Dovetailed Tea Tray

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Project by BigRedKnothead posted 05-06-2015 08:12 PM 2009 views 8 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve done quite a bit tricking out my shop and tools, now I’ve turned my attention to spoilingl my wife a bit. Besides, I couldn’t take seeing her use a sheet pan for a tea tray.

The piece is pretty straight-forward….

- Half-blind dovetails. I took my time and cut these by hand. Matter of fact, these are the first dovetails I made that aren’t practice or just something in my shop. The practice must be paying off, because they turned out really well.

- Cherry for the ends, birdseye maple for the sides and bottom. The bottom is some 3/8” solid birdseye maple with some heartwood that I bookmatched. It rests in a groove around the sides with room for seasonal movement.

- Finish is several coats of minwax tung oil. I like the tone this stuff gives figured maple. Finally it was buffed with Howards feed ‘n wax.

If you flip it over you can find the repair for a small mistake I made. Oh well, my wife already knows I’m not perfect;-)

A few pics of the build….


I used to think hand cut dovetails and the like were for retired guys or professionals. Obviously I don’t feel that way anymore. Dovetails take some discipline and skill. You have to execute each step well for a good final result… but it is very gratifying when you nail it.

Take care, Rojo Grande

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

38 comments so far

View Hammerthumb's profile


2514 posts in 1398 days

#1 posted 05-06-2015 08:17 PM

Beautiful Red. Tea time!

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View pintodeluxe's profile


4827 posts in 2236 days

#2 posted 05-06-2015 08:18 PM

Good work, nice looking dovetails. I have been doing some experimenting with DT’s too, what fun.
The tray came out second to none, really looking top notch.
I have been wanting to make one like that with a slate bottom, but can’t find a source for thin slate.

Cheers to you!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3305 days

#3 posted 05-06-2015 08:29 PM

Very nice workmanship.
And you earned brownie points. Yay.

Very well done Red,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View bobasaurus's profile


2587 posts in 2607 days

#4 posted 05-06-2015 08:39 PM

Came out great, Red. How was that birdseye maple to plane? I like the solid wood bottom, is it held in a dado or rabet?

-- Allen, Colorado

View Douglas's profile


412 posts in 1983 days

#5 posted 05-06-2015 09:33 PM

Awesome red, I’ve been feeling sheepish every time my wife makes 2 trips from the kitchen, one with the teapot and a little towel, and a second with the cups. Someone should make a tea tray! Yours look great, thanks for sharing.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View johnstoneb's profile


2105 posts in 1596 days

#6 posted 05-06-2015 09:46 PM

Nice job. You nailed the dovetails.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View CL810's profile (online now)


3405 posts in 2411 days

#7 posted 05-06-2015 10:02 PM

Very well done Red! I like the wood choices; cherry/maple is one of my favorites.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View ToddJB's profile (online now)


6795 posts in 1553 days

#8 posted 05-06-2015 10:27 PM

Red, I really like your eye for design. Paired with your ability to execute you really turn out some inspiring work. Way to make something simple beautiful.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Mean_Dean's profile


4946 posts in 2570 days

#9 posted 05-06-2015 11:49 PM

This tea tray turned out great, Big Red One! I’m sure your wife will get a lot of pleasure from serving herself and her guests on this beauty!

-- Dean

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13573 posts in 2041 days

#10 posted 05-06-2015 11:49 PM

Retired or pro? Silly Rojo…

Great work on the tray!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View summerfi's profile


3266 posts in 1110 days

#11 posted 05-06-2015 11:49 PM

Outstanding work Red.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7727 posts in 1803 days

#12 posted 05-07-2015 01:30 AM

That’s a dandy, very thoughtful.


View Jake's profile


850 posts in 1054 days

#13 posted 05-07-2015 07:19 AM

Looking great as is to be expected of you!

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View putty's profile


972 posts in 1030 days

#14 posted 05-07-2015 10:47 AM

Beautiful work Red, I’m intimidated by half blind dovetails, yours are perfection!!

-- Putty

View buck_cpa's profile


147 posts in 1310 days

#15 posted 05-07-2015 01:40 PM

well done sir. Did you use the David Barron method for these dovetails?

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