How to make wooden drink coasters

Written by randal thomas
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How to make wooden drink coasters
(Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Building your own custom wood coasters will keep the surfaces of your coffee or end tables protected against water circles left by drinks. Done incorrectly, however, you might find your coasters pool condensation or that the glasses slip off the coaster's surface. Done correctly, you'll find that your coasters complement your coffee-table decoration and provide adequate protection against drinks. Follow the right procedures and create long-lasting coasters that protect your coffee table.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • One 1/4"x10"x72" plank of pine
  • Circular saw
  • Glue
  • 12"x12" sheet of cork board
  • Router
  • Wood clamp
  • Metal circle stencil template with one 2 1/4" circle
  • Tape measure
  • T-square
  • Band saw

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Instructions

    Coaster Borders

  1. 1

    Measure the 72-inch plank with the tape measure, marking four horizontal cut lines every 3 inches.

  2. 2

    Measure the 72-inch plank with the tape measure, marking four vertical cut lines every 3 inches.

  3. 3

    Complete the cut lines by placing the T-square on each horizontal cut line, completing the cut line by marking intersecting lines with the vertical line.

  4. 4

    Complete the cut lines by placing the T-square on each vertical cut line, completing the cut line by marking intersecting lines with the horizontal line.

    Set the Circles

  1. 1

    Mark the centre of each coaster by laying your ruler diagonally across the coaster borders and marking a diagonal line from one corner to the other.

  2. 2

    Flip the ruler around, and lay it across the opposite corners.

  3. 3

    Make a diagonal mark from corner to corner. The centre of the resulting X marks the centre of the coaster.

  4. 4

    Drill a hole in the centre of each coaster's X using the 1/4-inch drill bit. Make sure to drill approximately 1/4 inch into the wood.

    Route the Circles

  1. 1

    Insert the dowel pin into the centre of the drill hole.

  2. 2

    Set the circle-cutting jig on the wooden dowel.

  3. 3

    Clamp the board to the work table using the wood clamps.

  4. 4

    Route a 2 1/4-inch circle into the coaster using the circle-cutting jig by setting your router bit to a depth of 1/8 inch and routing out all the wood.

  5. 5

    Remove the router from the router jig, and route out the rest of the wood within the routed circle of each coaster. Routing out the rest of the wood will create a smooth indentation 1/4 inch within the wood that will contain your cups.

    Cut out the Finished Coasters

  1. 1

    Glue the cork board to the bottom of the 72-inch plank of wood.

  2. 2

    Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours.

  3. 3

    Cut the outer edge of the coasters using the circular saw by making one horizontal cut through the plank.

  4. 4

    Cut coasters out by making four vertical cuts using the band saw

  5. 5

    Bevel the top edge of each coaster by pressing the edge against the circular sander for about one second. The sander will create a 1/16-inch bevel. It won't impact the functionality of the coaster, and simply adds a small feature to an otherwise square piece of coaster.

Tips and warnings

  • Although you can use any wood you want to use--soft woods such as pine soak up water well, and when they dry, the wood grain "frills" a little, creating a natural texture that provides traction for your cups. Instead of marring the appearance and natural functionality of the wood, place the cork board on the bottom of the wood for added traction.
  • Make sure you glue the cork board to the wood prior to cutting, because if you don't, you will have to measure and cut and glue four pieces of cork board to each coaster. Gluing it ahead of time ensures that when you cut the coasters out of larger plank that you have four coasters, routed and bottomed with cork board ready for use.
  • Use a soft wood such as pine instead of a hardwood like walnut. Hardwoods like walnut will not soak the water as well as pine, and when they dry, the wood grains will not fray very much, so you will lose the soft, natural friction created by the moistening-drying process.

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