Saturday, March 17, 2018

prices for boxes???

I got an inquiry from a reader and box maker who wonders how to price the boxes he makes. If you are inclined to sell your work there are many things to take into consideration, and I cannot make suggestions on the suggested price of an individual craftsman's work.

Is it one of a kind, or have you made an attempt to produce larger quantities? Of course boxes efficiently made can be sold at a lower price than your first box in which all your learning was required.

What is the quality of the box you've made? Will it hold up through time? Is it finely finished? What are its unique features? What woods are you using? Does it tell a story that resonates with the folks it comes into contact with?

Where and how are you trying to sell your work? Is it in a gallery or museum store? Or at your local farmer's market? Are you selling wholesale, or direct to customers? Is your time worth something as you sit in a craft show booth attempting to sell your work?

A good strategy is to consider the cost of the materials, the cost of overhead, and the cost of time. Then take into consideration, the cost of selling your work. Even if you are selling wholesale and are not selling direct to customers, there are costs involved. Even if you are selling your work to customers directly through craft shows, there are direct and indirect costs that affect the bottom line on box pricing.

The wisest words on all this are from Otto Salomon, early proponent of Educational Sloyd. He said that the value of the carpenter's work is in the usefulness of the object the carpenter makes. The value of the student's work, on the other hand, is in the student. It is in the growth of character and intelligence of the individual involved. It may make sense from that standpoint, to not worry about selling work, and to bask in the other benefits box making can provide.

Many box makers give their work to those they love. It is a simple thing that pays greatly.
the boxes in the photo are mitered finger-jointed boxes. The finger joints were formed using the new Leigh Box Joint and Beehive Jig that routs both 1/2 in. and 3/4 in. finger joints.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

mitered finger joints...

I have an article on making mitered finger joints on the website at this link:

The mitered finger joint is an interesting technique that allows the use of inlaid bandings on the top edge of a box. It also offers a slightly cleaner look to the top edge of a box and allows the cutting of grooves for floating panels to fit, using the table saw instead of the router.

Please watch for my article on Box Joints Made Easy in the current issue (April 2018) of Fine Woodworking.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Box Maker's Guitar Book

If you go to, you'll find my new book priced at around $65.00. If hoping to buy before Christmas, please go direct to the publisher instead using this link:

The point of this book is the making of box guitars, but in this case, the reader gets to make hi or her own box.

My box making videos

I get regular messages from beginning box makers, concerned that my box making videos are no longer available on  My carefully crafted videos had been put on youtube illegally to gain advertising revenue for pirates in violation of my rights and the rights of their producer Taunton Press. So while I apologize for the inconvenience, there are other ways to gain legitimate access to the information. The videos can be accessed through membership in the FineWoodworking website , or downloaded for a small fee from

Taunton Press is having a Christmas sale. Customers can use the code Gift20 to get 20% off on all orders. This is a great chance to save on my books and books by other great authors! In addition they are offering a special package deal on my book Basic Box Making and the related DVD for a special price of $23.94. Use the discount code of Gift20 for an even greater holiday savings.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

a minimalist router table

A reader asked where to find plans for my minimalist router table that has been featured in my books and articles over the years. It can be downloaded from the Fine Woodworking website here:

While many woodworkers work days to make the perfect router table, mine, which has been in use for over 30 years was made in minutes, allowing me to get right to work.

As with many aspects of my work, I'd not set out to make something different. I was simply trying to do something with what I had at hand. Yesterday I met with the elementary school teachers at Clear Spring School to begin planning our woodshop activities with first through sixth grades. Today I will go shopping for walnut.

Make, fix, create, and increase the likelihood that others learn likewise.

Friday, August 4, 2017

barbed hinges..

I was asked if there are simple ways to set up to install barbed hinges. The point is not to have a simple means but one that works, and the set up is not all that simple. As a jig for the drill press I made this:
It is made from plywood and with its built in slide, it carries the box smoothly into the cut. Stop blocks must be added to accurately and firmly position the box during milling, and it relies on a shaft and blade from the manufacturer of the hinge, Craft-Inc.

The point is that if you want to use these hinges effectively, you must make some investment in their use. It's not a matter of just buying something that works under all circumstances, and for that reason, these press in place hinges may not be the number one go to hinge for some box makers.

Once the jig is made, a process of fine turning for the right depth is required. The cut away photo at left shows how the hinge must fit the slot. And below you can see the jig mounted to the drill press and with cutter mounted in the chuck.

Make, fix, and create.

Friday, July 7, 2017

A source of supply

A student from one of my summer classes asked where to purchase 1/8 in. Baltic Birch plywood like we used in making boxes. He'd looked online, but found only very small pieces for sale and at high prices. The best option is to purchase Baltic Birch at your local lumber yard. It is available in 5 ft. square sheets, and if not on hand, they'll likely order it for you as they do for me at my local lumber yard.

My first two summer box making classes were full and are now past. I have two more coming up and  there are still openings in each. Beginning July 24 I have a week long class in making Pocket Boxes at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.  August 7-11 I have a class in Creative Box Making at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking.

I frequently get questions about my teaching schedule, and these two classes are what remain. Join me if you can.

A woodworking club in Minneapolis asked if I could take a video of myself to help them sell their members on a proposed class in November. Self-produced video is out of my line, but I referred them to a video interview produced by friends, Murdo Laird and Nancy Paddock.

The photo shows drilling a sound hole in the top of a box guitar. I first fitted and glued a circle of walnut into a hole in the cedar top, and then drilled a smaller hole through it, giving the effect of an inlay. The loose piece at the center is scrap. Some sanding of the edges will finish the job.

Make, fix, and create.