Published by The Taunton Press, Connecticut, USA.
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 152
The late Les Miller was a well known and highly respected teacher of woodworking. During his long association with The Australian Woodworker, he was often heard to say that 'if you can make a frame, you can make anything'.
While making a frame to his standards was, perhaps, rather more difficult than many novices might expect, it certainly appeared true that when his students had mastered the making of a wooden frame - particularly one jointed by hand cut dovetails at the corners - they could tackle many other projects.
Among the first things that many wanted to make was a box. Not just any old box, but one that really benefited from their new found skills.
The most basic boxes are relatively simple to construct; they can be made in a limited space with standard tools and small amounts of rare or unusual wood can be used to maximum effect.
However, it rarely takes long for the novice box-maker to realise that this segment of the craft offers the potential to make boxes that can become highly prized treasures - either to embellish the creator’s home or be given to a friend or relative.
Of course, to do this requires a significant amount of skill. In this book, Strother Purdy - a professional woodworker and teacher with more than 20 years experience and ex-editor of Fine Woodworking - provides an excellent guide to the acquisition of this skill.
His introduction is brief and to the point and may be summed up in his own words: First, make it well. Second, make it easy. Third, make it beautiful.
The Projects begin on page 4 with an Oval Bandsawn Box - refined, elegant and attractive. The accompanying text is crisp but comprehensive and the photos are carefully chosen to explain the work involved.
This style of presentation is continued throughout all of the remaining seven projects.
There is a Shaker Candle Box, with a sliding (pencil-case style) lid, embodying the neat, earthy design of this genre, a Simple Dovetailed Box (that is really simple since it has just two dovetails at its corners, though the lid is dovetailed too), and a Walnut Display Case with a glass top to view its contents.
There is also a Fumed Oak Humidor (a complex project with no less than 20 wooden components plus an inset brass lock and escutcheon), a Shaker lap desk, a stacking Book Box (together with two kinds of base to accept three of the boxes) and finally, a Jewellery Box. This too, is unusual, having five drawers flanked on either side by door covered panels to store items such as pendants and necklaces.
There are also boxed notes, separate from the general text, that deal with subjects such as Flattening Milled Stock, Making a Bench Hook, Lining a Box, Choosing Feet, Why Spanish Cedar? and Chip Removal.
Even those who have not yet made a simple box would be likely to gain from this book, but it appears to be principally directed at those who have already tried box-making and are seeking to extend and improve their skills.
Units of Measurement: Imperial
Oval Bandsaw Box
Shaker Candle Box
Simple Dovetailed Box
Walnut Display Case
Fumed Oak Humidor
Shaker Lap Desk
Stacking Book Box