Rustic Entertainment Tray


WINNER 2014 Arbortech woodworking competition
Created by Barry Fitzpatrick, Arbortech Production Manager



Novice woodworker? No 


Description of your wood art?
A portable food and drinks tray.


Where did you get your inspiration for your wood art piece?
This was an original piece that is something practical to use to transport wine, glasses and finger foods from one area to another safely and securely. To my knowledge, I have seen nothing else like it.


What type of wood did you use?
Marine plywood and timber dowels.


What Arbortech tool/s did you use to create this piece?


What was your process in the creation of this project?
1. Draw a card template for the top tier.
2. Cut two identical sheets of marine plywood to desired size.
3. Transfer the shape and hole centres through the template onto the top tier.
4. Transfer the hole centres through to the bottom sheet of plywood.
5. Drill the 6 holes for the wine glass stems, and cut the top tier to a shorter length for access for the food items on each end.
6. Bore the pillar holes 50% of the thickness of the plywood sheet using the transferred spotted through hole centres from the template with brace and bit.
7. Cut slots with tenor saw to meet up with the wine stem holes and drill and cut centre wine bottle hole roughly smooth with drill bit and rasp file to round.
8. Cut pillars to selected height and end handles from the same 20mm dia dowel rod.
9. Clamp top and bottom tiers to a flat surface and using Arbortech TURBO Plane, shape and wave bevels around the edges, while clamped shape recesses to join wine glass stem holes along two sides.
10. While clamped using the TURBO Plane, plane the top surfaces of both tiers to achieve the desired pattern to achieve the rustic look and cut top tier end bevelled semi-circles.
11. With an Arbortech 50mm Woodcarver Blade shape the utensil, wine bottle base and tile receptacles to prevent movement of items when put onto the tray.
12. With a Woodcarver, cut a slot along the handles to the thickness of the bottom tier.
13. With the Arbortech Power Chisel, form 6 x round recesses at the holes that will accept the and locate the wine glasses securely
14. With the Arbortech Contour Sander, sand all surfaces starting with 80# and working up to 600# sanding discs for a smooth glass finish.
15. Glue the pillars into position into the 50% blind holes, hold in position with the aid of inserting an empty wine bottle for centring the top tier in line with the bottom.
16. Glue the slotted handles onto the base tier each end.
17. After adhesion complete any further last sanding to perfect, clean off any excess glue.
18. Oil with a rag using olive oil.


How long did it take for you to complete this project?
It is difficult to give an exact time as I did not start and finish at one time. I estimate it took me about 8 hours.


How did you feel about being the winning piece for this year’s staff woodworking project?
I was obviously delighted in winning with the knowledge that people liked my idea and piece enough to vote for it, but I was also surprised as there was a lot of other deserving pieces in this staff competition. 


Where does this piece reside now?
My piece is currently residing in my meals area waiting for the weather to change for some BBQ’s where I intend to put it to some good use.
Since all my family members have seen the tray they all want one! The trouble is I have no time to make them. It has also crossed my mind to set up and make them on a commercial basis. If I make more, it would be with two bottles of wine instead of one to coincide with the number of glasses.


Sergei’s work of wood chip sculptures continue. If you didn’t see the first blog post of this series, we suggested using left over wood chips and shavings from your use of Arbortech tools to start projects such as these. Not only is this a great way to recycle wood chips but it looks like a good challenge for those looking to make something different. If you are looking to try something like this for the first time we recommend you start small and aim for a rustic appearance. These particularly intricate and extremely precise sculptures take over 6 months to complete, so if you want to simply test the waters remember – start small. Good luck!


We welcome your comments below.

In our previous blog post we featured the Arbortech staff woodworking competition winners.
If you missed our previous blog post on the competition winners you can check it out here.
We had some great submissions from our staff and we’d like to share these projects with you to showcase their fantastic work. Check out the woodworking projects below.


