Tea Set Transport Box

This is a work in progress, first ever laser cut design object.

The objective of the object is that I want to be able to transport my tea set (tea pot and cups) plus my kettle in a proper box. Also I want to use the box itself, when open, has a tea service set.

The project was design with Autodesk Inventor. I haven’t worked on the kerf calculation or more detailed design.

The main hinge between the cover and the main body is a lengthwise leather piece. The handle will also be a flexible leather handle and the cover will be closed by leather claps. The 2 drawers will be closed in someway (not defined yet). The two inside covers (the one over the kettle space and the one with holes in them) will also be movable in some way

All the pieces are made of wood (usually/probably 1/2 Russian birch panel) except for the “boat insert” which will be in acrylic. That piece is design to be taken out then back in (to empty the waste water during tea serving).

I would like comments on the design, but also on where I could improve (considering laser design) and also to beautify the object (I am no artist).
Assemblage total.obj (1.4 MB) or
Assemblage total.stl (565.1 KB)

Edit : Warning, I designed it in French first then translated, so there could be many language issue.

Edit 2 :New version 2
Assemblage total v2.stl (610.4 KB)
Assemblage total v2.obj (1.5 MB)


Great idea!
I have a large number of tea bowls and sets for everything from Cha no Yu through to Chinese Tea Ceremony and i have been lugging them around in the boxes i received them in… of all the things to make it never occurred to me to make a specialised carrying case for them.
For example: Macha Bowl, whisk and assorted implements (spoon, fan, napkins) for Cha no Yu

So obvious now you mention it, but i would not have thought of it if you had not!


Something like this would be interesting…
I would have to do it with laser, my carpentry skills are so poor i could not even pass them off as wabi sabi


I have looked at it but the problem is it’s not big enough to include the kettle, and the inserted handle must be custom (isn’t at all standard) But yes, I love that design.


that is an interesting mixture of styles there. The outside looks like it’s joined with some fancy dovetail joints, while the inside certainly looks like it’s made in the Greene and Greene style (The black “bumps” right where the top shelf meets the side support).

This would certainly be a doable project, but I’m not sure that I know anyone near me who would even know what this is for, let alone have a tea set like this to store.

1 Like

Here is the rest of the images for that tea box set, but since I am not going that road, I would like to bring back to the subject of my design (sorry for that)


It’s a great design, and should make a lovely box when it’s done. :grinning:

Few things left to figure out, and it’s entirely up to you which way you want to go with it. :slightly_smiling_face:

You have to think in terms of how you are planning to join the sides and bottom. A lot of people use standard box finger joints (they use the least material and are easiest to set up), but they can be unattractive and bulky unless you set them very small. A trick I use is to set the thickness of the joint to equal the thickness of the material - then you get a “string of pearls” effect with the edges that turns out rather nice in certain materials.

I would recommend that you consider designing for 1/8 or 1/4 inch material though, instead of 1/2". Half inch thick material is going to be extremely heavy for carrying a pot and a tea set, unless you are planning to use it as a step stool as well. (It would likely support your weight.) :smile: Even 1/4" might be too heavy.

If you decide to do dovetail joints though, that will probably require heavier material, and that can take a while to engrave down to depth. A long while.

There is a shortcut using a cut and a score and a chisel that I plan to look into - it looks like the smart way to do a dovetail with a laser - it’s going to be loads faster.

Dovetail box

Good job on the design…can’t wait to see the finished product. :grinning:


I was suggested 1/2 because 1/4, and even more for 1/8, would be to flexible of a panel in itself for having a transportable box. I haven’t looked to much into it but it felt logical. Is it the case? The teapot is in cast iron. and the two drawers would transport books and paper stuff.

Thanks for the finger joint visual spacing, I had not thought of it.

Unsure if I would use dovetail or not.

For the drawer and the interior covers, what method should I use to open them? In the drawing its a hole for the drawers, but I was maybe thinking of a leather strip sticking out? or something else. And how should I keep it closed while traveling?

Finally I still have the visual decoration issue, but that is totally an other subject (any artist/ object design mind that have an idea?) I was inspired for the inside cover design by Chinese window frame, but I don’t know if I should prolong it to the sides and the top cover?

Depending on how much the teapot weighs you might need to go with 1/4 inch. But you’d be surprised at how strong a small span of 1/8" is, when it is fixed on four sides, as it would be in your box design. If it’s a taller pot, as opposed to broad and heavy, it still might be possible. You might want to run a test with the Draftboard to see how it does.

I haven’t got any idea on the drawer and shelf questions yet…still too new at this myself. :smile:

You might want to look at some standard drawer construction videos on Youtube to see how to set up the supporting slats for that kind of thing. Or you could just slide it into the hole and have an attached handle for removal (your leather strap). The other thing to keep in mind is how you want to support the lid. You can have it fit snugly down into the outer box by using an inset rim (which gives a smooth exterior) or use hinges of some kind if you want it to be attached.

Let the exterior design tell you what it wants to do. (No, I’m not crazy.) A design will talk to you if you visualize it in your mind. :wink:



It’s the low-cost MDF style material that Glowforge sells. (About a third the cost of the Proofgrade.)

1 Like

i agree that a half inch seems unnecessary, but i do get the appeal of overbuilding.

one thing to keep in mind in re draftboard, given that it’ll basically melt around water you’ll need to make sure it’s finished and coated / painted, if you use it.


Ha! that. hey, considering where I live, I can’t plan on buying and using Proofgrade material. The cost being prohibitive even for Draftboard.

Oh, that’s too bad. Maybe some cheap MDF style material that you pick up locally then.

Going back to the thickness, if I change my design to using dovetail (just for the kick) how thick would you suggest?

I’m not a woodworker, just a fledgling wood designer. Some of the guys here could probably answer that a lot better than I could. I’d guess at least a quarter inch, maybe dovetails would require half.

It’s going to be awfully heavy with half inch wood though - it might limit your design options as well. Cutting through half inch wood with a laser, depending on the type of wood (although you can probably cut through birch), will probably require multiple passes, and the kerf that you create will be very wide. (Think slanted. Narrower at the bottom than the top.)

I’d definitely shoot for 1/4 inch to start out with. It’s going to be plenty strong for even an iron teapot, and you might get a better result with a cutout design. Especially a fancy one.

1 Like

A rule of thumb that I try and follow is, “The thinner the material the shallower the angle of the dovetail”.

I’ve seen dovetails on everything from thick beams to microscopic.

Half inch thick is not going to be too terribly heavy, depending on your material. I just made a large cajone out of 1/2" plywood that is about 13W x 13D x 18H. I can easily lift it with one hand.


New version with thinner wall and dovetail joints. Edited the first post to match new version