Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Box Making

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by: Doug Stowe

Topics include: barbed hinges, flipping story, bandsawn box, quadrant hinges, integral feet, safety blocking, crosscut sled, inlay strips, barrel hinges, router table, stationary belt sander, bridle joint, splined miter, miter gauge, lock miter, tenoning jig, rabbet joint, sanding disk, assembled box, cut dovetails, cove cut, drum sander, hinge mortises, scrap stock, marking gauge

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Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Taunton's Complete Illustrated guide to Box Making presents both small and large projects. This book covers how to create boxes in different shapes, Japanese puzzle boxes, and band-sawn boxes. 500 color photos are featured in this clear and comprehensive woodworking guide.

The Maker's Art --
Box making is a microcosm of woodworking. Machining the wood, shaping, turning, joinery and every form of embellishment are involved, and the small size allows the use of precious woods that are beyond the means of most weekend furniture makers. As well as opening the craftsperson to an incredible diversity of design possibilities. Box making is a form of artistic expression that can bring out the best of the woodworker, and hone all the skills that create excellence in the macro world as well.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I have a yen to make boxes - small, prizewinning works of art that might be the comfort of my old age. But first, I have to learn how. How to jump the gap between a satisfactory maple kitchen table and these little containers with their high 'wow' factor. Hence my acquisition of Doug Stowe's tidy monograph on Box Making.

This is one of Taunton's 'Complete Illustrate Guides to...' As series of beautifully made books that are often a pleasure just to hold and look through. Once again Taunton sets a very high standard. As always, the discussion starts out with a discussion of tools and jigs, then materials, joinery, lids, bases, interiors, hardware, and decoration. A final section introduces shaped boxes.

While Stowe only occasionally takes you through the details of making a particular box, he delves deep into the hows and whys, in the tradition of this entire series. The result is that the reader comes to grasp box making conceptually rather than simply learning to mimic. I find this combination of practical advice and idea building the best way to get excited about a project. Even as I write I'm thinking about a small pile of rosewood that is sitting in my shop, beckoning.

A Well Written and Complete Guide --
When Taunton bills this book as "The Complete Guide..." they are not kidding. As a huge fan of the Taunton Press and of this series, I was prepared for all of the great detail that this book offers. I especially appreciated the organization of the book. All of the major components of a box, the joinery, the lid, the base and feet, hinges & hardware, and the interior all get detailed treatment within their own chapters.

My only complaint is that as a moderately skilled woodworker, I wasn't prepared for the over-simplistic first two chapters. Maybe I am being too critical, but to me it doesn't seem likely that most who are interested in box building would need information like "Tools for box building" and "Box making materials." In other words, if a person doesn't already have a shop and a basic collection of tools, they should not be starting with this book and thus why include this woodworking beginner information?

That is a minor irritation though. Overall this book is an excellent resource on the subject and it is deserved of Taunton's reputation for excellence. Highly recommended to all woodworkers interested in box building.


Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Box Making
Doug Stowe
Create, shape and finish boxes with beautiful results
Making small boxes is a favorite project for many woodworkers. While it may seem a simple process, there are many ways to build a box -- and in this comprehensive pictorial reference, veteran woodworker Doug Stowe covers all the techniques you will need to produce boxes you'll be proud of.

You'll learn about making boxes by using traditional carcase joinery or by shaping on the bandsaw or lathe. Stowe also covers special boxmaking techniques associated with making lids and bases, attaching them to the box, and partitioning boxes to hold small objects like jewelry. Additionally, there are a host of techniques for creating special effects that decorate a box, turning the small, useful object into a jewel itself.

This book covers all these methods in a highly visual format that has become the hallmark of the Complete Illustrated Guide series: Everything is covered in over 500 step-by-step photos accompanied with straightforward text.

About the author
Doug Stowe is a professional furniture designer and box maker. His work has been featured in national woodworking magazines and is the author of Creating Beautiful Boxes with Inlay Techniques and Simply Beautiful Boxes. He lives on a hillside overlooking Eureka Spring, Arkansas.

Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Box Making

Doug Stowe

Create, shape and finish boxes with beautiful results

1. Tools for Box Making
Creating Shop Space
Measuring and Marking Tools
Dimensioning Tools
Shaping Tools
Drilling and Boring Tools
Holding and Clamping Tools
Sanding Tools
Hand Tools
Noise and Dust
Safety and Accuracy Aids
Shopmade Jigs

2. Box-Making Materials
Rough-Milling Small Logs
Resawing Boards
Working Boards with Handplanes
Making Wide Panels
Making Thin Stock and Veneers

3. Box Joinery
Butt and Rabbet Joints
Miter Joints
Mortise-and-Tenon Joints
Finger Joints
Dovetail Joints

4. Lids
Basic Lids
Lids Cut From the Box
Sliding Lids
Joints for Frame Lids

5. Box Feet and Bases
Box Feet
Box Bases

6. Box Interiors
Dividers and Trays
Interior Drawers
Box Linings

7. Hinges and Hardware
Installing Hinges
Installing Locks
Shopmade Hardware

8. Decorating Boxes

9. Shaped Boxes
Bentwood Boxes
Turned Boxes
Bandsawn Boxes


Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Box Making

Doug Stowe

Create, shape and finish boxes with beautiful results

A wooden box. What could be simpler? Yet what could be more profound? Boxes have become an art form and a way in which thousands of craftsmen express themselves through wonderful works in wood. A wooden box is an expression of a complex relationship. The stuff that goes inside has had a role in inspiring the design. The material, wood, with its character, color, texture, and structural characteristics, has an age-old relationship to mankind, his culture, and his survival. To make a wooden box is to be connected to the whole of human history and to our natural environment. The pleasure we may find in making a box rests on the shoulders of our loving planet, the bounty of our forests, and the box makers who have built a tradition of caring work.

In 1865 my great-grandmother, at age 11, brought her precious possessions to the United States in a "tine" or cheese box made by an unknown craftsman in her village of Voss, Norway. It served in my mother's family as the place where family pictures were kept. Then, with its contents of photos distributed to others, the box was a part of my home as a youth, informing me of simpler days when a young man's or woman's most important things might fit in such a small space.

That this simple box could convey such meaning through more than a century tells me something important about the boxes we make. They need not be perfect to have great meaning. Make boxes for what they offer in learning. Make boxes with attention. Make boxes with love. Make boxes knowing that some may be held sacred by those you love and last generations beyond your own time.

Although this book is titled a complete illustrated guide, no book about boxes could ever be complete. The techniques used by the thousands of people making boxes could never be fully documented. In fact, it could never be complete without the inclusion of your work. In your box-making adventures, I ask that you experiment, make mistakes, and learn from them. Know that your work will become part of this large craft, this worldwide conversation, for future generations to discover and enjoy.

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