Boxguy's Internal Focus

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Project by Boxguy posted 11-17-2012 11:38 AM 4456 views 18 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pictured: A medium sized tea chest (14×6 1/2×5 1/2) with crotch mahogany top, American walnut sides, maple corner splines, and internal dividers made from a Venetian blind. This tea chest features a mortised continuous hinge, chain pocket, and lift-out sweetener caddy.

In this post I want to focus on the interior workings of this tea chest.

The Chain: As you can see, the chain is attached just behind the divider and the top is attached at a point slightly closer to the hinge pin than the bottom. This means the chain will fall behind the front attachment point and drop nicely into the small “pocket” to the left. The advantage of a pocket is that the chain doesn’t become entangled with the teabags, and the extra room lets you fit in the sweetener caddy.

The Caddy: I buy these in bulk at a local restaurant supply store. Clear goes with any color of wood. Cutting away the front segment of the chain pocket with a band saw gives me enough room to fit this caddy into the box. The space for a tea bag is not quite wide enough for the caddy.

The Dividers: These are made from recycled wooden Venetian blinds that I buy at Goodwill and the Habitat Restore. Using these slats saves me a great deal of time cutting, sizing, and finishing. They are all made accurately at 1/8 inch. I try to keep a variety of colors on hand. A matching touch up pen will cover any nicks and splintering. I cut slightly more than half way through the tops of the horizontal dividers and slightly more than half way through the bottoms of the vertical dividers. Then slide them together.

Hint: Use masking tape to hold all the same lengths together and then, using your miter gauge, make just a single pass over your table saw blade. Do not go over and back. Two passes will widen the slot and loosen the fit. A quality 1/8 inch blade will give you a snug fit.

I put a piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of the box, dry fit the dividers, remove the verticals one at a time and add just a small spot of glue in the slots before putting the verticals back in place. Wipe away any excess glue before it dries. The box will act as a jig to hold the dividers square and you can be sure they will fit back into the box after the glue is dry.

Thanks: As always, thanks for looking. A special thanks to all of you who take the extra time to add comment or make suggestions. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

38 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3869 days

#1 posted 11-17-2012 12:14 PM

Al that is an incredible tea box your finish

is mirror. It must be for some good Tea


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25937 posts in 4118 days

#2 posted 11-17-2012 01:23 PM

Absolutely gorgeous is all I can say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4316 days

#3 posted 11-17-2012 01:35 PM

this one has that beautiful mahogany shimmer tp it and it would look so nice in anyones home, if it were not for tea, i could see this on someones dresser with jewelry in always, a beauty….have you ever tried using ambrosia maple for the box, ive got some and i have seen some other things made from it, and it looks very nice also…think it over….great job al

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

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3305 days

#4 posted 11-17-2012 01:57 PM

Beautiful wood, outstanding design, perfect construction and great finish. I don’t have any suggestions for a piece all one can do is step back and admire. Excellent write up as always.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Roger's profile


21051 posts in 3817 days

#5 posted 11-17-2012 01:59 PM

Va-Va-Va-Voom! Beautiful.

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

View DanoP's profile


135 posts in 3352 days

#6 posted 11-17-2012 02:29 PM

Great box! Love that Walnut.
I’d love to hear a couple of words about the finish and your technique.

-- We've got enough youth. Let's search for a fountain of smart.

View jbschutz's profile


610 posts in 3704 days

#7 posted 11-17-2012 03:16 PM

Great box, Al. The use of blind slats for internal dividers is brilliant…...gotta keep that in mind. The wood is beautiful and he design is well thought out. Great craftsmanship, too.

-- jbschutz

View woodklutz's profile


221 posts in 3781 days

#8 posted 11-17-2012 03:22 PM

Wonderful as always.

-- honing my craft one mistake at a time.

View dean2336's profile


238 posts in 3922 days

#9 posted 11-17-2012 03:26 PM

great box—really like the choice of woods—the blind slats are a great time saver and good looking—did you finish the inside with the same finish as the outside—some say not to finish the inside for fear the tea will absorb the solvent smell—your thougths—thank you for the post great ideas in the project.

-- dean2336,nebr.

View DocSavage45's profile


9043 posts in 3855 days

#10 posted 11-17-2012 04:29 PM

Thanks for show and tell re: inside the box, while thinking outside the box. :-)

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Grumpymike's profile


2480 posts in 3328 days

#11 posted 11-17-2012 04:46 PM

Gorgeous tea box. Thanks for the tips in construction. You are the master indeed.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4701 days

#12 posted 11-17-2012 04:48 PM

Superb tea box in every detail : ) The grain and color in that lid is fantastic !
Right into my Favorites with this one : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View cathyb's profile


844 posts in 4257 days

#13 posted 11-17-2012 05:44 PM


-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Jim55's profile


196 posts in 3079 days

#14 posted 11-17-2012 05:58 PM

That thing is just gorgeous! If you mentioned how and with what you finished it, I must have missed it. I sure would like to know. It looks like an old fashioned hand rubbed finish!

I too thank you for the idea about the blinds!

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 4117 days

#15 posted 11-17-2012 06:03 PM

Very nice. I like all of the details. I have had thoughts of building one of these and it always becomes something else.

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

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