Spalted Birch Tea Box

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Project by jumbojack posted 11-30-2013 10:17 PM 2638 views 8 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

There was a Birch tree across the street from my home that had died. When they finally dropped the tree, I asked for the rounds. I let them sit for about six months, then milled it on my band saw. These sat for another few months. The spalting was pretty remarkable. I left the walls pretty thick, as I have read the Birch is not real stable. I was given some old oak flooring from a friend and milled it to 3/16 for the dividers. The bottom of the box got some flocking, the floor being some veneered MDF. I used barrel hinges for this build; I finally got the hang of using these guys. PERFECT layout is essential. I wanted to showcase the ebony miter keys so when I cut off the top, I cut just below the spline to show it off. The thumb pull is also ebony that is mortised into the lid.
This box is designed to hold tea bags. My in laws are BIG tea drinkers.
It is very satisfying to go from log to finished box. These photos do not convey the colors and nuances of the finished product.
I applied some tung old about a week ago, then shot four coats of gloss lacquer rubbed out and waxed.
Thanks for looking.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

17 comments so far

View rtbrmb's profile


657 posts in 2530 days

#1 posted 11-30-2013 10:37 PM

A great save from the firewood pile. The 3rd picture really shows how nice the spalting looks on some of the boards. I have never worked with spalted wood, was there any problems when planing it?

Thanks for sharing.

Bill in MI

View bygrace's profile


181 posts in 2111 days

#2 posted 11-30-2013 10:42 PM

Noticed the splines on the lid right away. Nice idea, it looks good. I’ve also wondered about using barrel hinges, those look really nice. The box has a really nice rustic look to it with the spalted wood. Great job!

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2998 days

#3 posted 11-30-2013 10:50 PM

Very nice and a great save


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Rick S.'s profile

Rick S.

10520 posts in 3174 days

#4 posted 12-01-2013 12:26 AM

Very Nice Work Indeed! Thanks For Sharing!


-- _

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2832 days

#5 posted 12-01-2013 12:50 AM

Very nice job. I have 3 dead river birch trees near me that I now feel compelled to go get!

There seem to be 2 types of barrel hinges at Woodcraft: Pricy and cheap. If I may ask, which did you use?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Jerry's profile


2834 posts in 1790 days

#6 posted 12-01-2013 01:00 AM

Beautiful job both in using the wood to its best advantage and great craftsmanship

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2766 days

#7 posted 12-01-2013 02:34 AM

rtbrmb; This stuff seemed to plane very well. There was one board where the grain went the other way, it tore out a little, but no big deal.

bygrace: Barrel hinges are pretty simple to install. The hole MUST BE EXACT.

gfadvm: I paid 6 or 7 dollars each. A little steep, but well you know, I had my dark little heart set on barrel hinges.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29864 posts in 2480 days

#8 posted 12-01-2013 03:38 AM

Great salvage, great job

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View justoneofme's profile


651 posts in 2621 days

#9 posted 12-01-2013 04:58 AM

That good old adage comes true for you Jumbojack … “Patience is a virtue!!” That is a beautiful looking
Birch-wood tea box … and I really like the Ebony enhancement! You are a natural, with natural!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1966 days

#10 posted 12-01-2013 09:09 AM

Very nice tea box, the spalted birch looks really beautiful and the ebony splines are a great addition. Thanks for sharing a well made box project.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View R_Stad's profile


412 posts in 1984 days

#11 posted 12-01-2013 01:06 PM

Nice work all around. A very satisfying project to share with your family.

-- Rod - Oregon

View robbie20's profile


9 posts in 2374 days

#12 posted 12-01-2013 03:34 PM

Looks amazing, really like your choice of wood and cut right below the splines!

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2832 days

#13 posted 12-01-2013 05:16 PM

Thanks for the reply. I think those are the “better” ones.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Josh's profile


1226 posts in 2711 days

#14 posted 12-01-2013 06:56 PM

I. Like. It.

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21284 posts in 3247 days

#15 posted 12-02-2013 02:34 AM

Beautiful tea box!!...............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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