A Titanium “Man Tray” (Tell Me What YOU Want…)

Ever heard of a “Man Tray”?

Until last year I had no idea a “Man Tray” was a thing.

Someone bought a “Man Tray” for me.

But, fairly quickly, I discovered it was too small to put my daily carry into it when I come home at the end of the day.

So, after putting it off for a long time – I’m finally going to make a honest-to-goodness, no-holds-barred REAL “Man Tray”!

In fact, I just did a video on this (skip to 01:10 minutes as that where I start the “Man Tray” talk…):

 

If you didn’t watch the above video …then here’s what you need to know:

I’m making a “Man Tray” for holding all your stuff (wallet, phone, keys, etc.) instead of it laying around on your worktop (or bench, or desk, or whatever…).

It’s going to be carbon fiber and, either, titanium or aluminum.

I’m wonder how YOU would use such a thing?

What size would you need it to be?

Do you need separate compartments?

Are there any extra “features” you would like (i.e. a “cable tidy” or “rubber feet”, etc.)?

 

So, yeah, tell me your thoughts by commenting below.

I will likely start making this soon …because, damn it …I need one myself!

 

  • steven says:

    wireless charging for mobiles built in would be good

    • Ken Herring says:

      Walmart offers free pickup for most orders placed online – for many items as soon as today! Tell us where you are and we ll show you which Walmart stores and partner locations near you are available for package pickup. The Rubbermaid Mesh Cutlery tray organizes your utensils and gadgets. It has a durable mesh construction. The mesh finish is on trend with the marketplace. It is durable and easy to clean.

  • Daniel says:

    Hi Magnus
    Who knew I needed such a thing? OK, so ‘rubber feet’? Meh – might spoil the aesthetic? Non-slip base/footings, certainly – maybe a carbon fibre could do that – to Ti ‘dimples as feet? ‘Cable tidy’? Possibly -maybe. Possibly sections would be useful – although flat simple look would be nice. Key (pardon the pun) issue would be that the tray be of a good size: with a rim – probably. Is that much use?. cheers.
    Daniel

  • NW says:

    Never heard this called a man’s tray, usually called a baller box or men’s caddy… Although those tend to have compartments, not just a tray. I would be interested in a caddy… Not so much a tray.

  • Kirill says:

    Hi Magnus.

    Wow, hand assembled titanium pencils made personally by Magnus himself, not a hundred chinese kids!
    With regard to man’s tray, I use leather one. It looks pretty close to this one: https://www.etsy.com/listing/126070399/mens-leather-valet-tray-personalize-this

  • Meik says:

    Hi, didnt hear of such a thing but it sounds great.

    Seperate compartment for mobile, you don’t want to scratch the phone with your keys. And perfect would be a phone dock built in, where you just have to connect your charging cable to your man tray to charge your phone in it (optional maybe).

    I’d out in quite a large wallet, keys (large again) and my mobile (guess the size)…

    That’s it from my side. Good luck!

  • Lawrie Crowley says:

    Great Idea Magnus.

    I’m currently using a lunchbox lid on my desk as a man tray. Something a little more stylish would be very welcome. For design inspiration, think… What kind would a Ninja use?

    Lawrie

  • Win says:

    Hi
    I want it to has a hole, some part or any feature that can hang on the wall. Also close it to a wall…. The size may be around paper size A5.
    Thank you
    P.S. Normally I use decorate tray that has !$&? color for mostly women’s used hahaha

  • Damon says:

    I have one on my bed side, 8″x 12″. My biggest problem is when I unplug my phone the cable falls behind the table, so a way to attach it to the tray would be awesome! I’ve had a few and for me rectangular seems to function better than a square since phone, wallet, knife, torch (flashlight) are also rectangular! Love the idea of CF and Ti.!!

  • Frank says:

    Rubber Feet is a must!

    I usually have my tray right where I enter house, and put my wallet/phone/coins/Watch, sometimes rings and bracelets if i happen to wear some today. for the tray I would say it needs to be at least 20cm x 20cm to be useful, but not too big that it feels like a shelf.

