Wooden Coasters

Coasters a wonderful way to protect that brand new dining table you just completed. Why not turn the scrap from your dining table into some wooden coasters. That’s what I did for this project. Well, maybe not scraps from my dining table but scraps from my last two projects. Those projects being the roping dummy’s and the current project an entertainment center. You can check out my Instagram page and give me a follow if your interested to see those projects. Wooden coasters would make a great project if your beginner will not a lot of projects under your belt.

How You Can Build Your Own Wood Coasters Too

While building my wooden coasters I decided to document the processes I used to get the job done. So if you as a reader or even a viewer are interested in this project you should have a good idea of the steps needed to complete this project. If this happens to be your first project out of hardwood don’t be afraid to take the plunge as I mentioned this is a great project to get started on.

Materials Needed

  • 3/4” x 3/4” stock material x2 species of wood if you want a checkerboard pattern length determined by the number of coasters you want.
  • Scrap Wood For Clamping
  • Plastic Wrap (don’t tell your wife)
  • Wood Glue 
  • Polyacrylic 
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Rags

Tools Needed

The tools I used all are not required but could be depending on your material ( I put a “*” next to the items that can be dismissed you buy s4s lumber)

(please note that items in red in these two sections are Amazon affiliate links. They are put here to make ease of explanation of supplies and for us to make a few cents when you purchase an item from Amazon. They also help us to keep providing free content to you as a reader)

Prepping Material

When creating my wood coaster my material was in not squared up yet. So I had to run it through the process of getting everything squared up. Starting at my jointer I ran my stock material across to get one face flat. Then rotating the stock 90 degrees so that freshly cut flat face is pushed into the fence I begin to joint that side. This gives a flat face to run through your planer and then moving to your table saw to begin cutting your wooden coaster parts.
I cut all of my coaster pieces out on the table saw to 3/4”. You can go larger or smaller depending on what size squares you want. You will need 11 pieces of 3/4” stock material per species of wood you use. The length doesn’t really matter this will only determine how many coasters you yield. I cut all my coasters at .5” thickness. You can simply divide the length of your stock to divided by .5” to determine how many wooden coasters you will yield. Once you have got all 22 pieces cut down to 3/4” its time for glue up.
(please note when I made my coasters I did not plan properly and left a row off. If your using 3/4” stock make sure to have 5 rows and 5 columns.) 

Gluing Wooden Coasters

This is where things can get stressful at least they did for me. Lack of planning bit me again. Make sure you have a lot of clamps available at your disposal I recently purchased a lot more of the Harbor Freight bar clamps. I can’t say enough good things about the HF clamps for there price. When gluing up my wood coasters the problem was I didn’t have all my clamps ready to go or even near my table.
I also recommend trying to clamp row by row and then clamping as a whole. When I attempted to clamp the whole thing as one and it worked “OK” but it was stressful. Did I mention your going to need a lot of clamps!
I’m sure there is might be a technical term for this but I will just call it scrap wood. For getting even clamping pressure I took scrap pieces of plywood wrapped in plastic wrap from the kitchen so the glue squeeze out wouldn’t adhere to scrap. If there is a technical term to describe these scrap pieces comment below I would love to know the proper verbiage.
Let the glue cure for at least 24hrs or in my case 1 week…

Slicing Wood coasters

Time to get your big block of wood sliced into some coasters and hope that the glue up was successful. After removing my clamps I saw that one side have a little bit of mismatch from all the clamping pressure. I simply ran it across my jointer this could also be achieved with a sander.
Once everything looked ready to go for slicing I cut it into .5” sections, I headed over to the bandsaw to accomplish the task. You could probably to do the is at the table saw by rotating the pieces to cut all the way through.
Please note: use safe practices if you use the table saw and do not cross-cut with the stock between the fence and the blade. 
I first squared one end the stock and then used a stop block to get consistent thicknesses of wood coasters. If you’re using a bandsaw I used a woodslicer blade from highland woodworking. A great bandsaw blade for the money if your in the market. If your new to the bandsaw check out my previous article to get your bandsaw tension set properly.

Final Stages!

Well, what do you think if your following along making your own coasters? A pretty simple project but a very rewarding project to see that checkerboard pattern. Below I’m going to talk about how I took a few extra steps on how I elevated the project as well as finished it. All these steps below are just my take on it and you could finish it however you please that’s the joys of woodworking, creating and general making.

Round Over

I chose to round over both sides the coasters I made using a 1/4” round over. Using a 1/4” rounder bit might have been a little excessive but for some reason, my smaller ones have seemed to spun there way out of the door. When freehand routing make sure you’re using good practices and going in a left to right directing. You can learn more about freehand routing by visiting here.

Sanding

My least favorite part of woodworking is sanding. Maybe a Festool sander will improve my hatred toward sanding. For sanding, I started with an 80 grit to remove the marks left behind by the bandsaw. Then moving to 120 grit, 150 grit and finishing with 220 grit. 220 grit seemed like that was a good stopping point for me and the surface I was looking to achieve. You could decide that you like a higher grit, go for it as I mentioned that’s the joy of woodworking.

Finish

This was my first end grain anything I guess my building block (no pun intended) to building my first end grain cutting board. I really didn’t know what type of finish to go for on this so I did a little bit of searching and a lot of people use mineral oil on cutting boards. They will also mix in beeswax with the mineral oil probably because it’s a food surface. I then researched for coaster finishing and there was a lot of push for using poly so that’s what I used.  If anyone has recommendations on books to read for finishing please comment below I lack greatly in my knowledge of what finishes to use when.

Building Wooden Coasters Wasn’t That Hard

If you followed my steps on how I achieved my wooden coasters please share them with us, we would love to see them. As my first end grain project, I am very happy how they turned out. The only thing I’m frustrated about is leaving that one row off due to my poor planning.
But now I have created a better plan for you and me in this article and know we need 11 pieces of each species of material. I hope you found this article useful in your woodworking adventure and will take the time to share it with your favorite social network or friends and family.
Go Make Some Sawdust
Scott

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