Plywood Cluster Table
 This table will be one of six, creating a cluster table.
Created by: Kevin Inkster (CEO)
Wood used: Plywood Cluster Table

Arbortech tools used:

Kevin at work on his cluster table


Myrtle Turtle 

Created by: Kristine Inkster (Executive Director)

Wood used: Queensland Myrtle wood
Arbortech tools used:

Kristine carving the details on the turtle


Celtic Door
Created by: Matthew Cormack (R&D)

Wood used: Pine wood

Arbortech tools used:














Celtic Door was milled to size and doweled


Perth Skyline
Created by: Nora Redzwan (Sales)

Wood used: Camphor wood

Arbortech tools used:



Representation of Perth Skyline
My Grand Daughter’s Clock
Created by: Peter Tashjian (Production)
A photo calendar with monthly and yearly photos were inserted into round pockets into their appropriate location. A clock was mounted, chiselled letters and the face of Peter’s grand-daughter were inscribed.

Arbortech tools used:














Peter’s clock for his grand-daughter



Created by: Steve Marsh (Finance Dept)

Wood used: Pine wood

Arbortech tools used:



“Stretch” giraffe


The Golden Dragon

Created by: Barry Fitzpatrick (Production)

Wood used: Jarrah

Arbortech tools used:

Using the Power Chisel to carve out the dragon


Stool With Sad Face
Created by: Rocky Xu (R&D)
Wood used: Pine wood

Arbortech tools used:


Carving from the wood using the Mini TURBO


Pagan Cross

Created by: Bill Ginn (Manufacturing Team)
Wood used: Curly Jarrah

Arbortech tools used:



Using the Power Chisel to carve out the cross



Live, Love, Laugh
Created by: Christine Taylor (Secretary)

Wood used: Sheoak

Arbortech tools used:



Christine’s piece and message was inspired by Vicky Galbraith’s attitude to life

Created by: Peter Godden (Arbortech shareholder)Turbo Fossil

This was Peter’s first time using the TURBO Plane and he said that “the TURBO Plane allowed me to express my creative desires in a way that gave me the freedom to explore different techniques, textures and shapes which were previously difficult to achieve. Whilst the convex of this piece invokes the observer to experience texture, shadow, form in contrast, the concave face offers the subtle qualities of colour and grain patterns. So it is with this sculpture I have looked at opposing surfaces, allowing a deeper appreciation of my creative process, the wonders of natural wood and the great tools to carve it with.

Wood used: Sheoak

Arbortech tools used:



Peter’s first experience using the TURBO Plane and he loved it
REMINDER: We hope you have enjoyed viewing our staff competition woodworking projects and stirred some inspiration in you to use Arbortech tools to create some amazing woodworking projects and sculptures.
What are your thoughts on our staff’s woodworking projects? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below in the comments section.


The public Woodworking Competition has been extended and closes on Monday 22nd July 2013 by 4.00pm WST.
We are still accepting entries so please send through your entries by clicking here.
Enter your woodworking project today for a chance to win a fantastic Arbortech tools pack up to the value of $1,000 AUD!
For all competition details and entry forms please click here.
Best of luck!!

As you may have read from our previous blog post, Arbortech celebrated 25 years in business this year on June 30th by hosting a anniversary party which one of the event’s highlights was the staff woodworking competition.


Last year we ran an Arbortech staff woodworking competition for the first time and the woodworking projects that were submitted showed us that our staff are quite the wood artists!  Click hereto see last year’s woodworking project submissions by our staff.


This year’s woodworking project entries were just as fantastic and it’s great to see the woodworking skills of our staff have improved and they have gone on to create more fabulous woodworking pieces.


The winning woodworking project were awarded prizes in the categories of;

  • People’s Choice
  • Most Practical
  • Best Project Plan
  • Best Novice


Drumroll please….here are the winning staff woodworking projects for 2013.


Winner “People’s Choice” 

This piece represented the project that received the most votes at the show. This is a chip and dip bowl which Junior spontaneously thought up when the woodworking competition was announced.


The “One”

Created by: Junior Linke (Manufacturing Team)

Wood used: Olive wood

Arbortech tools used:



Junior hard at work on his project


Winner “Most Practical” 

For the second year in a row, Bela has reclaimed the title for the “Most Practical” project. The “Souper Ladle” is now a permanent kitchen utensil in Bela’s household.


