Japanese Pressed Wood Tray (Small)

Use as desk and stationary organizer or food and drink tray. Crafted with Ayous wood from West Africa, with a pressed and molded plywood construction and exposed edges. Made in Japan since the 1950s. Also available in Large. (more info)

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  • Japanese Pressed Wood Tray (Small) - Kaufmann Mercantile1
  • Japanese Pressed Wood Tray (Small) - Kaufmann Mercantile2
  • Japanese Pressed Wood Tray (Small) - Kaufmann Mercantile3
  • Japanese Pressed Wood Tray (Small) - Kaufmann Mercantile4
Japanese Pressed Wood Tray (Small) - Kaufmann Mercantile

Versatile and useful, this small tray can go from holding pens and pencils to serving up whiskey or tea (it fits roughly three glasses across). The seamless, molded plywood construction - composed of seven layers of laminated wood for strength without extra weight - creates a streamlined design. The lustrous wood veneer is easy to dust off and wipe clean. 

The tray is made from West African Ayous (also called obeche, wawa or samba wood), a material known for its light color and prominent grain ribbons, and popular for fabricating guitars and picture frames.

Use & Care

Keep tray dry and away from moisture. Conditioners and oils are not recommended. Avoid direct sunlight and heat.

Production & Design

Isamu Saito began working with molded plywood while producing fuel tanks for the Japanese army during the World War II metal shortage. Taking this knowledge, he founded his own woodworking business. He fabricated small home accessories out of molded plywood and sold his wares off the back of his bicycle.

To produce the molded plywood products, a raw log is peeled to achieve thin sheets of wood. The sheets are dyed and stacked to create unique patterns and colors, then glued and pressed into a thicker, stacked plywood. The plywood is pressed into a metal mold, which is heated to 212 °F (100 °C) for about 20 minutes, then trimmed.

Isamu Saito’s two grandsons continue to run the business today. Their mainstays are the products that the company started out with in the 1950s – including the wood trays. The Saito family uses light molded plywood to create
fluid and unique curves, which wouldn't be possible with solid wood.  


12 inches long x 4 ¾ inches wide
(30 cm x 12 cm)

Ayous wood

Made in
  • USA
  • Free shipping in the USA for orders $150+
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  • 90 days on all unused items.
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  • NY & NC.
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