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Padauk Tea Box

author-gravatar Clock_Man Dec 20, 2019

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 

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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. 

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

Planed up and the fresh color is starting to show through a bit.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

Unlike last year I didn't manage the screw up the orientation swap to get continuous grain on all corners.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

Not a single gap in any of the corners.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

Took some sandpaper to add a subtle roundover to the top and bottom. 

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

It's amazing how much difference a roundover will make.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

It's do or die, or else I can live with a box that never opens. :)

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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. 

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

Two sides down, two more to go.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

Sides all look good!

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

The real stressful part is over, not as bad as I thought. 

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

These look great!

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

More work than putting in a hidden dado, but I think the look is a whole lot better. 

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

Matched up the feet to cut the groove for the stretcher. Less work and more accurate.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

I wanted to give the feet a little extra treatment. Chamfering the ends should dress them up just enough.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

Looks like a good fit. Added another chamfer to keep things looking uniform.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

Simple base for the box. The strecher is 1/8" thinner than the feet so it doesn't contact the table.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

Transferred the holes to the base.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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. 

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

Feet attached!

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box

All finished. Turned out fairly acceptable.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box
Photo of Padauk Tea Box

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.

Photo of Padauk Tea Box
Photo of Padauk Tea Box

5 comments

Really nice! One thing I do with my sleeves is chamfer all the outside edges. This allows the top to locate super easily when putting it on. I also like your divider v-groove and may steel that idea from you on my next box. I assume your sleeve is friction fit? 

That's one sweet lookin' box, Scott! Love the grain selection of the Padauk. What's that T-ruler looking thing you are using in a few of the photos? May need to pick one up!

Thanks Sean. The T-rule is the 1 Woodpeckers tool that I own and find useful. I was about to say it wasn't a OTT, but I stand corrected: https://www.woodpeck.com/onetime-tool-hook-rule-2015.html

@Sean  said:

That's one sweet lookin' box, Scott! Love the grain selection of the Padauk. What's that T-ruler looking thing you are using in a few of the photos? May need to pick one up!

Thanks! Normally I also chamfer those liners, but I was in such a rush with this box I completely forgot! I'm sure I'll do a v2.0 of it and I'll take more time on that one.

@WoodGate  said:

Really nice! One thing I do with my sleeves is chamfer all the outside edges. This allows the top to locate super easily when putting it on. I also like your divider v-groove and may steel that idea from you on my next box. I assume your sleeve is friction fit? 

Scott Hampshire, you my man, are an artist.

The clean lines and the straight grain are so very complimentary in this piece. The roundover detail is just right too.

Terrific work

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