I got the idea for this project from Ryan Borger back in 2013, who sent me a picture of a serving tray he made. I stuck it in my idea file and, well, it took me three years, but I finally got to make it!
The most important feature of this tray is the simple weight to hold down napkins and keep them from blowing away, a problem at just about any outdoor event. It also features a removable box with dividers for utensils.
This entire tray is made out of solid oak. I began by gluing together three boards to form the tray bottom. Plywood would be easier, but it might be harder to match its color with the solid wood tray sides.
I beveled the edges of the two short tray sides to 20°.
Then made 20° angles on the ends of the long front and back pieces.
Using my cutting template, I cut a curve on the front and back.
To make the handles on the sides, I drilled two holes then connected them using my jigsaw. I rounded over the edges with a roundover bit in my router.
The router can’t reach the areas in the corners, so I rounded them over with a rasp.
I cut 20° bevels in the bottom panel and dropped it into place, gluing the two short sides only.
The I drilled holes and pounded in dowel pins to reinforce the corner joints.
These holes are for the dowels that the napkin weight will slide down on. I only drilled these halfway through the wood.
The hold-down weight is just a rounded board with two holes.
Gluing on the tray dividers:
Nothing fancy about the utensil box. Just glued together butt joints.
Finally I glued in the thicker napkin dowels and sprayed several coats of lacquer over everything.