can be simply wiped off with a cloth or left there on the surface, that doesn’t matter – it can handle it. Hot drinks served in metal cups do no harm either. So I can call the job done and enjoy drinks served on this coaster!

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