Protect your dining table and countertops against hot pots and pans with a beautiful, hand-turned trivet. Made from genuine cork, this simple woodturning project is fun to turn and guaranteed to add beauty to your table.
- Select a 10″ diameter blank approximately 1 1/2″ thick. We recommend using a low figured piece of wood as the cork will obscure most of the wood. Mark a 10″ diameter circle on the blank and cut to round.
- Mark the center of the blank. Drill a 7mm hole for mounting on a screw chuck. Mount the blank on your screw chuck. Now you're ready to turn!
- Before you start, set your lathe speed to 700 RPM. True the blank using a bowl gouge. Be especially careful when truing a blank this size. Turn the blank to 8-3/4″ dia. making sure that both sides of the blank along with the edge run true and are not out of round.
- With the lathe stopped, mark the bottom of the blank (the side facing the tailstock center) with the correct recess size to fit the chuck jaws the be used to grip the blank. The diameter of of the recess should be approximately 1/4″ less than the maximum diameter of your scroll chuck jaws in the expanding mode. Use a spindle gouge and turn the jaw recess to the appropriate depth and diameter to fit your chuck jaws. Leave a small amount of material for the revolving center to register against. Once the recess is turned, add a little decorative flair by cutting a couple of fine lines in the recess using the point of a skew chisel laying flat on its side.
- Sand the bottom side of the blank including the recess starting with 120 and working through 320 and steel wool. Apply a food-safe finish. Note: The quality of the surface on the trivet is one of the first things people notice when they pick it up so make sure it is smooth and free of torn grain. Remove the workpiece from the lathe and remove the small stub left by the revolving center using a small chisel. Hand sand and finish as needed.
- Mount the blank on your chuck using the turned recess. Before final jaw tightening, make sure the workpiece runs true. This is done by rotating the piece by hand with the lathe turned off. Lightly tap the workpiece along the outside edge as needed until it runs true. Tighten the chuck jaws and you're ready to go.
- Re-true the face of the blank as needed using a spindle gouge. Mark a 6-7/8″ diameter circle on the face of the blank (the side facing the tailstock). Use a parting tool to make a cut on the line that's 5/16″ deep. Turn away the wood inside the marked area to accept the cork trivet insert. Stop and check for fit frequently to avoid sizing problems.
- Keep the surface of the recess area as flat as possible for an ideal fit. The turned recess should be 1/16″ larger than the cork diameter to allow for wood movement and should fit 1/16″ above the wood surface.
- Once the cork recess is complete, decorate the rim with your choice of beads and coves, or add a dash of color or texture.
- Sand the blank starting with 120 and working through 320 and steel wool.
- Because the trivet will be used in the kitchen, we recommend finishing with a food-safe finish followed by a food-safe wax such as beeswax or lemon oil wax. Finish the outer rim area of the trivet making sure not to get finish in the turned recess as it will prevent a proper bond when the cork is glued in place. Once finishing is complete, remove the trivet from the lathe.
- Glue the cork trivet in the place using a flexible adhesive such as RTV silicone sealer. Let the adhesive dry and you're done!
Now that your cork trivet is complete invite some friends over for a dinner party and put your trivet to use!