Working with cash and making change, especially for people who don't work with cast daily, it can be a stressful time ... making sure you give the correct change and not keeping people waiting. One of the things that can be be done is just making your cash more accessible and easier to see and count, just the same way retail clerks give change from their cash registers ... with a cash tray.
These are easy to make, but they do take a bit of time because there are a number of components, and you don't want to make they too big. The best way to start off is to determine how many slots for cash bills you want, and what the size of your money is. The size of your money and how many bays you want will determine the size of your tray and keeping in mind you may also want some change bins in case you are dealing with coinage.
I mad mine 2-3/4 inches high and that was plenty, I think 2 inches would be a better height if I ever had to do it again. I decided on 4 bays for paper money which also meant 4 bins for coins as these were used for the spacing with of the box.
I started off my gluing a block together that was slighly thicker than my paper money and about 6 inches square and made sure the whole block was square and even on all sides. I then took the square to my bandsaw and cut a big circle out of the center which I can later use to turn a bowl from on my lathe, and in this case I am using the off cuts for the cash tray and now they are the perfect width at 3 inches.
Next I needed to cut the sides of the box, I worked out this measurement by knowing how long my cash money was, which was 6 inches, I also added extra lenght to account for the coin bins and what would be a divider between them and of course the front and back sides of the box. In my case the lenght of the box would be approximately 13 inches. Once I had the sides, I could now use these to figure out how wide the box needed to be. I could also now figure out where the dados would need to be cut for the opposite side of the box where the dividers strips would go in. I marked the dado slots then installed a plywood blade in my table saw that would be suitable for cutting the dados with one pass.
I cut the dados and the rabbetts in order to give the sides of the tray a better fit and more surface for glue to adhere to. During the glue up I used 2 part, 5 minute epoxy glue as part of the sides are end grain wood which does not glue well with conventional carpenters glues.
After about 10 mintues when the expoxy glue hand hardened the sides, I rabbetted out the area that would be the bottom of the tray and insert some 1/8 inch plywood after a bit of fitting, and glued it in with carpenters glues this time, as we are now gluing ling grain to to long grain.
The tray is now near completion. All Ineed to do now is to epoxy the spacer pieces in the dados I cut on the table saw and at the same time, expory the coin slides and the dividers between the bills and the coins, also with epoxy. After this is done and wait 5 minutes of so, the whole tray is hard and solid and ready for some final sanding and a coat of paint.
In my case I painted the tray black to try and help make it less outstanding, black works great for things like this. i also made a conscious decision to NOT put a lid on this box. I wanted it to seem like it volunerable to theft ... and it is. These trays need to kept well away from the public and always with a minium amount of money in them. They are for making change, not storing money, there are far more secure places for storing your money. The whole point of these trays is to make it easy to make change for customers and not for keeping large amounts so always be on alert if you using one of these cash trays regardless if you made it or just found one to purchase in someone else's sales ...
Copyright - Colin Knecht