The final step in these free woodworking plans begins with sanding. Use a random orbital sander and sand all pieces completely. Use progressively finer grits of sandpaper and complete the sanding by hand sanding for a perfect final touch. Be certain that there are no remaining marks from the band saw, jigsaw or router.
To assemble the four outer pieces of the tray, place a small amount of glue on the dovetail joints and slide the joints together. Wipe off any excess glue that squeezes out of the joints, and clamp the unit together while it dries. Cross-measure (as shown in the picture) diagonally across opposite corners and make sure the two dimensions are equal, which will ensure that the unit is square.
After waiting 24 hours for the glue to dry, remove the assembly from the clamps and complete any final sanding. Wipe the entire unit with a clean cloth and some denatured alcohol to ensure that all sawdust has been removed.
Two 12" pieces remain to be attached to the assembly. These two pieces should be attached, one to each end (under the handles) with two countersunk wood screws. Place the pieces exactly 3/4" down from the top of the sides and screw them into place. The slat assembly will sit on these two pieces, so by placing them exactly 3/4" under the top of the tray, you ensure that the top of the slats match the top of the tray assembly precisely.
To finish this woodworking project, use a clean cloth and wipe down all surfaces liberally with either mineral oil or salad bowl oil. Allow the unit to sit and let the oil soak in, and then oil it again tomorrow. As mentioned in step one, oil the board daily for the first week, then weekly for the first month, and once monthly for the remaining life of the tray.
Once the first week of oiling is completed, you can insert the slat assembly into the tray and put it to use!