“Souper Ladle”

Created by: Bela Inkster (Graphic Designer)

Wood used: Olive wood and Jarrah

Arbortech tools used:



Winner “Best Project Plan”

For the second year in a row, Sven has won a prize in the woodworking competition. Last year he won the “Best In Show” title for his “Contemplation Bench” and this year still a winner, won the “Best Project Plan” category for his well documented project plan of his Sculpted Coffee Table.


“Sculpted Coffee Table”

Created by: Sven Blicks (General Manager)

Wood used: Jarrah board and Karri, sourced from a salvage yard

Arbortech tools used:



“Sculpted Coffee Table” with removable top


Weekend project – Sven working on his woodworking project



Sculpted coffee table work in progress
Winner “Best Novice”

This is Ismail’s first woodworking project and everyone was impressed with what was produced from a novice woodworker.



Created by: Ismail Amat (Manufacturing Team)

Wood used: Pine wood

Arbortech tools used:

Power Chisel



“Fish” leaf like motif carving
Congratulations to Junior, Bela, Sven and Ismail on your woodworking project win!


What are your thoughts on the winning projects?


We’d love to hear your comments and thoughts! Please leave your commentary below in the comments section.


Carving a Stylish Wooden Side Table with the Arbortech TURBO Plane
Grab a bunch of dried branches about  30mm – 50mm in diameter, enough to make up the perimeter of your table when layed side by side.  Cut them to desired length (at the height of the table) plus approximately 10 mm to allow for planing the surface level .  You can use any type of saw to cut these to length including a handsaw, bench or radial arm saw.

Now cut 2 plywood sheets to size 300mm x 300mm and cut approximately 6cm off the corners so that you can place the largest branches on the corners.  Mark out a large circle on the bottom piece and cut out.  Leave the top piece intact with corners cut as small rounds will be glued directly on top of this piece.

Make a small jig to hold branches for cutting slots by using a small piece of milled wood and screw or nail small pieces of V shaped board at each end.  This will then give a stable base to cradle each branch and cut a slot.

Place each branch onto the jig and mark where you want to make the slot cut on top.  Then turn the branch over and set your saw to the required depth by running your branch in the jig against the blade of the saw before turning it on.  Make sure your first cut is 20mm from the end of the branch and use an off cut to determine the width of cut.
It is best to cut the largest branches for each corner first and then glue to the top and bottom pieces of plywood.  Clamp diagonally to hold square shape while glue dries.

Now select and place the rest of the branches around the edges so that they nestle into each other. Then cut a slot for the top fit and place again to see if any excess wood needs to be shaved to make a close fit.  With the top slot fitted to the top plywood, mark and cut the bottom slot. Use the turbo plane to shave and trim any excess wood from each piece before gluing.  It is best at this stage to number each piece on the top.
Once you have cut and shaved each piece to shape and are happy with the final shape you can glue each piece into place at both slots to the plywood.  While the sides are drying you can cut some small pieces of approximately 20mm thick and start gluing them onto the top of the table including some very small rounds as well as large ones trying to fill in all of the gaps.
When your glue is dry you can start to plane the sides using the TURBO Plane so that you get a nice flat finish.  Start by marking out a line in pencil on the top of your table showing where the plywood panel below as this will give you a guide where to plane.  You can plane the sides up to 20mm from that line. Mix up either epoxy with wood chips or wood glue with wood chips and spread over the top of the table forcing the mixture down between the gaps to overflowing if necessary.  Once this is dry you can use the TURBO Plane to finish the top before sanding.

Sand any sharp edges of the sides with the Contour Random Sander and finish off sanding the sides and the top of your table either by hand or using a random sander.

Now you can finish with either oil or varnish whichever finish you prefer and enjoy using your table.



What do you think of this wooden side table? If you’ve made your version of this table, do send us a photo your table! 

Want to watch the video of this project? This project video is comprises of a 2 part video series. 
Watch the YouTube videos now; Part 1 here and Part 2 here.