Dovetailed Tea Box
This project offers a variety of techniques in a small package
Synopsis: A study in texture and contrast, this tea box is essentially a box within a box. The outer box is wire-brushed wenge with proud dovetails. The liner is a mitered box made of a smooth, contrasting wood that offers a nice surprise when the box is opened. The base, ebony clasp, and hemp cord add detail and make this box as interesting to touch as it is to look at. Step-by-step instructions make it easy to cut the joinery and fit the boxes to one another. You’ll also get a tip on how to use magnets to join the halves of the clasp.
For some reason, tea tastes better coming out of a dovetailed box rather than the cardboard box from the grocery store. For me, tea is about taking a break. The time it takes to steep is just as important as the drinking of it. So anything that adds to that experience, whether it’s a teapot or cup or box, can make a difference. For this particular box, I had imagined something like an oyster: a wenge exterior acting as a rough, rocklike shell and a bird’s-eye maple liner providing an iridescent interior.
The box turned out to be a study in texture. The proud dovetails, the wire-brushed wenge, the hemp cord, and the bandsawn surface of the clasp all combine to create a box that is as interesting to touch as it is to look at. For an object that sees as much handling as a box, that’s an important thing.
The box is fairly straightforward to build. I glue up the dovetailed sides, capturing the tongue-and-groove top and bottom, and then make a sawcut right through the box, separating the lid from the base. I then build a liner and add…