Craftsman Style Bookends: Episode 1

Bookends Keyframe EP 1

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Laying out and cutting the dovetails makes a sensible starting point to the project. Paul shows how to cut them in and out of the vice, being careful not to tear out and to get crisp pin recesses. The pins can then be laid out in the other piece, then cut and the dovetails fitted.


  1. ronald on 11 January 2017 at 2:30 pm

    sorry it showed up now
    Ron H

  2. Mark Hawkins on 11 January 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Sorry about that, Ron. It should all be working as normal now.

  3. Michael Barnes on 11 January 2017 at 3:41 pm

    The machine noise in the background is really quite distracting and annoying, I can’t imagine how bad it must be in the actual room.

    • Philip Adams on 17 January 2017 at 9:55 am

      Hello Michael (and others),
      Sorry for the noise in the background. The site where we are based houses a number of woodworking businesses. Removing the noise in editing produced unwanted problems, but we are taking short and longer term steps to decrease and eliminate background noise.
      Thank you for your patience,
      Woodworking Masterclasses Team

      • Alan on 11 November 2017 at 1:52 am

        Filming/recording out-of-hours (early mornings, evenings, Saturday, Sunday) might have solved the noise issue.

  4. richardlee on 11 January 2017 at 3:52 pm

    What oil do you use on your saw plate? Is it 3 in 1?

  5. kmoffe62 on 11 January 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Great video as usual. Still working on my work bench but can’t wait till its finished so I can start on projects like this.

  6. Nir on 11 January 2017 at 4:34 pm

    That bent chisel…oooh. 🙂

    • edwardsk28 on 11 January 2017 at 5:25 pm

      The sander noise in the background is mildy distracting and annoying, but every time I hear it, it reminds me why I choose to use primarily hand tools. Much more enjoyable process and I’m sure everyone here would agree. Also I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed Paul’s bent chisel. But as he often says “it probably bothers you more than me” haha

  7. Michael van Zadelhoff on 11 January 2017 at 6:10 pm

    When driving the dovetails home there is, like Paul said, a possibility of splitting the wood. It happens to me on occasion and not only with dovetails but also with m&t. What can you do when this happens? And i mean splitting without breaking pieces off. My own answer would be to open it up a little and poure some super glue in it. Is that the right way to solve the mistake? Replacing a part is not always convenient to say the least.

    • david o'sullivan on 11 January 2017 at 7:53 pm

      this has happened to me in the past .i wouldn’t try open it up for super glue you can do more damage . with dovetails i would leave it ,especially if it still in tact.i have done so and the you can’t tell there is even a split .as for mortice and tenon i’am not so sure you don’t say if it is tenon or mortice but what i do know is if you are chopping a mortise into the pith area of your wood it can easily split a this is a high fracture area

    • Sandy on 11 January 2017 at 11:52 pm

      I’ve done that myself as most everyone has. Personally, I have put a little preasure on it to open the split and forces wood glue into it and then clamped. I have also closed a split by clamping across when final assembly is done. When you force the peaces together it will inevitably force glue down into the split. Put a clamp across and leave it over night. It works for me!

  8. Eddy Flynn on 11 January 2017 at 7:20 pm

    these would make a great gift ,every time i heard Paul say “i’m listening” i was expecting him to say (to those ###### machines)

  9. knightlylad on 11 January 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Thank you for the lesson.

  10. rayc21 on 11 January 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Enjoyable video. Looks a nice project for a gift, maybe.

  11. joeleonetti on 12 January 2017 at 2:44 am

    Thanks Paul. Could you please elaborate a bit more on the decision process you use to determine how many dovetails, how wide they are, and the spacing spacing between them? Also, you seem to prefer 1:7. I also see 1:6 and sometimes 1:4 talked about. Are there any pros and cons as to which you should use?

    • Jean-Christophe Groussin on 13 January 2017 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Joseph.
      I belive 1:7 to be a compromise. Historical recommendation were either 1:6 or 1:8. Both with valid arguments. I think Paul mentions this in his YouTube video about the dovetail template. A slight change of pitch requires the same approach and technique. I think it is a matter of trying to appreciate the operation and aesthetic results.

    • Farred on 15 January 2017 at 8:31 pm

      I think it is a matter of preference and strength. Too wide of tails and it looks odd, too small creates a lot of extra work. I try to make the pins small enough that no one can mistake them for machine-cut :), but not so small that they might break during fitting or use. I use wider pins for softwood. Also, I use a divider to space them out rather than measure. Many woodworkers use this method; Rob Cosman has a demo online somewhere.

  12. beach512 on 12 January 2017 at 4:41 pm

    I have seen Paul cut dovetails many times, but each time I learn something new.
    I realized this time I have to slow down.

  13. joeuu on 13 January 2017 at 6:02 am

    Maybe because the dovetails in this project are not too critical, but Paul went away from starting the chopping a couple of mm’s back from the knife wall so as not to move it?

