Party Trays

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Make some chips before serving some chips

Whether you’re preparing a treat for your next potluck dinner or dishing up salsa and chips to eat in front of the game, you’ll find these two party trays are up to the challenge. They also make great gifts and are a good way to show off your woodworking skills. The removable dish, called a ramekin, is available at most department stores for a couple of bucks. Or splurge and find a local potter to make you a set. Either way, adding that ceramic element frees you to serve nearly any food without fear of damaging your tray.

The key to making both of these designs is to start with a template that includes inner “rings.” In teaching how to make these trays, I’ve found most students have trouble guiding a router across a wide-open area—essentially free-handing the tool. The rings provide guidance for every cut and make the job much easier. You’ll also need a plunge router and a 3/4" tray bit with a top guide bearing. You can make your tray from nearly any wood—those shown here are made of 6/4 sapele.

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