Traditional Box Projects - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

The author’s breezy writing style and the book’s excellent photos add up to an enjoyable read


Traditional Box Projects

Purdy presents eight classic boxes (oval bandsaw box, Shaker candle box, simple dovetailed box, walnut display case, fumed oak humidor, shaker lap desk, stacking book box and jewelry box) where each gets its own chapter with a thorough discussion on stock preparation, a materials list, a discussion of the choice of woods, building instructions and tips, a dimensioned exploded drawing, lots of illustrative photos, jigs where applicable, and finishing tips.
If I have any reservations about the book it’s the author’s assumption that his readers will have a well-equipped workshop at his/her disposal. The truth of the matter is that quite a few hobby woodworkers won’t have a jointer, bandsaw or drill press. Perhaps Purdy could have included some alternatives to using power tools.

I also wish Purdy had made mention of how important it is to fine-tune this equipment. For example, a table saw which can rip boards for a backyard fence may not be set-up nearly well enough to make the kind of precision cuts that would be needed for these projects. Similarly, the small, plastic miter fence that usually comes with a table saw usually isn’t up to the task of cutting precise 45 or 90 degree angles. The same goes for the bandsaw and jointer. Sharpness of the blades, the angle of the fence to the table, play in the miter slot, the setting of jointer blades, etc. will all play significant roles in how well a box will go together.
That said, the author’s breezy writing style and the book’s excellent photos add up to an enjoyable read. Although I didn’t make any of the boxes in the book, I think that each chapter (representing one project) is sufficiently detailed that a wood worker with average skills could produce a very nice finished product.
Whether it’s a tea box, a pencil case, a jewelry box or a shadow box for keepsakes, there is something about a small wooden box that seems to appeal to many of us. Apart from practical considerations like the organization, protection and storage of items, for woodworkers, it’s an opportunity to showcase their skills on a small-scale project.

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  • Introduction
  • Oval Bandsaw Box
  • Shaker Candle Box
  • Simple Dovetailed Box
  • Walnut Display Case
  • Fumed Oak Humidor
  • Shaker Lap Box
  • Stacking Book Box
  • Jewelry Box
  • Metric Conversion Chart
  • Resources
  • Index
PUBLISHER:Taunton Press
AVAILABLE FROM:Your local bookseller or online
FORMAT:Softcover, 288 pages
AUTHOR:Strother Purdy
Reviewed by Gerry Tsuji, September 2010
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