    I have a bunch of small hangers next the to the tray on the wall for all my keys, Car/ Motorcycle/ house/ remotes

  • Wade Brost says:

    Everything about this sounds amazing. Carbon fiber as the base and some heat treated ti as the accent would be great. Think one large foot to cover the bottom that incorporates with the carbon would work well. As for compartments just two I think, one for a phone big enough for a 6plus or a Galaxy note with a place for cable, and one for all the rest of the EDC. Just some thoughts take it or leave it.

  • Luke Olson says:

    I have a cheapo wooden one in my closet and would love a better designed one. Compartments are great. It hold all my pocket knives as well as a space for my watch, wallet, and misc stuff. What it’s missing is a vertical slot for my field notes.

    I think rubber feet or some other nonskid solution is a good idea. I also wonder about a anti scratch lining for watch faces, phone, etc.

  • Jeff Urbach says:

    I use a “man tray” made from Cordura sold by Maxpedition. It’s light and folds for travel. You should check it out if you haven’t already. Speaking for myself, I would have no interest in a “hard” tray.

    For those who do, however, I think having rubber feet to prevent scratching of wood or glass surfaces would be a must.

  • Joe says:

    Hi Magnus,

    I was thinking about compartments and at first i thought it would make the tray look to complicated and “busy”. But then i thought maybe have just have a separate compartment for the phone/tablet and make it so that the phone stands upright when placed in it (like a stand) so that when you go to grab it in the morning, its easier than scooping it up with everything else :p also separating it from the other stuff would prevent the phone from getting scratched.

    I would also say make all the edges on this tray rounded šŸ™‚

  • Michiel says:

    Don’t have one. Do not need one either.

  • Scott says:

    Great concept Magnus!
    Rectangular, definitely more practical size looks good, charger cable holding / securing great point (with capability to secure excess capacity length out of sight?) One challange that I do have issue with with the small tray I currently use, is keeping loose change in one position, easy to pick up without having to pick up the tray & tip it out at one corner!…small compartment / indentation with a sloped side to facilitate easy scoop out, perhaps (without having to pick the tray up)?

  • Herbert Eder says:

    Hi Magnus,
    i would also do it with compartments, at least for the phone, so you can put it in standing (vertically or horicontally, depending on where the plug for charging is located).
    Place a hole so the charging cable comes in where it’s needed to charge the phone while it’s resting there. Possibly make a sort of clamp to fix the charging cable so you can just push the phone down to connect it instead of having to fumble around with the cable.

  • Hi Magnus,

    We, as my wife and me, use al kinds of trays for storing loss lying stuff. I made a few pictures, to show what we use it for. This means these are also different sizes. In the living room we use the biggest one, that contains all stuff we do need in a regular interval, like keys of the cars, wallets, papers, mail to take care off etc etc. This one is pretty big, made out of wood and around 70 cm in diameter.
    On my work room I have one round (out of wood) box on my desk which contains cables, pens and a spare HDD. his one is around 3p cm in diameter.
    These two are used daily, to store all the above mentioned stuff. Phones will be always on the table or in the pockets. These are intensively used during the day, so always close by.
    I have made some pictures so you can have an idea on the sizes and content.
    For me one big, in aluminum colour with a diameter of 70 cm and a hight of 30-35 cm would be perfect for downstairs. On with a diameter of 40-45 cm with a hight of 15 cm would be perfect for my room. Again with all computers and iPads hanging around here aluminum or the color “Space Gray” (looks like titanium) would be perfect.
    Please let me know how to sent the pictures.
    Regards

    Peter

  • Miroslav says:

    No compartments, soft surface (leather, wood), size of about A5 sheet of paper. Honestly I cannot imagine using a titanium one, would feel too clunky (I am sure your design can surprise me). The foldable leather one posted by Kirill is my next one if/when I decide to move from Ikea’s Rissla organizer I use for this purpose today — it would be for portability purposes (travel).

  • Liw says:

    I am currently using this. With buckles so easy for me to bring it for travel.

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/237624831/catch-all-tray-custom-leather-tray?ref=shop_home_active_5

  • Simon Funge (Home) says:

    Hi Magnus
    For me ideally maximum of
    12″ x 6″ x 1.5″
    I would buy one!

