Teapot warmer

project , published by Maarten Tromp

Summary

One day I was looking for a teapot warmer on the internet. My goal was simply to find one and buy it. But after seeing so many beautiful teapot warmers, I ended up wanting to make one myself. This sort of thing seems to happen to me all the time.

This teapot warmer is inspired by the one I had found on the internet. It's design is minimalistic, functional and open. To my surprise the one I had found was made of bamboo. I wouldn't have expected such a flammable material to be used for a teapot warmer, but it seems to work. Since that was apparently safe, I made mine out of some scrap plywood.

The base is a circular flat piece with 65 mm diameter. Around the base are 6 standing square pieces, with 50 mm sides, that support the teapot. The pieces overlap a little and are glued together. This leaves a free space in the centre for a tea light. We use long lasting tea lights, with are a bit higher than the typical ones, so the teapot warmer is made high enough to leave some free space between the top of the tea light and the bottom of the teapot. Corners are rounded, everything is sanded and that's it. All in all I spent more time searching the internet than building the teapot warmer.

We used the teapot warmer for a couple of weeks and it worked well. It did exactly what we expected of a teapot warmer, until one day we came home after a short walk and noticed a burnt smell. Upon investigation it turned out the stands of the teapot warmer had started charring. Luckily the tea light had gone out and nothing had caught fire, but this gave us a good scare. We immediately retired this build.

What sometimes happens with these tea lights is that a bit of wick falls off into the liquid wax and forms a second wick. This produces additional heat, so after a while the liquid wax starts to vaporize. Then the vapour will start burning and tea light will be burning over the entire top surface, resulting in even more heat (and lots of soot). This was probably what had happened that day and that was more than the poor wooden teapot warmer could take.

So what have I learned? When in doubt, do not use flammable material in close proximity of fire.