Simple but Stunning Drink Coasters with Nail Inlay

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design Woodworking Workshop
Simple but Stunning Drink Coasters with Nail Inlay
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Generally speaking, hitting a nail with your saw should be avoided if at all possible. Its the kind of thing that ruins blades and even injures operators. Joe Whittaker from the youtube channel Average Joe’s Joinery took that concept and turned it on it’s head.

After using evolution saws for a while now I have experienced how well they cut through nails in wood. You may have seen some of the demos on youtube. Well after I had cut through about 5/6 nails in the end of scrap wood I noticed just how nice the flush cut nail shanks looked. First thing that popped into my head was, these would make great drinks coasters.

Taking that concept and moving forward with it, Joe began building his coasters.

I wanted to use some nicer wood than the scrap so Glued up some 2″ thick walnut to create a 4″x4″ square. I would have sooner used 1 solid piece but only had 2″ stock on hand. I didn’t want to split the hardwood so I drilled a series of random holes to accept 2 different sized nails. I’m pretty sure the nails would be secure in place on their own but I added some wood glue to the holes just to be sure. I hammered the nails into the holes and let the glue set up for a couple of hours, again a bit over kill but I watched some youtube videos while I waited.

Now that that the blank was ready I just needed cut them into coaster size slices. I decided to use an Evolution table saw and a sled to cut them. Not all saws can cut through nails like these saws so you may want to try some other methods. perhaps use some coloured epoxy resin in place of the nails, you could even add some metallic powder to the resin to give the look of nails too. I first trimmed off the nails flush to the surface, then set up a stop block and proceeded to cut slices off the blank for coasters. I managed to cut 3 before I reached the depth that my drill bit didn’t. I wish it was longer but don’t we all. I will just need to re drill the holes and add more nails to use up the whole block at a later date.

At this point, lets reiterate, you don’t generally want to hit nails with your saw. Joe even explains (above) how you could get a similar effect using resin.

I flattened the coasters on the belt sander and then sanded them to 240 grit by hand. For a finish I tried some Woodoc, Ive never used it before but its a mix of wax and polyurethane. It was taking a lot of time to build up coats so I gave up and added a couple of coats of spray lacquer. This was just to show the finish I was after. The woodoc is water, heat, alcohol and scratch resistant, perfect for coasters, where as the lacquer, not so much. To prevent the coasters from scratching any table tops I used some spray adhesive to glue on some black felt baize to the bottom of them. Cork is too mainstream.

Great job Joe! These coasters will surely be great conversations starters.

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I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. email me at caleb (at) or You can find me on tiktok, talking about my animals at TikTok

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