Are you looking for that special gift for someone who has ‘everything’? Or maybe your Club wants to put together an awesome prize package for your year-end Finals? Check out this custom-branded barnwood tray. Make it special with your own personal message, or brand it with a logo or special graphic.
We collect and gather up rustic boards from old barns and fences. The weathered boards are perfectly imperfect for our barnwood pieces. For this project, we will transform a few plain old barnwood boards into a beautiful custom-branded serving tray.
Brian has the finished product in mind when he selects the boards. He inspects for rot, knots and imperfections. The wood rot is cut away, leaving a ‘clean’ board, ready to go. The wood knots and weathered grain are what make each hand-crafted piece so unique.
Making the cuts in the wood shop
Sometimes we run them through the planer to clean them up. But for this one, we went straight to the table saw. Selecting the ‘best side’, which will be the top or face of the finished tray, he cuts the boards on the table saw.
Even though he measures and re-measures every piece along the way, sometimes these old barnwood boards have a mind of their own and just don’t lay level or cut straight.
Next, Brian moves on to the chop saw and cuts the pieces to the exact measurements. He’ll measure twice, to be sure that the side and end boards are exact so that they all fit together perfectly.
The sanders are the next step. Depending on the wood, he may use belt and sheet sanders to smooth off some of the rough wood. Then finish up with the orbital or palm sander.
Putting the pieces together
Brian uses a biscuit cutter when he needs to join boards together, he’s careful to mark each one so he’ll know how to fit them all together later, it’s just like a puzzle.
That about does it for the cuts in the workshop. He’ll gather up the pieces and head to the finishing room where he’ll layout the boards and check them all again for fit and alignment.
For this tray, we’ll be doing a custom brand (literally) for Seven O Ranches onto the center board of this serving tray. Working from the photo sent, I’ll Photoshop and manipulate the image to turn it into a vector graphic that we can use on the machines.
Using the Cricut machine we’ll size it and cut a stencil of the brand and place it on the wood to be sure we like the size and placement. Sometimes this takes a few goes just to get it exactly right.
Laser engraving the brand
Then, we’re ready to place it on the xTool Laser machine. We’ve already run a pile of tests on old barnwood pieces so we know the exact settings to get the look we’re after.
This is the fun part! We put the board in place, turn on the fan, put on the safety glasses and let ‘er burn!
For this tray, we are placing rope handles on each side. We measure and burn the ropes to the right length. They slip into the drilled holes and are secured through the wood with screws so that they can hold the weight of a heavy tray with a full load of drinks and food.
Finished custom-branded barnwood tray
Now to finish up. Brian puts all the pieces together, using wood glue, biscuits, and clamps. He taps and squeezes them all together very carefully to ensure the joins and corners line up. Once it’s just right, he leaves it to let it all settle and for the glue to dry.
To finish up, he removes the clamps, a bit of sanding to smooth the edges, and applies a varathane to seal the wood. Your custom barnwood tray is ready to go!
Have a look through the WattRanch Shop to add some rustic charm to your farmhouse or ranch home decor.