A Tea Box for Christmas


As some of you may remember, last year around this time, I was going through a lot. My dad had passed away in September, and my mom followed him 3 days after Thanksgiving. Despite this, I somehow managed to turn my nascent woodworking skills into 3 different gifts. A simple cherry wine balancer for my sister, who handled all the funeral arrangements for both of our parents, came from Tom’s Workbench. For my son, who at that time was going into his last semester at Northeastern and actually starting a co-op at an accounting firm in Boston, I actually got my most creative and made a real, wearable bow tie made of cherry.

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But the subject of this post is the gift I made for my daughter, a Tea Box. She has gotten to be a big fan of hot tea and I figured this would be a good way to give her something useful to her that I actually made. I’m sharing more details on this one because it was simple enough to make and can be sized up or down depending on your needs. I went to my local Woodcraft to get the stock, since I had neither the time nor the tools to even try any resawing. I picked out some 1/4″ x 3″ walnut for the sides and bottom, and some 1/4″ cherry for the top. To get the dimensions, I simply grabbed a couple of teabags, placed them next to each other and measured. I can’t swear to the final numbers, but I believe that it’s about 6″x3″x3″, not including the top and bottom. Since the piece of walnut I picked up was long enough, I measured out the miter cuts so that I could glue it back up with continuous grain going around all four sides. The cuts were made with a 15-year old Delta miter saw that needed a lot of adjusting to get the perfect 45 degrees out of it.

TeaBox 1 TeaBox 2TeaBox 3

Once the cuts were made, I laid out the 4 pieces on top of a long strip of blue painters tape, applied glue to one part of each corner, and used the tape to line everything up and hold it together as the glue dried. This method worked better than I expected (things like this have a habit of not working too well for me) and the box was perfectly square after the glue dried. All it need was a little sanding to ease the corners and get rid of the glue squeeze out.

For both the top and bottom, I had to glue 2 pieces of the walnut (bottom) and cherry (top) together in order to make them wider than the box is deep. I then cut them slightly larger on all 4 sides than the box in order to incorporate bevels. and of course the top only has bevels on 3 sides to accommodate the hinges, which I also picked up from Woodcraft (Brusso, not sure of the size though).

TeaBox4 TeaBox5

The finish was a couple coats of BLO followed up with 3 coats of Arm-R-Seal. When she opened it on Christmas the look on her face was priceless and I know she’ll keep it around for a long time.
TeaBox 10 TeaBox 11 TeaBox 12

Posted in Projects
2 comments on “A Tea Box for Christmas
  1. That bowtie is amazing!!! I love it. You do some great work, I’ll bet the recipients of those gifts loved them.

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