How to Make a Wooden Bath Tray
What you'll need
This bath tray project is simple to make and is the perfect gift for someone who loves to lounge in the tub. With built in removable book or iPad stand, candle holders, and a place to hold a glass of your favourite tipple, who wouldn't love this caddy in their bathroom?
You can use any timber you like and it is a great project to use up offcuts of left over planks. Just measure your bath and create a template to mark out your stops underneath to ensure a good fit. We chose a 20mm thick piece, to keep it light in weight.
A great project for practising tricky repeatable drilling at an angle.
To make this project you can watch Jason make his as part of our one plank challenge - featured on Woodworking Wisdom. Watch our video, or follow our step by step guide below.
Prep and cut your timber
The timber for this project will either need to be bought pre-machined or machined flat and square using a surface planer and thicknesser. We machined our timber to 20mm thick and straightened the edge using the surface planer. If the timber is brought in as a flat, machined board then the edge can be easily straightened using a hand plane.
Measure your bath and cut the length of the machined board. Measure from one of the square ends working off the straight edge.
Decide on the width you require, measure and cut. We cut ours to 150mm wide using a bandsaw, working off the straightened edge. Top tip: keeping the guide low helps to keep the cut straight and parallel, and is safer. If you don't have a bandsaw, you could use a hand saw, or even a jigsaw. Clean up the sawn edges with a hand plane and set this aside.
From the remaining timber, cut the book stand to length (200mm), trim the end square, mark off the length and then cut this to size.
Make the book support
To make the bath tray easier to store, the book support can be made removable. This locates on two dowel pins in the base of the upright support.
It is easier to drill the holes whist the timber is still square. We used a pillar drill with a 10mm lip and spur drill bit.
Begin by measuring and marking out your dowel holes. Measure and drawing a central line down the grain on the edge that will be drilled, on the bottom of the book support piece. Then, draw a line across this, set in 40mm from either end. This marks your drills holes.
Ensure the tip of the drill is lined up with the cross over points marked and clamp in place on the drill to add stability. Top tip: We have clamped a pine section onto the board to help keep the work vertical and square to the drill bit.
Drill the holes 75-80mm deep.
Next, set the angle that the book support will tilt back. You can use a sliding bevel to copy this angle to the mitre saw, or mark around the workpiece to cut the angle by hand. Then, off the edge with the drilled holes, mark a line 40mm in, this will be down the grain.
If using a mitre saw, load the workpiece into the bed. The grain will be parallel to the sawblade. Position this so that the left hand side of the blade lines up with the line drawn. Clamp this in place to hold the work when doing the cut. The cut off section is important and will be needed later.
On the workbench, measure the lengths and mark the halfway position of the main board and the book support. Using a square, draw a pencil line down the boards. Then, position the book support on top of the the main board and line up the pencil lines.
Ensure the book support section is positioned 5mm off the back edge (with the holes facing towards the edge) then clamp together, checking that the book support is square to the mainboard.
Set the drill depth using a piece of masking tape to act as a stop. Next, clamp the small off cut piece from earlier in place and drill the two 10mm holes into the rear of the mainboard, with the off cut piece acting as an accurate drill guide block.
Create tealight candle holders
Measure a recess to hold your tealights. We used glass tealight inserts which were 45mm diameter. Mark out the position that these will sit, set in from the back corners.
Make a template from MDF using a 45mm forstner bit. Then, line your template up on the bath tray board and use a router and a bearing guided milling cutter cut a clean bottomed hole to accept the tealight.
Insert the dowel into the holes in the book support. Measure the depth of the hole in the main board using a depth gauge and transfer this length to the dowel and cut to length with a handsaw. Repeat this for the two locations and assemble.
Add the stops to the bath tray
To work out the position for the two side stops that fit onto the underside, use a cardboard template to mark the position of the profile of the bath, when the board is placed on top. Set in 6mm from this, then use a square and a pencil to draw a line to show the position on either side.
Cut three blocks (one will be used to make a drilling block), plane the edges clean with a hand plane and cut to length. This is 20mm shorter than the main board. These blocks will be fixed in place using dowels.
Drill the dowel holes on the pillar drill with the 10mm lip and spur drill. Scribe a central line down the waste block and set up the drill table to line up with the line, adding a stop block on the the fence of the drill table. The holes are set in 20mm from either end, the stop block allows these to be quickly and accurately drilled.
Check the depth and set the drill stop as the holes should not be drilled all the way through on the two holding blocks. Drill all the way through the third block, as this will be used as a template to drill the locations into main board.
Position the block with the holes all the way through onto the marked line on the underside of the main board where your stops will be fixed.
Clamp in place and set up a masking tape stop on the drill as we did earlier (for the book holder), then drill the two holes on either end. With the holes drilled in the main board, insert the dowel into the smaller blocks. Measure the depth of the holes in the main board, mark this length onto the over hanging dowel and cut to length. Then, insert the blocks with dowel pins into place on the main board. These can be glued in place and left to dry
Add the wine glass cut out
Decide on the position of the wine glass holder and ensure it sits inside the bottom stops and therefore sitting over the bath.
Mark out the position of the main stem. Drill a hole bigger than you need. This will allow easy access of the glass. Then mark out the slot to allow the wine glass stem to locate into. Remove this material with a handsaw.
Set up the roundover cutter into the router. Hold the work in place and work around the edge of the board, working into the wine glass cut out.
Sand and finish
Use a sander to sand the main board and the book support. If using an orbital sander, using a soft interface pad will help clean up the radiused edge.
Cut and prepare a small strip of wood to help support the book or iPad. This needs to be about 13mm wide and 7mm thick and the same length as the upright support. Hand plane up the edges to make sure this is flat. To set an equal width off of the upright support, clamp on the drilling guide to the base of the upright. Apply the glue to the strip and position in place and leave to dry.
Apply a finish that will have some water resistance. We used a finishing oil, and built up the coats to make this more water resistant.
And there you have your finished bath tray. Next up, run a bath, find a good book and pour a glass of wine!
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