I will start by saying: No, these are not miniature end grain cutting boards for Smurfs, as the title suggests these are coasters or drink mats made using scrap wood. That being said, if any Smurfs did use them as cutting boards, that is perfectly fine also!
There really isn’t very much involved in making this project, first glue up all of the scraps of wood that you have, it will be necessary to do this in a number of stages. A variety of different coloured woods works well and although it should appear to be “random”, it works best if all the species are evenly balanced across the coaster. Although the principle is very simple, I found myself spending quite some time deciding on an order to glue all of the random sized scraps!
For this project I used a number of species: Ash, Purpleheart, Sapele, Oak and Walnut
For the best results, “seamless” joints are important, I achieved this by jointing the faces to be glued at each step.
Following my final glue-up I found the blank was slightly smaller than I needed. To address this I glued a border ~6mm thick to the outside of the blank made from what I believe to be mahogany, although there are many similar looking species so I could be wrong.
The final size should be between 9 and 10cm.
A border such as this is not ideal on a solid wood glue up, this due to wood movement, although in this instance the wood pieces will be so small I hope to get away with it.
Without a border it did occur to me if you wanted to the blank could be turned to a cylinder on the lathe, in order to produce round coasters!
To give the coasters soft corners the edges can be rounded using a “round-over bit” at the router table.
To form the coasters cut the blank into slices roughly 6-8mm thick, for this I used a bandsaw.
Next the coasters need sanding, as the coasters are primarily end-grain, unfortunately sanding is slow and tedious.
To help speed the process along I rigged together I primitive thickness sander. Using a sanding drum and a fence at the drill press, I was able to pass the coasters between the rotating drum and the fence, achieving a fairly even thickness, although I finished with some hand sanding.
Finally apply a finish to the coasters, for these I used a few coats of brushing lacquer. Although I didn’t in this case, following finishing a non-slip coating could be applied to the underside of each coaster if desired. Cork would work very nicely!
Take a closer look at the finished coasters!