This week I’ve been making serving trays, in line with the “beautiful, useful or preferably both” motto.
The thing about trays these days is they’ve become more useful than beautiful - boring plastic utilitarian things that just don’t do it aesthetically. So I thought it was time to remedy matters.
I wanted something that was simple but nice to hold, with some subtle curves to draw in the eye and, since trays spend most of their life propped up against a wall, an interesting design.
The base is black walnut veneer and the design inlaid with beech shaded with hot sand.
This is proper hands-on traditional veneer inlay - none of your soul-less computer-generated laser engraving here.
This is put in a vacuum press and uses the weight of the atmosphere to achieve about 1 1/2 tons of pressure. Quite impressive.
The design is a Celtic Triquetra or Trinity Knot, one of the oldest Celtic symbols, which has several meanings showing our inter-connectedness to life, nature and each other:-
The Holy Trinity; Body, Mind and Spirit; Earth, Sea and Sky; Maiden, Mother, Crone; etc.
But the one I like the best is the three promises to your loved one: Love, Honour and Protect.
And as such is traditionally given as gift at engagements, weddings and anniversaries.
So instead of serving tea on a so-so plastic tray, you can present your offerings on something quite special, that’s nice to look at even when it’s not in use.
* * * * * *
These are available to order and I can inlay custom designs/ logos within reason. Contact me to discuss.
This is a bit old school, well ancient really, but handy to know in a fix.
Before set-squares were checked to the nearest nanometre and proper saws had a wooden handle without a plastic square edge, craftsmen knew several ways to make sure their cut, and their work, was at right angles.
The above technique employs a simple compass, which can be made from anything - even a bit of string- and a straight edge to draw a line. When you see it, it's stunningly simple, if not obvious, and can be scaled to any proportions - handy on a building site too..
Indeed, most of the greatest historical buildings in the world, from the pyramids to Chartres Cathedral and the like, were set out and built using simple techniques such as this.
So, if you can't find your try-square or your laser turning thingy-ma-bob, it's fine.
Try this - you'll be in good company.