Rob Cosman’s Wood-hinge Box

Occasionally, we receive DVDs in the Popular Woodworking mailbox. I enjoy watching the titles hoping to find that special jig or trick that I haven’t seen before. This morning I viewed “The Wood-hinge Box” by Rob Cosman.

Readers of Popular Woodworking should be familiar with Cosman. In the April 2006 issue (#154) Cosman explained the steps to houndstooth dovetails. For those of you who didn’t read the article, this variation of the dovetail certainly adds beauty to the joint and it adds strength as well.

Cosman’s foray into DVDs thus far have all been based around hand tools and perfecting their use. He’s released DVDs titled “Hand Cut Mortise and Tenon,” “Hand Cut Dovetails” and Hand Planing and Sharpening,” among others. See a listing of available DVDs as well as trailers for each at robcosman.com.

“The Wood-hinge Box” DVD focuses on building a great-looking box out of your scrap materials. Of course, if you don’t have “screaming” scraps (pieces that make you scream with delight because the grain is great) and want to buy lumber for your box, feel free to do so. Either way you go, you’ll end up with a primo box.

Cosman approaches the smoothing of the box pieces with , what else , a hand plane and shooting board. Watch carefully and you’re bound to pick up a tip or two during the process.

Next, you’re shown his finger-joint jig for cutting non-traditional finger joints. His results are varied spacing that better mimic dovetails. His jig is a router table that’s got a twist to it. Two routers are used instead of one and they’re set to work in tandem. They have to be swiveled to tweak the setup then locked for use. Cosman describes the process as tricky and leaves the routers set so he can return when building the next round of boxes. But, he does state that you can use a standard finger-joint assembly for the box. I like the two-router setup, which I’ve not seen before.

Far and away, the best technique shown is the wooden hinge. Cosman demonstrates the process to turn any lumber into a dowel that is then transformed into a hinge. This alone is worth the DVD. Sure he uses a special tool that you won’t have for part of the work. However, he shows you another method to do that job , and has the tool available at his web site if you would like the shortcut.

Overall, I found many interesting tricks and tips in this DVD. You’ll find those and I’m sure more when you watch. Now I’m looking for other places to use Cosman’s jigs and ideas.

— Glen D. Huey