If you go to a nice restaurant, there’s a good chance that they have some sort of unique serving dishes or other decorations in use. Some of these have certainly been sourced as off-the-shelf items but sometimes, like in the case of Frank Howarth’s custom sake trays, they are made-to-order.
Frank started out with the idea that his customer wanted something rough, showing a lot of wood texture. He gave them this, a chunk of walnut, to begin with, but it was too rustic for their tastes. As he puts it, after this try it was, “back to the big bandsaw.” They also needed a way to pick it up, which he tried to accomplish with a single piece of wood on his second attempt. This wasn’t quite perfect either, so he finally cut two separate pieces, drilled holes to contain three glasses of sake, and glued them together.
This design turned out very well, especially after a coat of polyurethane. The client was happy with the prototype, so he got to work on the 40 trays that they would need for restaurant use. The process is outlined in the video below, including the first and second tries that were not accepted. The video below of the process is quite good, and I especially enjoyed the time-lapse sequence that begins around 3:40.