Small Changes Make Big Differences

My tea caddy, with the inlay left square, was not the look I was after. Blah.

As I was working on a tea caddy for a 360 Woodworking hands-on class, which happened a couple of weeks back, I was amazed at how small changes make big differences. The corner inlay I made from shop scraps – alternating light and dark pieces that align at a 45° angle – changed significantly as the caddy progressed.

Looking at the box from the top had the inlay tilted at an angle. That was good. But when you saw the caddy from the front, the inlay simply looked like alternating colors. Blah. As I worked to install the corner decoration, I flipped the pieces a number of times to try to determine which way looked best. Needless to say, I was less than satisfied regardless of what direction the angle tilted – it was easy to switch from tilted right to tilted left. Plus, it made little difference if I had the alternating blocks facing the top instead of the front. I made the call and moved ahead.

Make It Round

With all the corner inlay installed, the next step was when changes began. Using a small plane and rasp, the inlay’s sharp edges were sheared away and smoothed. All the corners were rounded over as if a 3/16″ roundover router bit were run along the corners. What was originally a bold look that had me wondering if I had placed the inlay in the right direction, suddenly turned into a 3-D look that made my questioning thoughts disappear.

It’s a small change, I know. But I think you’ll agree that the differences are significant.

— Glen D. Huey

Rounding the shop-made corner inlay made the caddy, in my opinion, come alive. Goodbye blah.


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One thought on “Small Changes Make Big Differences

  1. Nice work Glen.
    And you are right, it makes a big difference.

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