DIY: Tea Boat

Unfortunately, draft and account problems persist, and I didn’t really have the willpower to completely retype this post in Word knowing that I would have to then reformat it once I pasted it into wordpress… So that’s this month’s excuse for delays.

I’ve wanted a tea boat for a while, something more portable and smaller than my (admittedly tiny) tea tray. However they tend to be very pricey, with the lower price-bracket being dominated by one design.

So I’d been thinking of making my own for a while; my first thought was simply to keep an eye out at thrift shops for a large saucer that would fit my gaiwan and teapots. And I did eventually find one, when I wasn’t actively looking for it; unfortunately it was at a cash-only shop, and I had none. I returned the next day with a loonie, and it was gone.

$3 bowl from Value Village.

I eventually picked up a simple bowl for $3 at value village, with the idea being to suspend some wood across it, inspired a bit by this Mirka Randová design: Here, and here.

Wood plank, original versus shaped.

Wood plank, original versus shaped.

Shaped inset.

So I picked up a pack of wood planks from the dollar store ($2), and then using the tools I had at home cut one down and shaped it to fit just inside the lip of the bowl I’d chosen.

Holes drilled.

From here I drilled some drainage holes, since the wood I’d gone with was wider than I’d planned, and I was afraid the water would just end up pooling on top of the wood rather than flowing off the sides. The holes I planned to make larger (where needed), but initial tests saw they drained fine, so I left them. However…


The wood I used was much thinner than I’d originally planned, so it didn’t fit as snugly within the inside of the bowl to prevent it from sliding around a bit (not enough contact with the sides). I’ve alleviated this by using hot glue to add little ‘stoppers’ to the inside rim of the bowl; they don’t hold the wood up, they just prevent it from slipping farther than it should. That said hot-glue doesn’t stick to glazes very well.

The bowl I chose was smaller than I thought it was—it only fits my gaiwan, but not my teapot (which is already quite large anyhow, so not a problem to future, smaller pots). But the handle and spout overhang a bit, meaning the bowl doesn’t perfectly catch everything unless I’m ridiculously careful.

The result is I end up having to be just as careful while using the boat as I would be if I were just pouring on my table without a tray at all, which is not really what I was going for. I guess I’m just too clumsy.

Still, for a first-attempt, I’m pretty proud of it and I have been using it on-off at my desk for tea. Excuse the wavering quality of photos… Between my Cheap Camera and my Cheap Cellphone Camera.

1 Comment

  1. Interesting. I never thought about doing my own tea boat.
    Mmm. Something I should perhaps give some thoughts to.

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