Bedside Cabinet: Episode 2

Bedside Cabinet EP2 Keyframes .Still001

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The mortise holes are laid out with the aid of a router plane. Then the groove can be ploughed in the stiles and the mortises cut. Once the rails have been grooved, the tenons can be fitted and the frames come together.


  1. rayc21 on 22 November 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Several usage for the guide. Must cut one every new project. I tighten my plough plane slightly with players.
    Thanks for this one.

  2. nevynxxx on 22 November 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Is there a reason you left the door sides over long, but not on the side panels? That last shot showed the final effect off nicely.

    • Philip Adams on 23 November 2017 at 4:49 pm

      No particular reason. If I remember correctly, Paul didn’t have as much excess length. Just means it is harder and you have to be more careful when assembling and disassembling.

  3. ehisey on 23 November 2017 at 2:08 am

    I like the last litle bit os extras at the end. While not applicable in the intial construction part of the video, they are nice to help us in our construction of the frames.

  4. joeleonetti on 23 November 2017 at 4:20 am

    I really like the slight changes in editing with the extra voice over tips. Please keep it up. The tip about the piece of paper was very handy to slightly increase the mortise width.

    I have been struggling some on my plough plane (using new Veritas one if that matters). Could you please talk a bit more about how much the blade projects downwards? It seems as if minor adjustments in blade depth really impact at how well it works. Any tips you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

    • Philip Adams on 23 November 2017 at 4:53 pm

      Glad you are enjoying the new details we’re including. Plough planes can be tricky to set up. The depth of cut makes a big difference on effective use. I will mention it to Paul and add it to our list of videos to do.
      Best, Phil

    • Florian on 23 November 2017 at 9:37 pm

      Hi Joe, there is a lot of information regarding the use and set-up of plough planes on paul’s blog. What I found very useful is e.g. the easing of the edges of the iron to reduce tearing out of the walls of the groove etc.

    • joeleonetti on 24 November 2017 at 6:44 am

      Thanks to both for the feedback. I have watched what Paul has out there. I would really love something that shows a bit more detail on this. Like everything else with hand tools, I just try and spend as much time as possible at my bench doing. Two years ago I couldn’t saw straight or plane square. Both of those challenges have been solved. I am sure I will get the plough plane solved as well.

      On Tue I was at my local Woodcraft store. It turns out one of the gentleman there about Pauls age has been doing woodworking since he was young with hand tools and does private lessons. I plan to take some lessons from him. That will surely help and it will be money well spent.

      • jakegevorgian on 25 November 2017 at 8:56 am

        From my experience with the plough plane cutter depth—each wood specie varies. But I always tend to take lighter shavings (lighter set) that way my record plough plane doesn’t clog up for some reason plus I don’t have to fight with the wood (specially maple).
        It felt like these curly maple (was it maple?) Paul used had some challenging grain, so most likely light cutting set would be recommended.

    • Michael Ostrander on 17 December 2017 at 3:59 am

      I’ve struggled in the past with my Stanley #45 ploughing plane when cutting grooves. The depth of cut is not a critical as minimizing as much friction as you can. I know Paul loves his “oil in a can”, but I use candle wax. Apply it to the outer faces of both skates as well as the fence. Once prepared my plane glides through the cut quite effortlessly even with a very aggressive cut.
      Don’t forget that, Just like any other plane, don’t force the blade downward into the cut and keep the plane body square and vertical. Let the tool work for you and you should see better results.

  5. Florian on 23 November 2017 at 9:57 pm

    I used a mortice guide last week for a simple window frame. For the first time I realized that my chisels do taper from full width to minus a millimeter towards the handle starting at about an inch from the tip. If I am laying out for a thicker tenon and pare the mortice walls after chopping it doesn’t matter that the chop itself isn’t dead perpendicular. Just in case somebody else wonders why the chisel doesn’t look perpendicular although leaning against the guide.

  6. jakegevorgian on 25 November 2017 at 8:42 am

    Very good system, Paul. Speed and accuracy in handwork. I also like the new approach you guys have in the new series. Very minimal amount of tools, I think will make the enthusiasts feel comfortable with the tools they have. I don’t know who’s idea it is—it’s brilliant.

  7. kjellhar on 26 November 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Question to the team:

    At the end Paul measures the stock using a digital caliper to get the sizes “dead on”. The M&T system used relies on tight tolerances, but how tight. Paul is using the words “Exactly to size” from time to time, but since there is no such thing, I am wondering how close I need to be.