  • Rob Antulov says:

    Magnus
    Big fan, great idea – maybe instead of cables, connector, etc, you embed a wireless (inductive) charger – something like this: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Qi-Wireless-Charger-PCBA-Circuit-Board-With-Coil-Charging-Pad-for-DIY-Arduino-DH/281951502787
    That shouldn’t add too much to the cost if you source larger quantities, but will add to your assembly time – circuit board would sit under carbon fibre base, so not visible, therefore aesthetics can be maintained
    Cheers

  • William says:

    Hello,

    I would say some sort of rubber/rubber-type grip on the bottom is a must. I have cats that love knocking stuff on the ground and something like this tray would prove too irresistible for them to knock on the ground. With having things like phones, phablets, spring loaded edc gear, etc., a fall could be fatal to these. So I would make sure there is something that is very grippy underneath. Soft rubber feet or rubber strips running down the side would be great. They don’t have to be tall so the tray could still look flush when on a counter.

    On the cabling, if this is something you’re going to explore, I’d advise keeping in mind where electronics are headed with wireless charging. There are items out there that offer this and I’d think about what’s needed to do this or convert the try for this once more phones go to this. So, sort of “future-proofing” the tray.

    The last thing I’d advise it looking at some other metals to offer this in. Maybe copper or brass? I wouldn’t use aluminum as I personally do not like this metal at all. It’s too soft and starts looking like crap over time. Where other metals start looking better as they wear, I feel aluminium just looks like crap. It chips and scratches very easily and if you’ve ever seen aluminium with scratches all over it, it just looks awful. Something like copper or brass would develop a patina over time and at least in my opinion, look really good as it changes. For those who don’t like the patina, a simple polish would bring it back to its original state. Don’t this tray in a different metal would contrast really nicely with all your other titanium gear sitting in it and make them “pop” while sitting in the tray.

  • Don says:

    Any real “Man” is going to have a wallet, cell phone, pocket knife, keys at a minimum. Good number probably have a small flashlight. I think a rectangle would work best. 8×10 maybe 8×12. I think it should blend into it’s surroundings well when not in use so I definitely any sides or compartments should be low like in your sample in the video. Too many compartments I think would be a mistake like Meik said maybe only one for the mobile. Keep the industrial look like most of your products.

  • Steve says:

    You’re talking about a what is often referred to as a ‘valet tray’ (by those who made beard oil a thing again). If I used one it would need to be about a square metre, so I guess I’m not the prime target. But if I was…Titanium in a gnarly bead blasted finish and a loose liner of thick grey felt (kiwis must have a ton of felt) would rock my boat. Even cooler would be if it folded flat for shipping then hinged or something into its final form.

  • steve says:

    check out the ‘violent little bento’ from violent little machine shop. Good for the Glock owners out there.

  • Zahra Owens says:

    I’m not a man, but I’m not letting this stop me šŸ˜‰
    Something along the edge to keep your cables from falling out would definitely be a plus. One thing that isn’t mentioned in the other comments is sound. It would be interesting if the inside was coated with something to make sure that if you drop your keys into it, you don’t wake the whole house up. The same coating could also prevent cratching your tray, or your mobile phone!

  • Bernd says:

    Hi Magnus,

    Good idea. Anti-slip feet are a must, no separate compartments/cable lines etc., soft lining with leather.

    Titanium not a must, Aluminium plus Carbon Fibre will be just fine as price will be an issue otherwise.

    Hope this helps.

  • Jason says:

    I use one on my bedside table. Definitely compartments – the one I use has 3. A full-width one which I can put my phone, etc. a small one that fits my thin wallet, etc. and one that has a concave bottom to it for coins, etc. – the concave bottom helps things not get stuff in corners when I want to get them out.

    Rubber feet would be great.

    Phone charger? Maybe – the thing is, I look at my phone while it’s plugged in, so I’d not want a cable coming in from the side/base stopping me from lifting it to briefly use with it being ‘attached’ to the ‘man tray’.

  • Josh Dick says:

    I’m currently using a leather tray for this purpose.

