We thought we would make some wood slice coasters. And like any good project, it starts by heading into the woods. Ha. You know, once you get something in your head, you just have to try and see if it will work. We didn’t have too far to go to get a branch or two before we could start.
I should back up and tell you that when we got back to the workshop Jim was missing a bolt on the chainsaw. Do these things only happen to us? Every. Time. So Jim got out the metal detector he bought for checking the logs before milling. Worked like a charm.
We would never have found it with out the metal detector.
Back in the workshop, we had to decide how thick we wanted the slices to be. We tried 1/2 inch. But combined with the thin layer for the base, it was too high. So Jim adjusted the miter saw to make them thinner. We also wanted varying size diameters of slices.
Here I was just assembling a few pieces to see how it was going to look.
But first…these slices needed to dry. I mean after all they were just cut. We plan to glue them down and put a finish on them and it won’t work if the wood is wet. So, I placed them on screens to dry and brought them in the house, placing them on the cold air return.
Here they sat for about a month drying. Yes, I said a month. It’s in a non-traffic area behind the sofa. In fact when we were dog sitting Frank and Jacob, Frank made that route part of his exercise routine and his fur caught on one of the screens. Little bits of wood everywhere! I was more concerned one of them would eat a piece. But once I put the pieces back in place and the excitement was over, they forgot about it.
FINALLY the pieces of wood were dry enough to be glued in place. Jim cut and sanded a piece of luan plywood and brought it in where I proceeded to glue on the wood slices.
I kept glueing until I ran out of slices. Then we set it aside to dry for a couple of days. I wanted to get as many coasters out of it as I could. I used coasters I already had on hand to trace the outline. I managed to get two sets of four. One set round and one set square.
Back in the workshop, we knew at some point they were going to need to be sanded but should we sand before we cut them out or after? Hmmm…either way we were afraid some of the smaller pieces could go flying off. We settled on doing the majority of the sanding before cutting. So far…so good.
Then it was over to the bandsaw. Again, we were afraid pieces were going to go flying off but they didn’t. I think one little piece did come off because most of it was being cut off and only a little piece was actually left on the coaster. I just glued it back into place, easy peasy.
While Jim was cutting them out, I was hand sanding the edges to get them ready for the finish. I tested out a polyurethane on one of the scrap pieces. It only slightly darkened the coasters, plus it will give them some protection. I tend to like things to be shiny. In all I brushed on three coats with light sanding in between coats.
Here they are all finished.
The background could also be painted, I was thinking they would look good with a black background. We also considered using an epoxy finish that would fill in the spaces. Right now I am liking them as they are.
Now I encourage you all to go out to the woods and get yourself some new coasters!