Waffle Trivets – Last Minute Elf 2013


I was thinking about what sort of Christmas gifts I might make this year, especially since I did not get time to do any last year. Then, when Tom over at Tom’s Workbench introduced The Last Minute Elf, I  thought it was a great way to generate some ideas for folks on what they could build.

I had some walnut left over from the puja table I did last year, enough to make about five 7″ square pieces to make into trivets.


Now, to make the numbers easy, I installed my fairly new dado stack (yes I finally got one, instead of doing dados as multiple passes with a standard blade) set to 1/2″ thickness. I then set the height to just a hair over half the thickness of the piece (so for a 3/4″ piece, I set the height to just a hair over 3/8″).

I then found the middle of the piece, 3 1/2″, and cut one dado so that the middle of the dado was the middle of the piece. Then I flipped the piece over, turned it 90 degrees and made the next cut, so what you have is a dado on each side that are perpendicular to each other.

Next, I moved the fence out 1″ (twice the distance of the dado thickness), and made a parallel cut on the same face I just cut, turned the piece 180 degrees, without flipping it over, to make another parallel cut. So  this  then makes 3 parallel dados on one face. Flip the piece over and make parallel cuts on the other face to the initial one made, so that face then has three dado cuts. Move the fence out one more inch, rinse and repeat, so that you have five parallel cuts  on each face that are perpendicular to their opposing face.


It’s actually more to describe in words than it is to actually do. I left the edges with a more substantial border since giving it another groove would look odd, and put it too near the edge, or at the edge.

Next steps will be to break all the edges and do a normal sanding routine. Also, from what I’ve read, it’s something you can elect to not do a finish on, since hot items off the stove could react and damage finish anyway. (I haven’t personally tried this, but might be a good experiment.)

These only took  a short time to make, so perhaps give them a shot if you are looking for a quick project idea to give out as gifts!

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