MarshalN wrote:I'd strongly advise against buying a bamboo only tray -- they tend to crack after a year (or even less) of use, and are sooner or later irredeemable and need a replacement.
Though some are much better than others. I used to wonder why some stores sold $50 or even $200 bamboo tea trays that didn't look much different from the $20 ones. But some (though not all) of the really expensive ones really are better made. I have one of the Lin's ones (from when Hou De was still selling them) at work, and it's a champ. Almost daily use for several years now. (knock on wood).
Also, if you don't use the bamboo trays for more than a few days, you should put in some cold water first when you start using it again, so the hot water doesn't shock it too much.
At home, I don't use a tray at all - just a cloth mat and a collection of dishes / bowls / trays for waste water, holding the teapot, etc.