WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Basic Box Making

Basic Box Making
by Doug Stowe

Taunton Press: 2007
Paperback, 153 pp., $19.95
ISBN 1-56158-852-0

     This is Doug Stowe's fourth box-making book, and I believe it's his best. The photos are sharp and well lit, the text is linked to the photographs, and woodworking tips are sprinkled all through the basic procedures to ease every process.
     Stowe builds tablesaw and router table jigs for precise joinery, showing construction of miter sleds, support sleds for cutting spline slots, and a simple sliding jig to bed parts for cutting key slots. He teaches finger joints, hand cut dovetails, and lap joints. One box folds out in three tiers on aligned support arms done step by step. There are fitted box lids, hinged lids and sliding lids. The author tells how to arrange sliding trays so their supports can be removed in case alterations are needed for inner storage, and he uses a story stick to quickly align box lid hinges.
     For almost every box design presented, Stowe encourages design options to make the design one's own. He suggests planning a box 'from the inside out,' meaning planning for its contents before deciding on dimensions and outer shapes. He offers ideas for lid inlays with mixed materials such as stones or glass, and shows examples of carving, texturing, or adding shop made pulls to change a standard box. Such variety in design is what keeps woodworkers producing boxes, and authors producing books on boxes. From Doug Stowe you'll learn as much on general woodworking as on box making, and be able to carry over his hints and tips into other projects in your workshop.
     Taunton has also produced a companion DVD to show all of the author's procedures in live action. (Read the DVD review HERE.)

. . . Barb Siddiqui