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April 21, 2019

September 26, 2018

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Woodworking Design Elements

Incorporating Decorative Plugs in Tea Boxes

There are countless ways to craft handmade artistic wooden boxes. The simplest form, a box made with 90° joinery, can be enhanced with carving, inlay, veneering,
dowels, plugs, marquetry, and other techniques.

Below are photos of two tea boxes. I used plugs as a decorative

Technical Details


There’s a tool that fits in the drill press that is called a plug cutter.

It makes tapered plugs, maybe 3/8”long. After making the
plugs, I used dividers to lay out evenly the placement of the holes.
A divider looks like a compass but it has two points instead of one
reserved for a pencil. I then fit the plugs in the drilled holes and
trimmed them flush.


Design Considerations


I used the contrasting wood, wenge, for the plugs. I veneered the
panel in the lid. Ordinarily, I use a contrasting wood for veneering,
but I found using mahogany from the same board as I did for the box
worked well for these tea boxes.


Indulge in some fine tea and consider one of my hand-crafted tea boxes.


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