As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.
There has to be a better name for this than a "knicknack tray". I'm open to suggestions.
This is just a small (approx 9x5x1") wooden tray/dish. It has a few dividers in it. All the outside edges are rounded -- that detail is missing from the drawing, my apologies.
You could put it in your desk, to hold pens and paperclips. I have one like it in my nightstand, it holds a pen, thermometer, nailclippers and a few other miscellaneous items that would otherwise rattle around in the drawer. I believe that the original intent (for the one that I have, which served as the inspiration for the one that I built) was for this to sit on your dresser, and at night as you got ready for bed you would empty your pockets (watch, coins, keys, etc) into the tray.
On my tablesaw (no bandsaw yet) I resawed a piece of 7/8" thick cherry in order to get a 1/4" thick piece for the bottom. This left me with another 1/4" piece (for another future tray, possibly) and a very thin 1/8" piece, which I'm sure will come in handy somewhere else. I don't have the greatest fence, so even with a good blade, resawing this 5" `tall' piece of cherry (two passes, once on each side) resulted in some mild burns on the wood. A few light passes with my #4 smoothing plane nicely peeled away those burns.
The sides were glued and clamped to the base. This tray was a bit of a rush job, as the idea to make this was a late inspiration, and I was working to a deadline -- it was a gift, you see. Therefore I took the easy approach and just used butt joints for the sides and divider, instead of lap or miter joints.
Once the piece was glued up, I again turned to my smoothing plane to take down any high points, and to do away with any mismatched edges. I did have a few problems with the handplane, because of the end-grain of the butt joint. I experience a bit of splintering at the edge of the piece. This was remedies when I clamped a piece of scrap behind the section that I was planing -- let the scrap deal with the splintering!
For the next step, I inserted a 1/4" round-over bit into my router, mounted it in the table, and rounded over all the outside edges. That included all around the bottom, all around the top, and the four vertical corners also. Some final sanding, with 150 grit, took out any remaining rough spots, and also lightly rounded the inside edges which I had not routed. As I expected and had planned, I found that rounding over the edges with the router added a nice visual touch, which I thought compensated for the "plain" butt joint construction. (Sorry, I am not enough of an expert with the drawing program to incorporate those rounded edges in the diagram above)
For a finish I used a few coats of Lee Valley's Polymerized Tung Oil, followed by a light coat of furniture wax.
This was a very quick, enjoyable little project. Perfect for whipping out in a few days of fun evenings in the workshop. Now that I've gone through the process once, I would expect the next one to require maybe two evenings to get to the finishing stage.
Thanks for reading!