Beautiful Boxes
Design and Technique
by Doug Stowe

Softcover
215 x 275mm
170pp

Published by The Taunton Press, Connecticut, USA.

R.R.P.$34.90

ISBN 978-1-62113-955-3

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A Swivel-Lid Box


A Lift-Lid Rectangular Box


A \/eneered Box


A Jewelry Presentation Box


A Bracelet Box


A Finger-Jointed Chest


A Jewelry Box


A Magnetic Tower of Boxes

 

As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 180

Boxes have a special fascination for many woodworkers - and for good reason.

Despite the fact that most boxes are small and can be made in even a very modest workshop, they can provide enjoyment for woodworkers of every level of knowledge and skill.

There are designs so simple that the least experienced novice can expect to achieve a worthwhile result, though the vast body of designs present a greater challenge.

This challenge increases with both the complexity of construction and the precision with which the work must be executed.

The boxes in this book fall well towards the upper end of this scale. Their construction is described by an author who has written several books on the subject (four are currently in print), who is author of a DVD which is regarded as one of the best in its field and who has established a private school of box-making.

There are 10 box projects in the book, all with suggestions for alternative designs.

The first is a Swivel Lid Box - not as you might expect, a box with a simple swivel top, but one on which the top is in two parts that swivel separately, but which must both move when opening the box.

The directions are straight-forward, divided first into tasks, then into numbered steps. The text is accompanied by a couple of exploded drawings and clear, well-lit photographs.

The same presentation is adopted for the all of the projects.

Project 2 is a Lift-Lid Rectangular Box. Again, this is not an ordinary box. The corners are mitred and re-inforced with angled splines. Here, the author adds comments about the way in which the line of grain should travel around the corners of a box to 'tell the viewer that a craftsman’s care was applied to its making'.

Digressions such as this are scattered throughout the book. They include instructions for making ancillary equipment such as a Mitre Sled and a Keyed Mitre Guide as well as advice on topics as diverse as Clamping Mitred Corners and making a dye for wood from steel wool and vinegar.

The next three projects are a Veneered Box, a Jewellery Presentation Box and a Bracelet Box. These are followed by a Finger-Jointed Chest with a hinged lid.

Among the variations which are suggested for this Chest is the addition of a drawer. As with all of the other variations in this and the other projects, the author provides detailed guidance for the additional work.

The penultimate project is a Jewellery Box which has a top lid allowing access to a divided, fixed tray as well as a drawer in the bottom of the case.

The final project is a Magnetic Tower of Boxes which Doug Stowe calls an exploration of balance and symmetry. The five individual boxes sit on top of each other, captured in place by rare earth magnets and are supported by a mitred base and topped by a mitred frame and panel lid.

All of the project designs are interesting, some are stunning. The book will appeal to anyone wanting to extend their skill level in box-making and learn techniques which they can then apply to other boxes including those of their own design.

Photos: Colour

Units of Measurement: Imperial

Contents

Introduction

A Swivel-Lid Box
- Unity and Contrast
- Design Option: Make a Straight-Cut Lid
- Design Option: Build a Hardwood Variation

A Lift-Lid Rectangular Box
- Line
- Design Option: Explore Shape and Keep Secrets

A \/eneered Box
- Color
- Design Option: A l\/lix-and-Match Lid
- Design Option: Add Accents and Borders

A Jewelry Presentation Box
- Effective Surprise
- Design Option: Make a Mitered Variation
- Design Option: Angle the Sides
- Design Option:Think Inside the Box

A Bracelet Box
- Rhythm
- Design Option: More Ways to Add Rhythm

A Finger-Jointed Chest
- Proportion
- Design Option: Add a Drawer
- Design Option: Include a Sliding Tray

A Jewelry Box
- Texture
- Design Option: Color with Milk Paints
- Design Option: Make a Dovetailed Variation
- Design Option: Carve a Jewelry Box

A Magnetic Tower of Boxes
- Balance and Symmetry
- Design Option: Scale It Up or Down
- Design Option: A Twisting Maple Tower

Design Gallery
Resources
Metric Equivalents