Tea Box Cabinet

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Project by Todd A. Clippinger posted 09-29-2009 12:24 AM 5233 views 41 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A Quick & Simple Project

I wanted to do a quick and simple project for Rita’s birthday in 2007 but I just got around to finishing it here in 2009. This seems to be the norm for personal projects.

Construction & Style Details

The cabinet is made of black walnut and the drawers are made of curly ambrosia maple. The corners of the boxes are mitered. To add strength and contrast I added black walnut keys. You can see the tutorial on how I did this in a previous blog here.

I wanted to keep the style simple and straight forward. The simplicity of the style and the character of the wood were to do the talking. I even kept a beauty mark in the black walnut which will be present on the most viewed side. Keeping the construction simple would also aid in getting it done sooner – HA!

I used through dovetails to assemble the cabinet. I pinned them in the front and back with a contrasting dowel to lock them together. I love this little detail and do it on all of my through dovetails.

It is up to Rita as to what she will keep in it or where we will hang it, but I sized the drawers to house boxes of herbal teas. So that is why I call it a tea cabinet.

I made a french cleat for hanging. Granted I do not need this type of strength to hang this little cabinet, but the french cleat also makes installation a breeze.

The finish is M.L. Campbells MagnaMax which is a precat lacquer. I am not worried about the film finish wearing because it is a light piece and I gave the boxes wiggle room.

The boxes have all of the edges and corners eased. I do not like leaving the corners and edges sharp on drawers like these where they are completely removed and replaced.

No More Shame

Rita loves the project. Since completion, a veil of shame has been lifted and everything seems brighter:)

Peace, Love, & Woodworking

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

30 comments so far

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 2193 days

#1 posted 09-29-2009 12:32 AM

Todd, That is very nice, great craftsmanship. That ambrosia maple is gorgeous.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2570 days

#2 posted 09-29-2009 12:33 AM

Todd, this is a gorgeous cabinet that was definately worth the wait. I have no doubt that Rita loves it and it will not take her long to fill it up I am sure. You certainly are an inspiration. Now you have “shamed” me since I have a mantle that was promised several years ago. :)

This is a nice project and I enjoy seeing the wood combination as well.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2421 days

#3 posted 09-29-2009 01:05 AM

That is very nice, Todd.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Walnut_Weasel's profile


360 posts in 1970 days

#4 posted 09-29-2009 01:09 AM

This looks great! You say it is simple but it is way above my head! I think that if you would have made it “complex” it would have detracted from that great looking maple!! I am adding this to my favorite list!

-- James -

View Napaman's profile


5365 posts in 2825 days

#5 posted 09-29-2009 01:19 AM

that wood is amazing…nice execution…and the blog is really great everyone—-if you get a chance take a look at todd’s blog on this…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 2306 days

#6 posted 09-29-2009 01:22 AM

Congrats Todd on completing a honeydo job. How many more you got??

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View a1Jim's profile


112892 posts in 2325 days

#7 posted 09-29-2009 01:24 AM

Hey Todd simple but very cool. I like every thing about it ,it’s a pleasure to the eye and mind.

-- Custom furniture

View WRH's profile


16 posts in 1917 days

#8 posted 09-29-2009 01:39 AM

Tom, It looks awsome. It is amazing what you can do using different color and contrasting woods.

-- Bill // New London NH.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2848 days

#9 posted 09-29-2009 01:47 AM

My Honey-do list is a long one.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Dusty56's profile


11684 posts in 2436 days

#10 posted 09-29-2009 01:58 AM

Todd, this is just my honest opinion / personal tastes kicking in. No more , no less. You know you’re my hero !
I was really admiring the drawer fronts prior to the keys being added.The Ambrosia stains had a wonderful flow to them that the keys seem to have broken up.
It certainly is a wonderful gift that you’ve made and I love the wood species that you’ve chosen and the bonus is that the LOYL is happy : )

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

View okwoodshop's profile


444 posts in 1923 days

#11 posted 09-29-2009 02:12 AM

very nice

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

728 posts in 2581 days

#12 posted 09-29-2009 02:22 AM

Gorgeous grain matching on the drawer fronts. The simplicity makes the wood and craftsmanship stand out. Very very cool!!

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2450 posts in 2340 days

#13 posted 09-29-2009 02:46 AM

Very nice Todd. Looks like you had fun on this one.

-- Dennis Zongker

View Kevin Depies's profile

Kevin Depies

78 posts in 2116 days

#14 posted 09-29-2009 03:09 AM

That’s a beauty… the ambrosia maple is exquisite. Nice work Todd.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2848 days

#15 posted 09-29-2009 03:33 AM

Dusty, I tend to agree with you.

I am thinking that I should have made the keys smaller and I almost did. I was thinking of using the dovetail saw but I decided to knock them out faster on the tablesaw.

I appreciate the feedback.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

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