    If you want 20mm thick, are you happy with between 19.9 and 20.1mm, or is it 19.95 to 20.05mm? Getting it exactly to 20.00mm seems like a difficult task. That’s even difficult using CNC machinery and aluminium.

    • Philip Adams on 27 November 2017 at 12:55 pm

      @kjellhar, Paul aims to get his stock within 0.05 of a mm of the size he is aiming for when tight tolerances are necessary.

      • kjellhar on 29 November 2017 at 12:25 pm

        Thanks, this kind of info is really good.
        It is impossible to see what he means with “Dead on” and stuff like that on the video. All this would be easily settled when working in the same space.

        Since precision and accuracy is so important to this kind of work, maybe you would consider doing a small series on this topic. As I said, it is difficult to see on video on your normal camera setup, but maybe if you do it as a separate project you could film it really close up using more customized lighting.

        – How straight is a straight board?
        – When planing out cupping, how flat is flat enough?
        – Square corners. How square?
        – How square is your chisel after sharpening.

        And I guess there are more

      • Michael Ostrander on 17 December 2017 at 4:02 am

        Is this a typo? You mean 1/2 a millimeter, right?

        • Philip Adams on 19 December 2017 at 2:29 pm

          Hello Mike,
          For precision work, 0.5mm would leave quite a gap. So it is indeed a +-0.05mm tolerance that Paul is working to.

      • Ed on 25 March 2018 at 3:58 pm

        @filadams , in this project, did Paul use a jointer and/or surface planer for the bulk donkey work of the milling and then is just perfecting the milling with light passes of the handplane?

        • Keith Walton on 25 March 2018 at 6:55 pm

          Probably, as invested as I currently am in hand tool joinery, starting with machine milled stock just seems logical. I hope to be able to build the skills to dimension any biard by hand quickly, but I would never at the same time be against using accurately machined lumber to start if it’s accessible.

        • Philip Adams on 26 March 2018 at 4:26 pm

          @ed he did indeed mill most of the stock to thickness and width and sometime length by machine mostly using a thickness planer. Then all the surfaces are hand planed. He does occasionally like to take it from rough stock by hand, but we are so often pushed for time.

  8. Tom McCann on 27 November 2017 at 2:25 am

    How did he know I was looking for a router bit? 🙂

  9. Tom Davies on 13 December 2017 at 11:27 am

    The mortise guide makes sure your mortise is accurate in it’s width, but how do you ensure your mortise is accurate in size and position in its length? Normally there are knife walls to work to. Here it seems you are eyballing it using what is left of the lines on the inside face?

    • Philip Adams on 13 December 2017 at 3:43 pm

      You have to align the chisel with the pencil lines, which may not see as accurate but works well. The width is the more critical aspect for fit.

      • Tom Davies on 15 December 2017 at 11:15 am

        So having a bit of a loose fit in tenon/mortise length is ok, presumably because you adjust alignment during clamp/glue up, and rely on the glue to keep things rigid under shearing forces?

        • Philip Adams on 15 December 2017 at 1:43 pm

          I’d aim for a close fit, but you don’t want it to hold you off. The width of the mortise determined the tight fit of the joint over a wider face, that’s all.

    • Harvey Kimsey on 30 December 2017 at 2:44 am

      I use a 1/4” chisel to transfer the line to the bottom the groove, where you really want it. You could prep a thin piece of 5/16” wood, Square it on the end, and lay it in the groove to similarly transfer lines. Hope this helps….

  10. Harvey Kimsey on 30 December 2017 at 2:48 am

    We are having unusually cold, dry weather in Boston and I noticed the wooden base I made for my router plane has cupped. This greatly annoys me but I’ve decided to make a new one from hardwood plywood.

  11. Harvey Kimsey on 1 January 2018 at 10:10 pm

    I just rewatched this segment and really admire the intuitive way Paul lays out the mortises with a combination of ruler, but also using the existing stock for the rails. It instantly solves having to measure and transfer that measurement, which we know is prone to error. Really great video! Thanks

  12. Marc D on 5 February 2018 at 2:55 pm

    I post this in case anyone uses Narex mortise chisels…. they don’t play well with Paul’s system since they taper slightly along the length. So, a 5/16″ chisel will be that width only at the edge, and less along the length of the stem of the chisel. According to Narex: “The blade widths taper .030″ from tip to shoulder for sidewall clearance.” This is enough to result in a cut that isn’t plumb if the chisel is aligned against Paul’s guide. I try to compensate but it’s difficult. Using a regular bench chisel is a much better solution, or not use the guide at all.

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