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DIY Scrap Wood Trivets | Traditional Woodworking vs. CNC How-To

DIY Scrap Wood Trivets | Traditional Woodworking vs. CNC How-To

I built a set of simple scrap wood wooden trivets using two methods: first, using "traditional" woodworking tools like my Woodpeckers router table, and then using my Inventables X-Carve CNC.

Tools Used On The DIY Scrap Wood Trivets:

Materials Used On The DIY Scrap Wood Trivets:

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Voiceover Script :

I built these trivets using a few scraps, so the first step was to plane some of them down to get a smooth glue surface, and also to bring them to the same width.

Next, I glued the scraps together to form the blank, which was big enough for both trivets. The blank was about 7 ½” wide by 16” long. 

After letting the glue dry overnight, I removed the clamps and scraped off the glue squeeze out with a cheap chisel. I highly recommend keeping a set of inexpensive chisels around for this task, as they make quick work of removing dried glue.

Once most of the glue was removed, I planed down the blank until both faces were nice and clean. This is one of the most satisfying parts of any scrap wood build, seeing all of those rough pieces of scrap turn into something awesome looking. 

Next, I cut the blank to final width at the table saw and then cut it into two 7 ½” squares at the miter saw. 

The first trivet I made was the one using traditional woodworking tools, so next I needed to get my Woodpeckers router table set up for cutting the slots. I installed a ¼” upcut spiral bit and then set the height to roughly half the thickness of the trivet using one of these setup blocks. 

I set the distance between the fence and the bit to 1 ¼” and then added some painter’s tape to the fence so I could mark out my stop and start points.

This is where I wasn’t precise enough, and the slots on the finished trivet are a little bit off because of it. If I were to do this again, I would have butted a square up against the bit and then used that as the reference point, instead of eyeballing the alignment like I did here.

Anyway, after marking my start and stop points, I could get to routing. This is a pretty simple process, I just aligned the edge of the trivet with the marked line and then slowly lowered the wood onto the bit. 

After routing the first groove, I rotated the piece 180 degrees and routed the groove on the other edge. I then flipped the board over and repeated the process on the back, making sure the grooves were perpendicular to the ones on the front. 

I erred on the side of cutting the grooves too shallow at first so, after cutting the grooves on the back, I needed to raise the bit slightly so that it would cut all the way through. I used the micro-adjust wheel on the router lift to make these small adjustments until the bit was cutting all the way through, and then continued cutting.

With the first set of grooves done, I moved the fence back one inch and then repeated the process, making four grooves each time before moving the fence. 

While I route the rest of the grooves, let’s talk about the sponsor of this week’s video, Woodpeckers. I used a bunch of Woodpeckers tools in this video, including their Precision Router Lift and router table, setup blocks, 1281 square, and more. Woodpeckers tools and accessories are manufactured in the USA to the highest standards using state-of-the-art CNC equipment in their shop near Cleveland, Ohio.

I’ve been using Woodpeckers tools for years and they help me be more precise and accurate in my woodworking. If you’d like to learn more about their products, check out the link in the video description below. Thanks to Woodpeckers for sponsoring this week’s video.

After finishing the grooves, I marked a radius on the corners of the trivet and then rounded the corners at the oscillating belt sander. 

With that, the standard woodworking tools version of the trivet was basically done, so I moved on to cutting one with the Inventables X-Carve. First, I measured the exact final thickness of the trivet using a pair of digital calipers and entered that into Easel, the software that comes with the X-Carve. I also adjusted the depth of my slots to be a little more than half of that depth, again in Easel.

With the software side ready to go, I got the trivet clamped to the wasteboard, making sure it was square to the surface. Once I clamped the board down, I took some scrap pieces of wood and nailed them to the wasteboard to create a fixture, so that I could flip the trivet and run the operation again on the back of the trivet. 

Next, I could home the X-Carve, use the Z probe to set the Z axis zero point and then manually zero the X and Y axes. 

Next, I could get to carving. I think the carve time to cut these grooves was four minutes on each side, which is ridiculously fast. 

After it was done, I sanded off the fuzz, flipped the trivet, rotated is 90 degrees, and then clamped it down again. 

When I started the operation on the back side of the trivet, I realized that I had screwed up when jogging the machine after the first operation, and this messed up the zero point. I stopped the operation, re-zeroed everything, started it over, and it worked great. 

Before cutting the outside shape of the trivet, I realized that the bit would cut right through the clamps, so I brad nailed the corners of the trivet to the wasteboard, making sure to put nails in areas that the bit wouldn’t contact. 

While making the cut, the trivet started to lift a little bit, it didn’t cause any issues but, knowing this, I probably would have added some kind of hold-down to the middle of the trivet, some double sided tape would have been enough. 

With the cutting operations done, I moved over to the belt sander and cleaned up the edges, removing the tabs and any fuzzy bits left by the router bit. 

At that point, both trivets were at the same point in the process, so I continued working on both of them, first breaking all of the inside edges of the grooves with sandpaper. The router table trivet had a little extra fuzz in the grooves, probably because I was making the cuts in a single pass, so they required a little more sanding. I also used the random orbit sander to sand the faces of the trivets up to 120 grit.

Next, I rounded over the outside edges using an ⅛” radius roundover bit at the router table. I like to slowly raise the bit to make sure I don’t go to far and end up with a ridge left by the roundover bit. 

After rounding over the edges, I smoothed out the edges with 120 grit sandpaper and then finished sanding the trivets with 180 grit. 

For the finish, I applied a few coats of wipe on poly, which was a bit of a pain with all of the grooves. I probably would use a spray finish if I had to do it again.

Finally, I added a few rubber feet to keep the trivets from sliding around and also to let heat escape through the bottom of the trivet, and then they were finished! 

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