Mark ( on January 17th, 2010

Next in the series of reviews of DVD’s from the SmartFlix Woodworking University, I’d like to review the DVD: Basic Box Making by Doug Stowe.  This DVD is one of many DVD’s produced by Taunton Press for Fine Woodworking.

boxmakingDoug Stowe is a woodworker from Eureka Springs, Arkansas and he has been known for his wooden box making for many years.  This DVD is a companion to his book: Basic Box Making and it covers the design and construction of  his boxes as well as many of the jigs and techniques that he uses to make them.

Box making is something that has always appealed to me.  The scale and scope of the work are such that beautiful and functional objects can be made with minimal material and in a relatively short time.  However, if you have ever made a wooden box, you quickly realize that a good deal of precision and detailed woodworking is required to execute one properly.  This DVD aims to demonstrate the skills and techniques required for every woodworker to do just that.

It is evident from this DVD that Stowe is a very good teacher.  He covers things carefully, and clearly, and in terms that a novice can understand.  However, that is not to say that the material covered in the DVD is elementary.  In fact, this is one of the better woodworking DVD’s that I’ve seen.  During the presentation of his box making techniques, Stowe covers the basics of wood movement and the stock preparation steps necessary to take rough stock to the point where the joinery can be cut for each box.  This info will benefit any woodworker in his or her quest toward any kind of woodworking project, not just wooden boxes.

Along the way, various jigs and techniques are covered as Stowe produces several elegant boxes made from domestic hardwoods.  Stowe actually takes the viewer through the construction and use of most of the jigs that he uses in his work.  Some of these are the: cross-cut, miter, box-joint and miter key sleds for the table saw and a spline cutting jig for the router table.  This is a big plus for viewers that may think that lots of expensive equipment is necessary to do accurate and precise work.  Stowe’s approach is decidedly low-tech but extremely effective.  This is evidenced in his discussion on jig building, including his router-table which is as simple and elegant as it gets!

The DVD also includes the construction of several box designs as well as discussions on sanding and finishing and hardware installation.  Stowe’s flipping story stick method for routing hinge mortises on the router table and attaching box hinges is worth the rental alone.  Throughout the DVD there are many other bits of knowledge from a seasoned woodworker/designer that are vary valuable in their own right – and as an added bonus the viewer gets to see how several beautiful boxes are made!  The designs that Stowe builds are a foundation for many other types of wooden boxes that can be made on the woodshop.  If you’ve ever considered making a wooden box this DVD is one that you should see.

Don’t forget, if you are a new customer and interested in renting these DVD’s, SmartFlix has offered readers of The Craftsman’s Path a $2 discount coupon for your use. Simply use the coupon code: CRAFTPATH when you check out!

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