Box making has been around since the time of the Egyptians. While popular with enthusiasts, box making also helps professional woodworkers hone and perfect core woodworking skills – refining fundamentals in veneering, dovetailing, routing, etc.

Dennis Zongker, among the foremost box makers (he won a CWB’s Design Portfolio Award last year), has distilled some of his 28 years of knowledge into Wooden Boxes: Skill Building Techniques for Seven Unique Projects (348 pages, The Taunton Press, $24.95). This coffee-table quality how-to book has step-by-step instructions that will prove invaluable even for pros. The carving, marquetry, segmented turning, routing inlays and veneering methods explained in the book are used at Zongkers Custom Furniture Inc., launched in 1989 by Dennis and his brother Dan.

Featured recently in the Omaha World-Herald, the eight-employee Zongkers furniture and cabinet shop specializes in carving and marquetry in particular, which are given full expression in the amazing liturgical furniture the company produces. Religious groups will spend liberally for the high quality required for sacred objects, such as a hand-carved claw-footed table that could bill 320 hours at $45 an hour, Zongker says.

Zongkers became a Government Services Administration vendor in 2006, which allows the company to bid on work from federal agencies. Zongkers has done work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NASA, and even for the CIA and FBI.

Lately the company also has been producing classic-style conference tables, but updated to accommodate all the wiring and access needed for electronic communications equipment.

Dennis Zongker also welcomes local high school woodshop students for in-service training, marketing not only his company, but also woodworking as a potential career

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