WoodCentral's Book Reviews
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Box Making

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Box Making
by Doug Stowe

Taunton Press: 2004
Paperback, 149 pp., $24.95
ISBN 1-56158-593-9

     Doug Stowe admits that no book about box making could ever really be complete, because creative designs in box making are as limitless as the imaginations of the people making them. He has, however, generously covered the basics and provided guidance on techniques to produce many designs of boxes.
     Beginning with tools and materials, the author advances through basic joinery, dealing with lids, box feet and bases, interiors, hardware and decoration. Plans are given for many sleds and jigs used in box production. There is a router table mortising jig, a sled for cutting slots for keyed miters, zero clearance inserts for both the tablesaw and router table, and designs for push sticks, hold downs and featherboards.
     When discussing materials, Stowe gives instructions on wood movement, grain matching and jointing and planing techniques. He shows resawing methods, how to face plane a board by hand and the basic rules of edge gluing. All the techniques presented are done in step by step color photos, and the book is fully indexed for quick reference.
     With all the different methods presented, this is as much a course on fine woodworking in miniature as it is specifically on box making, though every illustrated woodworking technique leads to a beautiful box. A wide variety of drawers, frame and panel lids, chip carving and inlay, bentwood boxes and turned boxes are all illustrated. If this book doesn't fire up your imagination to start designing your own projects, I truly don't know what will.

. . . Barb Siddiqui