Originally, a trivet was a three-footed or three-legged stand or support, especially one of iron placed over a fire to support cooking vessels or the like (1). In more modern usage, a trivet refers to a small plate, made from some heat proof material, that can be put under a hot platter or dish to protect a table top.
This project uses a ceramic tile (which can be simply a surplus tile left over from either a wall, floor or similar tile) as the heat proof material, which is mounted in a wooden frame. The wooden frame supports the tile and provides an insulated surface that can be readily handled. The wooden frame can be augmented with various embellishments to add aesthetic appeal if desired (which can make the trivet a ready gift item).
I had a number of surplus tiles left over from a bathroom tiling job. These tiles were 200mm x 150mm x 4mm.
Any suitable material can be used to form the timber frame. The frame is required to mount and hold the ceramic tile. The frame holds the tile away from the surface on which the trivet will be placed. Finally, the timber frame forms an insulated surface which can be readily handled after a hot pot/container has been removed from the trivet.
I had a number of pieces of 50mm wide and 20mm depth pine surplus from another project, and this was utilised for the trivet frame.
On one side of the 50mm x 20mm pine 'strip' a 40mm wide by 4mm deep 'rebate' was cut using successive passes with a router. This 'rebate' would later form into an 'interior' cavity that would hold the ceramic tile (see Plan 1).
As per Plan 1, the required pieces of the frame were cut, using a mitre box and saw, cutting 45o across the width of the prepared pine piece. Straight perpendicular cuts could be done instead of the 45o, however, the angled joins were judged to be more aesthetically pleasing.
The four (4) side pieces of the frame were then glued, using framing clamps to ensure the frame would end-up being 'in square' when completed. While waiting for the glue joints to dry, the work piece was laid flat on the work-bench to ensure that no 'twist' would develop.
Completing the Trivet
Using a round-over router bit, round of the edges of the frame.
With successively finer grit sand-paper the work-piece was sanded, and then 'painted' with a clear gloss varnish (three coats), or stained and coated with a similar product of choice.
Note, it is relatively important to ensure that the ceramic tile is a 'snug' fit within the 'interior' cavity of the frame. This will ensure that the tile remains in place while the trivet is being used. I did not design the frame to permanently 'enclose' the ceramic tile, as this allows the tile to be removed for cleaning, and or replaced if damaged.
The gap at the center of trivet frame resulted simply from the fact that 50mm wide scrap piece of pine was being used, compared to the 200mm x 150mm dimensions of the ceramic tile. However, this gives the benefit of having an 'air-gap' underneath the ceramic tile which potentially helps in cooling the tile when in use, and also, allows the tile to be more easily removed if desired.