Well, the tea caddy is essentially finished. A few more coats of wipe-on varnish and installing the hinges and it'll be done. More on the hinges below...
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Finished Box 3.jpg [ 432.98 KiB | Viewed 1438 times ]
Now the gory details...
Routing out the cavities for the paterae went well. I stuck the fans in their appointed places with double-stick tape and traced around them with an Exacto. Then I routed the cavity using a Dremel with the plunge router base from Stew-Mac, which I highly recommend. I had a 1/4" straight router bit on it and routed to just inside the line, then cleaned it up with the Exacto and a small chisel. It fit nice and tight!
The banding went almost as well, routing out the channel on my router table with a 5/16 straight bit to match my 5/16 wide banding. I glued it in with white glue so any gaps that filled with glue would dry transparent rather than yellow.
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I mitered the ends with the mini-miter box shown above and my Japanese pull-saw. The problem is that no matter how I arranged and cut the binding, I couldn't get all 4 corners to match in a way they looked good. I think part of my problem is in the design of the binding - something I'll take into account when I plan my next project with banding. I think the simple alternating squares would be easier to match in the corners.
There are also a few minor gaps around the banding, slips of the chisel during cleanup of the corners, but they should fill in with finish, and are not really that visible.Lessons LearnedStaining-
I wanted the wood to look darker than natural khaya, and I wanted to fill in the grain. So I used a nice TransTint mahogany dye rubbed in with linseed oil and rottenstone. Naturally I dyed and filled it before
I installed the banding and the fans, so the dye wouldn't get on the decorations, and the color looked just right.
Fine. But I found that when I got to leveling and smoothing the fans, and especially the banding, I found it required enough scraping and sanding that much of the dye was scraped off the surface of the mahogany. Next time I'll dye it a little darker than I want it to end up, so it can be lightened a bit by scraping and sanding. (On retrospect, I may have put a light sealcoat of shellac on it before I dyed the wood, which would, of course, have kept the dye from sinking in deep enough.)
I'm still thinking of darkening it with a coat or two of tinted finish. Yes, it would darken the banding and fans also, and obscure a bit of the grain, but the real antiques all have a nice patina that darkens and dulls the contrast anyway. So, I'm still thinking about that option. A lesson learned.Escutcheon Who?
Now the big problem, and the reason why I haven't attached the hinges yet. If you look at the front of the box, you'll see that I neglected to leave any space for the lock! The escutcheon would have to overlap part of my precious shaded fan!
SWAMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) tells me that I should have placed the paterae horizontally, which would have looked better and would have left more room for the lock. But I've gotta say that EVERY example I've ever seen of a shaded fan has been vertically oriented, so that's why I placed them that way. I went for centering the fan where it would look best, without thinking of the lock.
Now a real tea caddy would always
have had a lock. Tea was too precious to tempt your servants or visitors with an unlocked tea caddy. So this will take some thought...