A Bounty of Fine Box Designs
When it comes to great woodworking projects, it's hard to beat boxes. Using a minimal amount of materials, you can craft wonderful gifts or items for sale. And it's a great opportunity to use those pieces of special wood you've been hoarding.
The real trick to successful box making is coming up with the right designs. You want something that's attractive, of course, but you also need a design that suits your particular tools and abilities. In Box by Box, author and woodworker Jim Stack offers up plans for twenty-one boxes, along with step-by-step instructions for making them. They range from lovely, simple creations that a novice can make with just a few hand tools, all the way through designs with drawers and dovetail joinery that will provide experienced woodworkers with an exciting challenge.
The selection of boxes in this book offers something more than just lovely projects for woodworkers of every skill level. Taken as a whole, they actually provide a course in woodworking. If you were to begin with the first box'a very simple affair consisting of seven simply cut pieces of wood'and move right on through the book making each project one after the other, you would end up with a lot more than just a very nice collection of boxes. You would end up with a head full of hard-core woodworking knowledge, and hands that know what to do in the woodshop.
In the process of making these boxes, you'll learn how to lay out parts, match grain, saw shapes on the bandsaw, cut a wide variety of joints with the tablesaw, router, and handsaw, bookmatch veneers, glue and clamp up assemblies, install hardware, and even do a bit of decorative carving. All of the techniques are very clearly demonstrated in step-by-step fashion in carefully composed photographs. Cutlists are provided, and you get plenty of tips along the way to ensure that your project comes out as it should. Of course you'll pick up on a lot of nifty little tricks along the way, such as using painters masking tape on your pipe clamps to prevent them from staining your workpieces during glue-ups.
A Box for Every Reason
Another thing that's great about these particular boxes is that they're not just variations on a theme. Far from it. Leaf through these pages and you'll see arched-top boxes shaped like treasure chests, oval boxes, traditional boxes with dovetailed corners, a pyramid-shaped box with drawers, a box shaped like a circus tent, and a 20-sided sphere. (That's gotta be fun to assemble!) There's even a box that's modeled after a locking safe, which includes a shop-made tumbler mechanism.
Some of them are made to suit particular purposes. There is a lap desk, and a box to display collectible knives, with each resting in its own French-fit recess. There's a box for recipe cards, and one that includes a grid insert for organizing a collection of small items. A lovely dovetailed box designed to hold silverware is destined to become a treasured family heirloom. Of course you'll find a couple of very nice jewelry boxes too. All of it is attractive and sure to provide you with lots of your own design ideas as well.
Regardless of your woodworking experience, building these boxes will provide a world of fun and the opportunity to develop lots of new skills. In the process, you'll become a better woodworker'bit by bit, and box by box..