It can be quite aggravating to see the finish on the furniture around your house get damaged by those ugly rings made by cold or hot beverages. The solution of course, is to use coasters. You can buy a wide variety of coasters from stores all over the planet, but it’s much more fun and satisfying to make your own, especially from real wood that will match or accentuate your furniture. What follows is an overview of how I made a big batch of coasters from red cedar, which will hopefully give you some ideas for making some yourself, whether from cedar, or any other kind of wood.
Step #1 – Cut Coasters
You’ll want to use wood that’s good and dry for this project so your coasters won’t crack. I’m using some small sections of cedar trees that have been drying out for over two years now, but you can certainly dry out wood much faster than that. I did a video on that topic some time ago which you can watch here. After your wood is good and dry, or if you get some that’s already dried, the first step is to cut it into even sections. You can use any kind of handheld or powered saw for this step, but a bandsaw works especially well. If using a bandsaw, it’s also important to use a gate or a guide of some kind so you get nice even slices of wood. Again, if you don’t have a bandsaw, you can use a handsaw, a sawzall, or even a chainsaw, but it’ll be a little more difficult to get those nice, even slices of wood for your coasters.
Step #2 – Leveling and Sanding
The next step is to get your coasters flat and sanded down. To do so, you can simply sand your wood slices on a flat surface – front and back – working your way down from coarse to fine grit paper. I like to start with 60 grit, go down to 100, and finish on 220. If your wood slices are really uneven, you can use a power sander of one kind or another to quickly flatten down the high spots first, and then go to the sandpaper. You’ll also want to sand the edges of your coasters, which you can do either by hand or with something like a rotary or belt sander as I’m doing here.
Step #3 – Finishing
After your coasters are level and smooth, you can stain them if you’d like, and then seal them with a final finish. There are many options for finishing your coasters, such as doing a natural oil finish, an epoxy resin finish, or a simple polyurethane finish. Whatever you choose, just be sure to get a nice even coat on both the front and back of the coasters. I’m using Danish Oil for this project which gave the coasters a beautiful natural-looking finish that’s both waterproof (or at least very water-resistant) as well as durable.
As a final step, you’ll want to put some soft material on the underside of your coasters to keep them from sliding around and also to keep them from scratching the surface of your furniture. You can use either felt or cork material with an adhesive backing which makes it easy to cut out and stick right onto your coasters. And there you have it my friends, that’s an overview of how you can make some cool-looking wood coasters for your favorite beverages while protecting your furniture. Check out the video below to see more…