    I’d prefer no compartments, and a surface finish that won’t scratch easily from having things like keys thrown onto it.

  • Anael says:

    Nice to see the final stage of the pencil I just received today šŸ™‚

    About the tray, I usually left at the same place a lot of things, car key, home keys, sunglasses case, wallet, two phones, the watch and the daily mail.
    Maybe a compartment for the coins, I hate them and always drop them at the same place from my pocket.

    About the phone charging, I personally will not use it, they are always with me, Iā€™m always using them and I also have a charging place for all my testing devices, tablets, or anything else I need to plug.

    So the size for me would be quite big actually, I do carry always a lot of crap in my pockets so something like 250*300 sounds good. I think some rubber pads are mandatory, as I know me, I will not leave the keys in the tray, but more throwing them into without really taking care of.
    For the materials, I already can picture a carbon + mate titanium from here šŸ™‚
    Have fun!

  • Peter Kerr says:

    I would not worry about a charging cable for phones, phablets or tablets. Because that would mean that people are committed to placing it near a power outlet which might not be convenient. So long as it is large enough for a man size wallet, keys, pens and anything else that men carry in their pockets. What might be handy is a place in a corner for precut writing paper and a titanium pen/pencil so that the wife can leave messages or a shopping list.

  • Alex Hardiman says:

    I love a Man Tray – unfortunately finding space to put it and fighting with other household objects is the main issue. I’m happy without compartments, however a hole through which you could feed a charger would be good. That way your phone can lie flat inside the tray without the up-and-over of the cable. If you do decide on an upright compartment for the phone, ensure the gap underneath is sufficient for any device charger – micro-USB/USB-C tend to have a larger plug than lightning and don’t always fit underneath easily.

    If it were collapsible, even going completely flat to slide into a bag, it would make it multi-purpose.

  • Robert Ferguson says:

    Hi Magnus,
    I have been using a 7″W x 10″L x 2″D plastic coated wire mesh basket with a foam insert for many years. Works for me. I would prefer one made of hard rubber, cork or any other non-scratching material. I would not buy a carbon fiber or titanium one.

  • Bill W says:

    What do you think of Kydex for the tray material? Lots cheaper than carbon fiber & easier to work with. Maybe with an aluminum rim.
    Don’t want to pay $100+ for it.

  • William Schinella says:

    I like the carbon fiber and titanium idea and maybe a little taller sides maybe 1/2 ” , and a way to keep the phone charging wire out of the way so when you pick it up it doesn’t get caught on things and flip them on to the floor. I have a charger that I just stand my phone up in it and it charges that way, so some Kinde of lip inside with with and slot to get the wire in!

  • Will says:

    I like the idea of this tray especially the phone charger bit. Rather than having a cable to charge the phone, why not have a wireless charger so there is no plugging in to be done?

  • Asim says:

    Great idea. I’d use it to put my phones, wallet, keys and receipts in when I come home. Compartment or partition for coins would be great. If the tray was magnetic that would be a neat feature.

  • Raul says:

    I don’t use one. We don’t have that many horizontal surfaces at home. but, if I think about what I carry in my pockets, and what I would like to have at hand, I can imagine a tray the size an A4-sheet, with 1″-high borders. The exterior can be whatever you want (carbon-fiber would be cool). interior must be soft, to avoid scratching or hitting what I dump there, like soft leather.

  • Phil says:

    It needs to have some sort of nonskid/anti scratch on the bottom. 1 divider in the middle

    Around 8-10″ ( whatever that is in mm )

  • Michael says:

    I’d considered a modular system allowing for (or offered separately) a completely open tray and simple dividers that snap onto the lips with different sizes. This would also allow for different combinations of colors designs.

    Separately, I think a tray that couldn(also?) be hung from the wall like a painting would/could be interesting and would allow for more capabilities overall I think.

  • Nijin says:

    I think I know what you want is, it should be a carbon fiber phone shell with knife,placed the key location, and had many tools can use, so creative, biggest problem is how to do the minimum quality.

