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Beginner Wooden Coaster With Leather Inlay

  • Software:
    Vectric 2D
    Machine Time:
    Workbee 1000mm x 750mm (Screw Driven)
    Bit or Laser Size:
    3mm Endmill
    5mm Plywood
    5mm Hardboard
    Leather off-cuts
    In Brief
    Making a set of four plywood faced coasters with leather inserts and felt pads on the base

    This is a fairly simple affair for any novice to make as their first project on their new CNC Router. I hope you give it a try

    Each coaster is 104mm square with an 80mm pocket/recess.
    First I cut a piece of 5mm ply 300mm x 300mm squared everything up, marked the centre and cut out the tops with the hole in. I then cut the same with the hardboard minus the hole. Next I sanded everything down and bonded these together with wood glue. Once dry I applied a generous coat of American Walnut wood dye to the plywood grain.
    Completing the job by fine sanding, masking off and spray coating the edges, recess, and undersides in matt black. Topping off with a clear satin varnish and furniture wax once dry.
    I then cut the leather and stuck it down in the pocket.
    Finishing off with 4 small felt pads to the base.

    A nice, simple, easy job which was a joy to make.
    I hope folks can take something from this post and go on to further develop and enhance its probabilities
    N.B. Files will be uploaded in due course
    Thanks for taking the time to view my project.


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  1. Alex Chambers
    If you want to go for a more "modern" look @Colin Mccourt, one technique I used to use with the kids at school involved "plastic memory". We made a motif by soldering stout wire to a piece of pcb, heated it and pressed it into a piece of (also warmed) acrylic. Then we took a skim off the surface of the acrylic and polished it. Warm the acrylic and the motif pops back to the level it was originally.
    Alex. :rolleyes::rolleyes:
      Colin Mccourt likes this.
  2. Ariel Yahni
    For the emboss acrylic works very well. I have made plenty and use the often.
    Great Job
      Colin Mccourt and Mark Carew like this.
  3. Mark Carew
    These are very classy! love the way they turned out @Colin Mccourt Thank you for sharing
    1. Colin Mccourt
      Thanks Mark they are fairly traditional (dark polished wood) I wonder what a more radical contemporary set would look like possible yellow leather lol. I hope some beginners take this easy project and run with it, that would be nice to see
      Colin Mccourt, Mar 24, 2019
      Mark Carew likes this.
    2. Mark Carew
      I was even thinking maybe cast acrylic would look really nice for a modern flare. :) I will grab the files when your able to share them and give it a go here.
      Mark Carew, Mar 24, 2019
      Colin Mccourt likes this.
    3. Colin Mccourt
      They are on the computer in the workshop I'll pop them up tomorrow., but yeah do give it a go
      Colin Mccourt, Mar 24, 2019
  4. Colin Mccourt
    In addition to the above, I originally wanted to emboss a coffee cup relief into the leather. A few trials were conducted on how to accomplish this and all met with failure. Until it was suggested to me on my normal thread that I soak the leather first, here follows that experiment:-

    For the trial, I thoroughly soaked the hide in warm water placed the inverted relief on the face of the leather and layered with a couple of scraps of wood to distribute the clamping pressure. Amazingly it worked. A very good imprint was obtained by leaving this overnight to dry (roughly 12 hours). Two things I was concerned about, #1, Would the fact I was using a wooden relief for the plate collapse with the moisture content in the leather #2. What would be the condition of the leather after the drying process?. I'm happy to report, from those aspects, everything was fine.
    I will be using this method again at some point in time for coasters and other small projects I have in mind.
    It gets the thumbs up from me :thumbsup:
    Originally there were two vapor plumes emanating from the coffee cup, one was small and got lost in the milling process on the Workbee. (which would have made the overall effect even nicer). No matter, this was only a test to see wither the process was a viable prospect for future design incorporation. looks like it's a resounding "Yes"

    Judge for yourselves...

    wet embossing.jpg
      Mark Carew likes this.
  5. Alex Chambers
    As someone said recently - it's all in the presentation. A little bit of effort in the finishing makes an enormous difference.
      Award and Colin Mccourt like this.
    1. Colin Mccourt
      Thank You Alex, I'm still wondering who that person was lol
      Colin Mccourt, Mar 23, 2019
  6. Award
    I'm going to have a go at this and I love the fact that you have made the plywood look so much better with the American Walnut dye, etc.
      Alex Chambers likes this.
    1. Colin Mccourt
      Might I suggest that on the underside of the plywood or into the hardboard base piece (whichever is preferable) you pocket a square the same thickness of the leather and just wider than the hole. This will mean that you can cut a square piece of leather rather than try and cut true circles..which are fairly hard to get exact unless you have a proper cutter. If I were doing these again I would adopt the revised method outlined above for a neater look
      PS. Looking forward to seeing your efforts
      Colin Mccourt, Mar 23, 2019
      Award likes this.
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