Catherine Larson

DIY beer flights

Posted by on Apr 07 2013, in DIY

Step 1: Get wood that is roughly 4 inches wide and 3/4 of an inch thick with relatively little warp.

Step 2: Create a jig. This is especially important if you plan on making multiple beer flights. This just means a pattern, usually with a cheap wood. Unfortunately my cheap wood wasn’t the same width as my finished wood, so I’ve had to do a little math to ensure that the circles where the glasses fit were properly centered. For me, that meant allowing for 2/16th space – or the thickness of a puffy emory board – between my jig and the edge of the hard wood. I created my jig using plywood. I drew a handle on the plywood and cut it out using a scroll saw. I only cut the handle on one side so that I could flip the jig over so that both sides of the handle match.

Requirements: scroll saw (or some other type of saw that allows for curves)

Step 3: Create the holes in your jig using a hole saw. It helps to know the diameter of the glasses you are going to use with the beer flight. The glasses I used were about 2 inches. I thought that would mean a 2.25″ hole saw would do the trick. It does not. Go even larger. I ended up using a 2.75″ hole saw. The reason is that you must take into account the space the bushings would use up when used with the router. What’s a bushing? Then line up 4 circles, evenly spaced and start drilling with that hole saw.

Requirements: 2.75″ hole saw used with a hand drill (or drill press if you happen to have one of those lying around)


Beer flight and template

Step 4: Lay your jig/template on top of the wood you are going to use for the beer flight. Trace the pattern on to your wood using a contrasting color so you can see it. (If your wood is dark, use a bright piece of chalk or bright color pencil for more exact lines. If your wood is light, use a regular pencil.)

 Step 5: I should have suggested that before you picked the wood for your template that you made sure that your router’s bushing would work with the thickness of the jig. A bushing allows you to move a router around following the pattern/jig that you created. If your jig is too thick, then the bushing and the router bit won’t be able to reach your actual piece of wood. I discovered this the hard way and maybe you will too. Don’t let this discourage you. Your router bit will depend on the type of router you have but you’ll probably need some sort of bowl/tray router bit or straight bit.

Requirements: router, bushings, straight or bowl bit for router

Please note: Be sure you know how to use a router. They are serious tools. Get trained. Also – keep a handvac handy – they output a lot of wood shavings and sawdust. Wear eye protection and hearing protection.

Step 6: Set your router to your desired depth. Following the jig, make many slow and steady passes until you reach the desired depth.

Step 7: Start sanding. I used an orbital sander, as well as just a block with some adhesive sandpaper attached to it to polish this beer flight down.

Requirements: orbital sander and sandpaper or a block of wood with sandpaper wrapped around the block.

Step 8: Varnish. If you plan on eating directly off of the paddle – say by flipping it over and using as a fancy cheese plate, then be sure you use a food safe varnish.