Padauk Tea Box
The tradition of boxes for the Reddit Secret Santa continues for the 5th year in a row. This year my recipient mentioned they liked tea and I had just finished reading Mike Pekovich's book and have been wanting to give his tea box a try. I made a few departures from his design, some in the name of material and others in the name of time. In terms of my joinery decisions, I think I've done Mike right by taking grain and color into account. I also managed to ship on the last possible day, some things just never change. #woodworking #box #tea #padauk
I originally was thinking dovetails for this box, but after seeing how straight the grain was on this quartersawn padauk I decided to change my mind and use miters for the sake of grain continuity around all 4 corners. I had this piece in the lumber rack for a long time now and am glad I held onto it for this very application.
The resaw went surprisingly well. Frankly I don't think I've had anything resaw this well before, even air dried stock. Everything stayed straight and I didn't have any cup or warp. Heck, I even ended up with two identically thick pieces! Normally I'll have one that's slightly thicker than the other, but the stars aligned for me here.
Planed up and the fresh color is starting to show through a bit.
Had to mark up the edge so I could keep track of orientation. Normally I can use grain patterns in a pinch, but everything is so uniform here it looks the same on both sides. You can see how well the cut went in this photo. Two pieces and almost no discernible seam.
Unlike last year I didn't manage the screw up the orientation swap to get continuous grain on all corners.
Miters looking fine! If you plan on cutting any kind of miter joint for a box, I highly recommend building a miter sled you can dial in, it makes a world of difference when it comes to accuracy.
Not a single gap in any of the corners.
I was an idiot here and forgot to document cutting the grooves in the body and the matching tongue in the lid/base. Just know that the top and bottom have a tongue and groove that hold them onto the sides. Much like this box from last year.
Took some sandpaper to add a subtle roundover to the top and bottom.
It's amazing how much difference a roundover will make.
A little contrast between my box and the one Mike made. I did a color correction on this photo to get a better look at what the real world color of the padauk looks like. I didn't put keys in this box because I felt like the padauk was stable enough and the sides are quartersawn. I'm highly confident that the corners will stay tight. If they don't, I blame Matt Kenney. :D
Prepping for my least favorite part of any box, cutting the lid. Because the top and bottom are slightly proud of the body, I added a sled that the whole unit can ride on to avoid any unfortunate rocking or similar as I make the cut.
It's do or die, or else I can live with a box that never opens. :)
Lid separation successful, so now it's time to fit the liner. I chose maple to provide a nice contrast. I thought about some alaskan cedar, but didn't want the scent to ruin any of the teas stored inside.
I used to stress out about this, but I've become so used to it, it's not too difficult to get these properly fit in 2-3 tries.
Two sides down, two more to go.
Sides all look good!
The new thing I'm trying in this box is v-grooves to hold the interior dividers. You can see here how I'm dialing in the blade height to get a centered groove.
The real stressful part is over, not as bad as I thought.
These look great!
More work than putting in a hidden dado, but I think the look is a whole lot better.
Now that I know everything looks good, I tidy up the cut edge with some 320 sandpaper on the tablesaw. I had to work the bottom due to a really deep cut from the saw, but otherwise this went off without an issue.
Matched up the feet to cut the groove for the stretcher. Less work and more accurate.
I wanted to give the feet a little extra treatment. Chamfering the ends should dress them up just enough.
Looks like a good fit. Added another chamfer to keep things looking uniform.
Simple base for the box. The strecher is 1/8" thinner than the feet so it doesn't contact the table.
The base is attached with 4 brass screws. These will be covered by the interior liner, so literally no one will ever see them again.
Transferred the holes to the base.
I don't normally hide my makers mark, but I didn't have much room in this box. I don't want to draw attention away from the box to something garish like my brand. This way it's there, but it's not bothering anyone.
I finished it with several coats of blonde shellac. There were some unfortunate runs, but I'm fairly sure I sanded most of them out. I probably had just too heavy of a cut. I didn't cut the scallops like Mike did, mostly because I just didn't have time. I eschewed the twine and clasp for the box. The lid is already fairly snug.
All finished. Turned out fairly acceptable.
Adjusting for some of the real color. It just radiates right now! The red/orange will darken up with time, but it's fun to have this while we can.