|Project by Boxguy||posted 05-05-2012 06:33 AM||1701 views||7 times favorited||9 comments|
Story: I needed a new take on a tea box. This one is designed to be moved from one place to another, hence the handles. I had a request for a tea box specifically designed to be walked around a table to let customers select tea bags and then returned to a counter. It was to be used in a restaurant setting, so I knew it had to be sturdy.
Materials: This box is American Walnut with Ebony splines (to go with the handles). The squiggle is two pieces of maple sandwiching a strip of mahogany. The finger indent was carved with a Jet spindle sander. The dividers are cherry, and in the third picture you should note the “chain pocket.” This lets the chain fall in this compartment so it doesn’t get tangled with the tea bags.
Design: Putting the accent on sturdy, I decided a slanted-side box would fit the need. The box sides begin at about 1 1/4 inches thick. After being glued-up and splined, all four sides are angle cut on the band saw. That way the outside is slanted, but the inside remains square (and I don’t have a lot of tricky angles to cut). It also means the splines will get smaller toward the thinner side of the box (a nice side effect). I knew this very thick, splined bottom would make for a strongly jointed box that would hold up to hard use and survive being dropped a few times. Rounded edges and corners also help since they don’t get dinged as easily.
Technique: The squiggle on top was formed by taking a 1 1/4 inch thick walnut board, cutting a flowing line through the middle with the band saw, inserting a 1/8 inch thick mahogany strip and two 1/8 inch thick maple strips into the gap, gluing all surfaces of the inserts and then clamping the thick board and inserts together. Start clamping in the center to let the thin boards bend and adjust to the curves; go back and re-tighten the clamps to pull the joints tight. The walnut board and the strips were all about 1 1/4 inches wide. If you clamp a thinner board it just folds up when you apply pressure. I planed and re-sawed the thick board into the top you see here. The nice feature of this technique is that the squiggle shows on both sides of the top and you can see it again when you open the box.
Results: I checked, and after a year of heavy use and a few drops to the floor, this box was still doing well. I tightened up the screws on the metal handles. My customers seemed very pleased and so was I.
As always, thanks for looking and a special thanks to those of you who take the time to make comments and suggestions.
-- Big Al in IN