This course is far more than simply building a tea caddy, which by itself would be an interesting project. As you can see in the above photo, this small box is covered in a variety of inlay, including corner fans, round and oval fans, bandings at the corners that provide a 3-D effect and bandings that border the field on each face of the caddy. What makes this course so much more is that each of those inlays are fully described and demonstrated in the short video clips included in each lesson. The inlay for this project is entirely shop-made – although you could bypass making any one of the added decorations and purchase them from a favorite supplier.
This course kicks off with five complete lessons that focus extensively on making the various inlay pieces. All of the fans are sand shaded to create a depth in the design. (You discover how to setup your tablesaw to produce the thin pieces necessary.) Corner pieces are laid up from sticks (often made from scraps) before being cut in specific ways to produce the visual effects. Plus, you get step-by-step instructions to make bandings – once you know the process, you can assemble a myriad of bandings using the same techniques.
It’s only then that you begin making your tea caddy. Included in the instructions are tips to produce box parts off the saw that are ready to assemble with corner notches already in place. And while your first thought may be that the lid for this project is a solid piece cut and shaped to design, it’s really a series of layers – three in all – in which pieces are milled, shaped and mitered before being assembled, during which you learn how to get the most from your cove router bit.
When it comes to finishing your tea caddy, I doubt you’ll find an easier or better process to use. A combination of oil and shellac build a deep finish with each layer’s application being fully explained. Best of all, these coats are ragged on your caddy.
The overall course is broken into six categories, and 17 lesson with and introduction and plans section. The individual lessons each include a short video and a written list of the steps demonstrated in the lesson.
This project is small – no hauling large parts all around your shop – yet the woodworking information packed into the course is huge. Also, the cost of materials needed to build your tea caddy amount to less than an afternoon of tea and crumpets. (What the hell are crumpets?)