Inlaid Tea Caddy (Online Course)


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Today we purchase and store tea in tea bags, primarily. During the late Queen Anne period and early Federal period, tea was stored in a tea caddy, which could be jars, canisters or boxes – caddies kept tea leaves safe and fresh. Sometime during the second quarter of the 18th century storing tea leaves in wooden boxes began to grow in popularity. By the mid 1700s most households were drinking and brewing tea from leaves, so the need for caddies continued. Furniture makers built boxes from the most basic designs (four sides and a lid, or even turned and lidded) to caddies in the shape of pieces of fruit. Many of the most sought after tea caddies were boxes full of decoration, including sand-shaded fans, veneered surfaces and other fancy inlay.

In this online course furniture maker Glen Huey walks you step-by-step through building a tea caddy embellished with sand-shaded quarter, round and oval fans, and shop-made banding and corner inlay.

This course divides construction into 17 sections of short videos covering fans, corner inlay and bandings, as well as constructing the box and lid so that inlay areas are built into the construction process. You learn an easy setup and technique to create channels for your shop-made banding (using whatever router is in your shop), how to carefully excavate for your fans, secrets for fitting and installing inlay and tips for better box assembly. The lid for this caddy is built from 13 individual parts that are created and assembled without clamps. And the corner inlay is made from a couple of scraps that are probably in your shop now.

This is a project that can be fully built using small pieces – no big outlay of funds for materials. Plus, it’s a great project to help build your woodworking skills.

A downloadable Plan Packet (complete with front, side and exploded views, patterns and cut list) and a 12-page PDF of Step Photos with Captions are found within the lessons.

(Watch the introduction to this course.)


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