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Walnut Tea Box

author-gravatar joelav Nov 02, 2016

Experimenting with some different design elements and hand tool joinery

Walnut box, butternut lid with a walnut inlay

The bottom is attached in a rabbet, but I left the rabbet oversized and added a butternut border

Simple lift off lid

I wanted the top clean without any pulls, so I chiseled finger recesses in the sides 

I didn't take a lot of build pictures because I didn't even have a basic idea of what this box would look like when I started. I had this cabinet shop off cut that I paid a dollar for. Here I have it marked to be ripped in half

I ripped it with my rip kataba and using my Japanese floor horses. 

I was pretty impressed with this method. The cut was pretty straight and square

The basic layout before I chiseled out the waste from the tails. Mitered rabbets on both edges and center weighted pins 

I like to pre-finish the insides of boxes before I glue them up. Here is some amber shellac applied after I tape off areas that will be glued. Amber shellac is my new favorite finish on Walnut. It really brings out the color

I stumbled upon a piece of butternut while cleaning (literally). I decided to use that for the lid

Here I laid out the rabbet for the bottom. I made it a lot deeper than I needed to be so I would have some of it exposed. I also decided to wrap some butternut around it so I offset the rabbet about 1/16" to accomidate. 

To cut it by hand, I first saw down the lines, keeping everything as straight as possible. This gives me nice clean shoulders 

I used my POS boat anchor to take the long grain sides close to the final depth

The short grain sides are a lot easier - no planes with nickers or skewed irons needed. 

Because it's sawed to the baseline, I can split the waste out with a chisel. Again, almost to the baseline. This took about 10 seconds. Once done I cleaned up all the faces with my router plane    

I then cut the inlay out with my router plane after first getting the walls to depth with a very wide chisel. This was a lot harder than I thought, but it came out good. 

I basically cut a huge half blind dovetail pin for the finger pull. The problem is getting it clean. Not an issue with dovetails because that part is hidden. A chisel just wouldn't do, so I used a home made push scraper. you can see the tiny little shavings here as I am getting it smooth    

Almost there, but looking pretty clean 

Final smoothing of the underside of the butternut top. Butternut can be tricky to plane so a sharp iron and a very tight chip breaker is needed

Finish was first pore filling by sainding in some boiled linseed oil, then the final finish is amber shellac. For the butternut top I used blonde shellac to keep the contrast. 

4 comments

Nice build! 

The base is a nice change of pace from what I'm used to seeing. Are you going to add any dividers inside for organization or just leave it a blank slate?

Looks like you've got the mitered dovetails down. This box came out great. I love the color of that walnut with the contrasting lid/base.

Yeah I'm probably going to add a friction fit divider in the center to make 2 rows 

@Clock_Man  said:

Nice build! 

The base is a nice change of pace from what I'm used to seeing. Are you going to add any dividers inside for organization or just leave it a blank slate?

Thanks Sean! 

@Sean  said:

Looks like you've got the mitered dovetails down. This box came out great. I love the color of that walnut with the contrasting lid/base.

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