Boxguy's 6-Sided Tea Box

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Project by Boxguy posted 05-15-2012 06:52 PM 2606 views 5 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pictured here are several views of Carolie’s six-sided tea box.

Problem: How can I craft a unique shape that would minimize the footprint of this box while still offering storage for 36 teabags, 8 handcrafted British teaspoons, and an assortment of sweeteners? Sometimes the best designs start with arranging the actual things you want to put inside the box…then you can design your box from the inside out.

Solution: This box is just 10 inches wide, 6 1/2 inches deep, and 4 1/4 inches tall. The attached top and angled corners give this box a smaller look. The longer back allows for a lengthy, more stable hinge for the top.

Materials: The staggered corner splines are Movingui and the lift is Black Walnut. The box is Black Cherry with a nice knotty grain on top. The clear plastic sweetener caddy was purchased at a local restaurant supply store.

Techniques: The different angles are a pain, so carefully mark each board to be sure you cut the correct angle on the correct board. The back two angles are 45 degrees, but the front four angles are cut at 22 1/2 degrees. The two end boards are cut 45 on the back side and 22 1/2 on the front side. However, the problem comes when you try to fit this all together. How long do you make the back side? My solution was to leave my initial board a little long and cut all my other sides starting with the left end and working around the front to the right side. Then I taped these 5 sides together with a piece of 2 inch wide masking tape, folded them into shape, and cut the back board to fit. Measuring is not enough, if you are off the slightest bit on angles or lengths it will throw your last cut way off. So just leave extra length then trim the back board to fit. Once all six sides are cut, dry fit this assembly with a band clamp to be sure all your joints fit tightly. Recut your lengths if you need to.

It doesn’t show well in the pictures, but I staggered the spline cuts on the front corners. (Look closely at picture #5.) If you don’t do this the splines look too much like dotted lines running around the front of the box.

Critique: I like this six-sided shape. It draws the eye without diminishing the function. The spoons fit in nicely and the lift-out dividers and sweetener caddy make this easy to clean. Though there is not much color contrast in the movingui splines and the cherry sides, the splines add great mechanical strength to the joints and are a subtle visual element. Basically, this design works well and looks attractive at least to my eye. I have sold several boxes made along the lines of this this general shape. To me, sales are the ultimate test of art or utility.

-- Big Al in IN

11 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4319 days

#1 posted 05-15-2012 07:00 PM

hey there al, that’s a real beauty, really nice tight joinery, it looks great, beautiful wood, this is one of your best boxes….great job buddy

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Roger's profile


21051 posts in 3820 days

#2 posted 05-15-2012 07:15 PM

Now this is way kool! I likes it

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 5101 days

#3 posted 05-15-2012 07:44 PM

Oh, perfect! Really, really a very fine box, nicely designed and executed. Wonderful job!


View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 3641 days

#4 posted 05-15-2012 09:00 PM

Nice design. I agree that this is one of your best so far. Good job.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3706 days

#5 posted 05-16-2012 12:25 AM

Nice design and great execution. Your miter joints on the front are nearly invisable. It is my favorite of the ones you’ve posted so far.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View shipwright's profile


8679 posts in 3814 days

#6 posted 05-16-2012 01:08 AM

You do make pretty boxes.
I like the interest created by the shape….it works.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4606 days

#7 posted 05-16-2012 02:43 AM

Frankly speaking, you made many beautiful boxes, really beautiful that if I have to spend a month to make one, it will not match yours. This one is no less beautiful, except IMHO you paid less attention as compared to the others. Great job though!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 3322 days

#8 posted 05-17-2012 02:32 AM

This came out really nice, and the finish is great. Excellent job

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View croquetman's profile


137 posts in 4337 days

#9 posted 06-03-2012 12:42 PM

Your technique for cutting the angles and sides correctly is quite frankly the only way to go. I use a hand plane on a shooting board for all my 45 degree miters to fine tune the lengths. Fit, adjust, fit, adjust. Got it! Glue. Getting the 22.5 that way would require a special shooting board, but if you make more than one, it’s a small price to pay.

-- Whatever

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3882 days

#10 posted 06-03-2012 01:31 PM

Al, it’s another beautiful box. Very nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View dustyal's profile


1322 posts in 4491 days

#11 posted 07-10-2012 10:28 PM

Just getting around to looking at your wonderful projects… especially this 6 sided tea box. Trying to figure out if I can copy as a gift for my wife. Hmmm, I got the basics… its the mental challenges of proportionally sizing.

I think I can sneak up on things… get the back and two sides, then play with the 22.5’s and lengths.

I’m a beginner… you put up real challenges for me… and that I appreciate! And, thank you for taking you time to post your details.

I read that you had a problem in inserting links? Shouldn’t be a problem for you, but if you don’t get help, let me know. I suspect several have already responded to your SOS.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

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