Tea Box from Reclaimed Walnut

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Project by PhilosopherSteve posted 02-15-2015 05:33 PM 2694 views 13 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are a couple of tea boxes i recently finished. Before Christmas a friend asked if I wanted a stack of walnut bead board he had pulled out of a house that he couldn’t keep since he was moving. I hemmed and hawed, but I’m glad I took it. I have to plane and cut it down and it’s fairly narrow stock (about 4 1/2” useable) but that’s great for small boxes.

I made 4 of these boxes, one of which was going to my wife and the other 3 were slated for my Etsy shop. One of these 3 made it to the shop as friends grabbed up the other 2.

These are finished with Danish Oil, wiping poly and wax. The splines and dividers are maple (not reclaimed).

This turned out to be a good opportunity to try out some new things (and some great tips from BoxGuy Al). I pre-sandier and finished the insides prior to glue up. I also built a spline jig.

Hinges became my big frustration. I tried a mortised butt hinge first, but those are rather difficult to align well and I used a cheaper hinge and didn’t like the fit/movements. Then I ordered some nice looking surface hinges but they were far too weak. Then I found the more stout surface hinges that work well but have no built in stop. Then I added a chain to one box but didn’t like how it layed on the dividers/tea bag. So, I opted to go without a support. Hinges are definitely an area I want to work on for future boxes.

Things to do better – get a new flat top blade for cutting the spline grooves (I had some tiny gaps). Work on better hinges. I already have the drawings for the next set of boxes in progress!

6 comments so far

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 4601 days

#1 posted 02-15-2015 06:09 PM

Nice work. A lot of things to discover in box making! Good save on the wood too.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View JFred's profile


230 posts in 3041 days

#2 posted 02-16-2015 12:46 AM

Love the contrast between the walnut and maple wood.

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 3320 days

#3 posted 02-16-2015 12:06 PM

Two very nice tea boxes and beautiful wood. Like the contrast between the walnut and the splines. Great job.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4643 days

#4 posted 02-17-2015 01:21 AM

Great looking tea boxes! Nice save of the wood, by the way!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View kiwilynne's profile


313 posts in 1275 days

#5 posted 02-01-2019 05:56 PM

The are gorgeous. I’ve been asked to make someone a tea box and I’m furiously reading up on things like straight 45 angle degrees and dovetails, things that I have not really worked with in the past. Great work!

-- Lynne, New Zealand - Crikey, Aussie is another country, Bro.

View TonyArru's profile


91 posts in 3711 days

#6 posted 02-01-2019 06:13 PM

These came out great, especially since the wood was free! Nice job on everything. Thanks for sharing.

-- Tony S. Arru, Connecticut

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