Make this classic butler's table for easy tray service or to simply act as a living-room table.
This butler’s tray serves up a challenge to woodworkers, involving duplicate routing best done on a router table using a template cut from 6mm MDF. It’s made with jarrah, but you can use other timbers. Even pine with a couple of coats of paint is an option.
Easy finger joints
A finger joint, also known as a box joint, is a traditional woodworking joint. Interlocking fingers provide a large gluing surface area for strength. Check out Gifkins (www.gifkins.com.au) for jigs to make 5mm finger joints. They’re designed to be used with a fixed table-mounted router. Router table inserts are available through Carba-Tec (visit www.carbatec.com.au).
Mark the grid pattern
On 6mm MDF mark out a 15mm grid pattern. Plot the points on the grid pattern as per Diagram 1. Clamp a 25mm wide strip of 3mm thick MDF to blocks. (Bricks will do the same trick.) Manoeuvre until it meets the points then trace with a pencil.
Sand the shape
Neatly cut about 1mm around the outline on the template. Use a flexible sanding strip to produce a free-flowing curve.
Mark the width
Set a drawing compass to 45mm and, with the pin held securely against the finished edge, drag the compass towards you to produce a parallel line. Cut along the waste side and finish off with the sanding strip.
Trace the leg shape
Place the completed template on the leg material and trace around the outline with a pencil. Remove the template and, with a jigsaw, cut around the shape 1-2mm on the waste side of the line.
Trim to shape
Attach the template to the leg by screwing through the pivot hole and support holes with 15mm x 6g woodscrews. Use a flush trim bit in the router to follow the shape for the four legs. Cut legs to length with a tenon saw before removing the template.
Assemble the legs
Round off sharp edges with a 3mm roundover bit in a trimmer. Pre-sand and connect two legs together with a brass connector bolt. Insert a washer between both legs.
TIP Use thread lock adhesive and tighten with an allen key.