The Wood-Hinge Box
This instructional DVD by Canadian woodworker Rob Cosman is the first in a series of project videos that he plans to produce in coming months, building on the various fundamentals he has covered in his other popular hand-tool woodworking videos. It recently won a Silver Summit International Media Award.
The subject of this video, a deceptively simple little wooden box with a nearly-invisible wooden hinge, is a project that would appeal to just about any woodworker looking for a tasty gift item or a good use for precious scraps; but it is also a handy vehicle for Cosman to teach several hand and power-tool object lessons that can be applied to other projects as well. The Wood-Hinge Box shows Cosman's entire box-making process from start to finish in a logical series of steps, each showcasing its own jigs, tools and techniques. Each step is independently accessible from the chapter menu.
I was impressed with Cosman's delivery, which never seemed stiff or awkward. He is very clear and focused in his observations and explanations of not only the "whats" but also the "hows" and "whys" that surround his procedures; and at every step, he is careful to stress appropriate safety considerations. Two five-minute clips at the end of the video give more detailed information on constructing the dedicated router jigs he uses to make the box joints, grooves and coves in this project.
Though Cosman tends to be very meticulous and methodical, I found his techniques and insights to be sound, well-informed and effective. With practice, they should easily become second nature to anyone willing to learn them. The jigs he uses - including a bench hook for planing small workpieces, a shooting board, a two-router fixture for making extremely accurate variable-spaced box joints, a simple jig using a plane iron and a power drill for making dowels, and another jig for drilling perfectly centered holes in the end of a dowel - are all simple, slick and foolproof. The wooden hinge feature is fairly involved to make but worth the effort, because it is very smooth running and almost invisible.
Production-wise, The Wood-Hinge Box is excellent. The videography is crystal clear and features many sharp close-up shots and well-planned camera angles that illustrate Cosman's procedures nicely. The editing, for the most part, is quite professional but not overwrought. Overall, I found this DVD to be well-conceived and executed, with all the detail a beginner would need but with valuable lessons and insights for intermediate and advanced woodworkers as well.
. . . Ellis Walentine