Earlier I did a tutorial on how to
make a rectangular tray. I consider that a
"beginning" project and wanted to offer a more
complex tray project. This tray has eight sides and
the veneer is laid in a sunburst pattern. I also
used walnut burl for the sunburst, which is a
"difficult" veneer to use for a sunburst and
requires special handling when cutting and fitting.
If you find this tutorial to be
valuable, I'd appreciate if you'd send me an e-mail
at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line of
"Eight Sided Tray".
This is the bottom of the tray -
where we're heading in the first part of this
You'll need the following tools and supplies
for this project:
- 1/4" MDF for the substrate, approximately 18"
- Eight consecutive pieces of field veneer. I'm using
- Veneer for the banding. I used bloodwood and holly.
- Veneer for the border and back. I used walnut, and
in the back, I laid it in as an 8 piece sunburst.
- 3/4" blue tape.
- Veneer tape.
- A sponge in a container of water to wet the veneer
- A 24" rule. If you use a "center finding" rule some
of the measurements will be easier.
- A straight edge about 24 inches long. Used when
cutting the veneer.
- A filleti guide for cutting the banding.
- A template for cutting the sunburst segments. Since
we're doing an eight piece sunburst,
the template will be 45 degrees.
- A veneer saw.
- A knife or knives for cutting the veneer.
- A sharp chisel about 1/2" wide.
- A sanding block.
- A small combination square is valuable for laying
out the pattern.
- A pencil.
- A hinged mirror. You really can't do a good sunburst
without a hinged mirror.
- Glue to attach the veneer to the substrate. I used
regular white glue.
- A veneer pressing system. I used a veneer bag and a
We begin by making the substrate. I cut
what I need from a large piece of 1/4" MDF I have in the
shop. I want the final tray to be about 18" across. I'll
use a compass to draw a circle a bit smaller than the
radius, or a bit less than 9". I'll set the compass from
I don't want to waste any of the MDF so
I want my circle right against two of the sides. I can
do that by drawing an arc from each side. The
intersection of those two arcs will be the center of my
Then, using a combination square, draw
two lines through the center of the circle,
perpendicular to each side.