Updated: Oct 30, 2018
Drinks coasters are often items in our homes that we don't give much thought to. Why would we? Well... They're always on show and they're one of the few items guests interact with directly. So that got me thinking of simple yet elegant designs for coasters (Yes I know how exciting my thoughts are) and the idea of incorporating nails as an inlay was one I settled on making a reality.
Black Felt Baize
Evolution Table Saw (this saw can cut wood with nails which was the inspiration for the project)
I wanted to use walnut so I glued up a 4"x4" block ready for the project. Any hardwood would work great for this though. Even plywood would look great with the exposed edges. I wouldn't recommend using a softwood as I think it would be too brittle.
I used 2 different sized nails, 5.5mm & 3.75mm. I drew on a random pattern of dots for a rough guide for me to drill. I used a 5.5mm drill bit for the larger nails and a 3.5mm drill bit for the smaller ones. I vacuumed out the dust before adding some wood glue to the holes just to help hold the nails in place. I didn't want them working lose over time.
Then it was just a case of hammering the nails in. My drill bits wasn't very long so quite a lot of the nails were left exposed. I will have to order some longer drill bits for next time. I didn't hammer the nails in any further because they would split the wood if I did.
I used an Evolution Table Saw to cut the blank into coasters. The Evolution saws are designed to be able to cut metal and wood but especially wood with nails in.
There are other options you could try though. You could use a hacksaw to cut the nails or you could use some epoxy to fill the holes you drill instead of adding the nails. You an get metal pigments too so it would still look metallic. You could really let your imagination run wild with different options. The simpler the better!
I added a stop block after trimming the nails flush. I cut the coaster 8mm thick and then sanded them smooth on the belt sander.
To finish the coasters and protect the wood I used Woodoc. I've never used it before this project so I don't really know how it will hold up. Its a mix of wax and polyurethane. It says to add at least 3 coats but it kept soaking into the end grain leaving a dull finish. I think given enough time and extra coats it would work well. Its water, alcohol, heat and scratch resistant. perfect for coasters. For the video I added some gloss spray lacquer to show the look I was going for. I don't think lacquer will hold up very good though.
Instead of the traditional cork bottom to the coasters I added black felt baize. I sprayed some spray adhesive onto the felt and then stuck it to the underside of the coasters. After 10 mins I cut off the excess flush to the coasters edge with a pair of scissors.