By Bernard_R | Created September 7th, 2018 | Published September 7th, 2018
This cutlery tray is parameter-based, so you can adapt its dimensions to meet your needs. It’s fun to make because it doesn't require any power tools other than Origin. It would be hard to make without Origin using the tools available in the average woodworker’s shop, so you can fake it and pretend you’re a woodworking expert even if, like me, you’re a complete beginner.
Files included (14)
Cutlery tray parameters.xlsx
* Half-inch plywood: A piece at least 18" by 18" for the 4 sides, and a piece at least 20" by 15" for cutting out the base
* Quarter-inch plywood: A piece at least 20" by 15" for the 7 separator pieces
* Tung oil and glue
* Shaper Origin, with 1/8" and 1/4" up-cut bits
* Sanding tools
* Clamps when gluing
Included above are the SVG files for the 12 parts that make up the cutlery tray based on an exterior tray length of 16.8” and an exterior tray width of 12.8”. I've also included the Fusion f3d file, which is entirely parameter-based. Within Fusion, use Modify / Change Parameters and adjust any of the parameters shown under Favorites to adapt the dimensions of the tray as needed. Finally, I've also included a spreadsheet that lists the parameters and the formulae on which they're based, though that information is also embedded in the f3d file.
When I built this, I used 1/2" ply for the base and the side walls and 1/4" ply for the separators between the tray sections. When you build it yourself, you can modify the Fusion parameters not only to change the overall dimensions of the tray, but also to redefine the thickness of the thick and thin wood and to redefine which parts are built with thick wood and which with thin wood. It's important that you specify the wood thicknesses precisely, because you want the widths of the dados and rabbets to exactly match the widths of the wood that will fit in them.
As you’ll see in the photos, the 1/4” ply I used had some blemishes, and the coloring on the two sides was very different. That’s a pity, because all parts other than the base are visible from both sides. If I do this again, I’ll use the best plywood I can get.
All of the 12 parts involve making cuts only on the "top" side, so there is no need to use grids or to cut any piece on more than one side.
I've learned from painful experience the importance of using well-positioned double-sided tape to hold any narrow or small piece firmly in place when I do my final outside cut; otherwise there's a real risk that the piece will move and get damaged just as I'm finishing the cut. Correctly positioning such tape is hard before doing the cuts because you can't tell from one side of the workpiece where the cuts will be on the other side. So my procedure now is: (a) I use Shaper tape only on my workpiece, so it doesn't matter if I move the workpiece; (b) I don't apply any double-sided tape at first; (c) I leave 2 or 3 tabs (i.e. short uncut sections) when doing the final outside cut on each piece; (d) I then flip the workpiece over, apply double-sided tape on the now-revealed inside area of each piece that I'm cutting out, then flip the workpiece back and press it down firmly on my spoil board; (e) I then do full-depth cuts where the tabs are, followed by finishing cuts around the whole body.