  • Hiram Wells says:

    I’d find A7 to be just the right size. CF with a Ti frame would look great. Something grippy on the bottom certainly, but nothing that would raise it up much. Thin aggressively textured inserts perhaps. One main section with no dividers. I find tray dividers to just barely not fit much of my gear. I have a wide variety of EDC items that don’t fit a standard profile. Something soft on the interior a must. On the back a narrow section to hold phones upright. Perhaps raise the back a bit to assure the phones are held securely.

  • Guy says:

    A tube or separate box for coins.
    A spring clip for notes etc

  • David says:

    I vote “yes” on the rubber feet. Stuff is always slipping off my marble-topped end table next to the bed or my slick wooden railing behind the couch.

  • Laurence says:

    I’d love one of these, and not sure if it was mentioned but I would definitely want a place to put my engagement/wedding ring at night (I always take it off when I sleep).

  • A.J. says:

    I’ve bought a leather catch all tray a while back. It’s a relatively soft material so my stuff does not get scratches on em, and it can be ‘packed flat’ when needed. The one thing I did not like is the color on the inside: I put a light blue piece of cloth in there, because most of the stuff you put in has a dark color and it’s hard to ‘see’ where everything is. The same principle applies for rucksacks: such a pain to find your gear inside a big uhm..black hole šŸ˜‰

  • Chimera says:

    I have never heard of a “man tray” before. My keys/knife/anything attached to a carabiner hang on a hook on my door; my wallet stays in my main bag, which also hangs on my door; and my phone/lighter/chapstick/portable music player/other knickknacks all have their set places on the shelves by my bed.

    If I were to consider buying such a thing, I think I’d want something wall-mountable so it provided extra storage space instead of just being what amounts to a fenced-off section of desk.

  • Richard says:

    Well, I have bought various cheap men’s accessories in the past just to get the “valet tray” they came in, so this would be useful for me. My cell phone is in an enormous (cheap Chinese made) aluminum case, so I doubt a cell phone section would be a fit for it. Having rubber feet or something non skid would be great, and a few reasonably sized compartments, kept low to maintain the uncluttered look, would be nice.

    Then again, I occasionally carry a Glock for work, so that “violent little bento” that Stephen mentioned looks mighty tempting to me. I might have to get one.

    I think I have enough EDC clutter that a Cogent tray would be useful too, and I wouldn’t want to mix my “no weapons allowed” EDC and my “getting paid to tote the Glock” EDC in one tray. Oh the joys of multiple employers… an excuse to have multiple trays!

  • I have not had time to reply individually to each comment – my apologies to you for this!

    But, I can confirm 100% that I have thoroughly digested your feedback and have been changing my initial concepts to align with the feedback.

    So, yeah, your comments have had an effect. I will try and go back and reply to some (but really struggling for time).

  • Courtland says:

    Since I sometimes put things on my nightstand / shelf / what-have-you that are fairly easily SCRATCHED, like Oakley shades (damn you expensive polarized lenses), I’d prefer if the inside material be, say, something soft like silicone rubber, rather than the actual titanium or carbon fiber material.

    Not stacking my keys ontop of my shades will just have to be my problem.

  • Jerry Welch says:

    6 inches by 9 inches would be big enough for me but bigger than that is OK

  • David says:

    Lots of good comments, just a few thoughts. Some type of non-slip bottom would be nice. Perhaps rather than feet, a thin rubber pad that covers most of the bottom. Might look nicer than feet and would be very stable. Compartments seem like a must. Maybe a slot for the phone to sit either upright or on it’s side. Maybe a larger slot for a tablet (perhaps no ‘ends’ to this slot so if you have a large tablet it just hangs over the edge. Might be nice to have area for electronics to be felt lined to avoid scratches. An area for coins would be good, but that area should have a ramp one one edge rather than all vertical sides to make it easier to scoop out the coins. Some type of cable management would be nice, rubber diaphragm with a slot cut in to to push through a cable but would not easily slip back out? Good questions about future wireless charging, do not have an answer on that.

  • Andrew says:

    Did you ever make this?
    I would like to see one in titanium with a single compartment. I would use it for rolling and smoking accessories.
    Maybe 9 1/2ā€œ x 15ā€ (inches) inner dimensions
    Thanks! Andrew

  • >