Reclaimed Mahogany and Purpleheart Tea Box

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Project by ellen35 posted 12-28-2011 02:11 PM 2561 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Of all the boxes I make, I must admit that tea boxes are among my favorites (I am also an addicted tea drinker!). This 9 1/2×9 1/2 inch box was made on commission from a local woman who saw some of my tea boxes at a summer fair. I offered to let her come over and choose her woods and I would make her one. I didn’t hear from her until just before Christmas when she called to say her husband wanted to get her a tea box for Christmas. This mahogany came out of a house that is now over 100 years old. The wood here was the fireplace surround and bookcase material in the living room. What attracted the customer to it was the beautiful figuring. She also loved the contrast of purpleheart with the mahogany. When I told her that the purpleheart may, over time, turn brown… well that was fine for her! The box is about 3 1/2 inches high and holds standard wrapped tea bags in 9 compartments. The top is a design that I like as it gives it an Asian flair. There is a single chunky purpleheart key in the corners. It is finished in 4 coats of Polycryl.
Thanks for looking… and have a cup of tea for me!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

15 comments so far

View sedcokid's profile


2728 posts in 3436 days

#1 posted 12-28-2011 02:21 PM

Great Box Ellen, Your boxes are always a treat to look at….... Beautiful!!

Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3141 days

#2 posted 12-28-2011 03:25 PM

beautiful tea box ellen, i love the mahogany and purple heart mix, looks really good… are you making one for yourself, out of the same materials, or are you doing something different… sure your customer is very happy…here i was gearing up for a certain project..that you know about, and now i cant stop thinking about doing a new box of some kind…HELPPPPPPPPP..I NEED HELPPPPPPPPP… name is grizzman, i am a boxaholic…

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9219 posts in 2758 days

#3 posted 12-28-2011 03:46 PM

That looks great, Ellen! I also love mahogany. It is one of my favorites. There is something about boxes too that is so fun. I kind of collect boxes I suppose. I never noticed it until Keith pointed it out! LOL Wonderful job!

Sheila :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View moonls's profile


412 posts in 2824 days

#4 posted 12-28-2011 04:10 PM

The beauty of that reclaimed mahogany makes that tea box a winner!

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 3923 days

#5 posted 12-28-2011 06:47 PM

That is beautiful, Ellen. Very nicely done!


View jack1's profile


2092 posts in 3865 days

#6 posted 12-28-2011 07:55 PM

What a great lid! Extending the trim of purple heart like that is a neat design.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Lenny's profile


1578 posts in 3365 days

#7 posted 12-28-2011 08:52 PM

Nice design elements and magnificent figure in the mahogany really set this piece off Ellen. Great job! I somehow think I will one day be asking: “Ellen do you mind if I steal this idea or that design element?” for some tea boxes of my own.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View degoose's profile


7223 posts in 3192 days

#8 posted 12-28-2011 09:25 PM

Wonderful as usual…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View littlecope's profile


3070 posts in 3340 days

#9 posted 12-29-2011 12:53 AM

Great Job Ellen… Pretty Wood!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View a1Jim's profile


116578 posts in 3415 days

#10 posted 12-29-2011 04:22 AM

Beautiful Tea box Ellen.

-- Custom furniture

View wiser1934's profile


524 posts in 2985 days

#11 posted 12-29-2011 05:17 AM

that box is spectacular!! wish i had 1/2 of your talent. super!!! i also am an avid tea drinker.

-- wiser1934, new york

View Woodwrecker's profile


4100 posts in 3413 days

#12 posted 12-29-2011 05:24 AM

Ellen, you are at the tip top of the tea box totem pole !!!
With your unique design, people are going to start saying “Look! That’s an original Ellen”
The figure in that wood is to die for as well.
Very nice job !

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

346 posts in 2399 days

#13 posted 12-29-2011 05:24 AM

Great design and execution! What an elegant way to make miter joints that always fit!! I’ll have to remember that trick….......... :-)

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View Josh's profile


1226 posts in 2407 days

#14 posted 12-29-2011 07:11 AM

sorry, but this is just way too cool for me!

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 2916 days

#15 posted 01-01-2012 08:11 AM

Beautiful wood, but it still takes skillful hands to make the box. Very well done, Ellen.

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

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