    • Philip Adams on 16 January 2017 at 4:58 pm

      Hello @joeuu,
      This is very dependant on the wood being used and how it feels when chopping them. Also depends on the size of the dovetails/recesses. Does that make sense?
      Best, Phil

      • Sven-Olof Jansson on 18 January 2017 at 1:32 pm

        Hej Phil,
        With all known apologies for being blatantly brutally blunt: no, it does not make sense with less that one knows what those factors are and how they influence the choice of chopping method. Providing the information, together with the experience on how to overcome any obstacles, within a project using more difficult wood (cf Toolbox project) should make for a good class, I believe.
        Cheers /soj

        • Adam on 29 October 2019 at 4:27 am

          I reckon he means that if the wood is softer, more likely for the knife wall to be moved, then you’d start further out. And as far as the size of the dovetails/recesses goes, if large and you can use a wide chisel, this will be less prone to moving the knife wall. Whereas a smaller recess and narrower chisel would be much more prone to moving the knife wall. I hope that makes sense and is indeed what was meant! Please correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s how I understood it.

          Regards Adam

  14. Sandy on 13 January 2017 at 6:24 pm

    This is a very good project for a new woodworker. One of my friends has just started buying a few tools and He needs a good basic project. This one fits the bill.

  15. deanbecker on 19 January 2017 at 3:35 am

    You notice he repeatably said the wood was hard. He may have felt it would withstand the closer chopping. It really doesnt matter where you start it matters how hard you chopwhen you start. . I think anyway.

  16. mxbroome1 on 26 January 2017 at 1:29 am

    Pencil sharpener? Tsk, Tsk.

    • Philip Adams on 27 January 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Paul stopped using a chisel to sharpen his pencils as the lead blunts the chisel and residue can mark the wood. Beginners tend to use quite a bit pencil up when sharpening as well (:

      • mxbroome1 on 28 January 2017 at 3:10 pm

        I figured it was a grandchild s gift who would have been disappointed to not see their gift in the videos.?

  17. ted clawton on 25 May 2018 at 7:28 am

    Why no coping saw? I believe I’v seen Paul use it for dovetails before

  18. Jim Staton on 19 October 2019 at 1:04 am

    You have shown us how to make a joiners mallet but I never see you use one. Is there a reason? If so then why make one?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Alan on 20 October 2019 at 5:18 am

      Paul makes traditional wooden mallets for several reasons;
      To complete his numerous Traditional Tool Chests (family heirlooms?).
      To gift to students attending classes (he makes them while the class is busy, if no-one needs his help for a while).
      And to show us how it’s done.

      Paul prefers the weight, size, and agility of his Thorex Hammer. It has a hard side (white) and a soft side (grey). The heads are replaceable too, when worn out and chewed-up. Paul has used both types, and shown us both types. It’s for us to decide whether we want the one, the other, or both.

    • Izzy Berger on 22 October 2019 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Jim,

      Paul says:
      The joiners mallet is a tool many woodworkers enjoy using, and indeed I used one for 40 years. I like the center of percussion (COP) I get from the Thorex hammers. In baseball and cricket they call this the sweet spot. It’s that point where everything is so centered, and indeed you do get this with regular wooden mallets, but the bulls eye is a lot smaller on the Thorex.

      Kind Regards,

  19. mr john tutton on 19 October 2019 at 4:58 am

    on both videos kept stopping never had this before on your videos really disappointing .

    • Alan on 20 October 2019 at 5:55 am

      John: If you haven’t watched a video, or download a large file, for a while, your Internet speed may have slowed automatically. Internet Providers do this routinely to save Bandwith for other customers. Your speed may, or may not, pick up again automatically. Resetting you router (Off-Wait-On) usually resets that.

      You may have a background PC tasks (Upload/Download) that you’re unaware of. A cloud back-up or program updates?

      You might have chosen a busy period (5pm-9pm), or coincided with a popular online sporting event, or your ISP may have had higher priorities…

      Telephone companies may have rerouted you during maintenance.

      Pausing the video for a few minutes, will allow your PC to buffer content ahead of where you’re watching. Your PC will overcome download delays before you view that portion.
      Try reducing Resolution to 720, 360, or AUTO (self-calibrating).
      Change from Wi-Fi connected to hard-wired Ethernet Cable.

      The causes are complex and there’s many solutions to try. It almost-certainly isn’t WWMC’s fault. Their video was pre-recorded, edited, and uploaded to website servers. Any delay is between numerous Service Providers and your own PC.

      Hope that helps 😁

    • Izzy Berger on 21 October 2019 at 8:33 am

      Hi John,

      I’m sorry to hear you were having trouble watching this.

      I have emailed you directly so we can try to get this working for you!

      Kind Regards,

  20. Keith Walton on 19 October 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Is the metal base absolutely needed? Is the fear that they would topple or just that they would slide away?

    • Alan on 20 October 2019 at 4:58 am

      Keith: The metal bases sit beneath the first three or four books at each end so the weight of those few books holds the bookend firmly in place, preventing the bookend from sliding outwards or toppling over, as it would with heavy or tall volumes.
      This is particularly important when the books are on an open shelf, or when you have e.g. a delicate ornament adjacent to a row of heavy books.
      You could put silicone feet on each bookend, but heavier and tall volumes can overcome the friction and move it.
      Also, when you remove a book, there’s a domino effect as the remaining books cascade sideways. The metal plate weighed-down, counteracts that.

    • YrHenSaer on 20 October 2019 at 9:39 am

      No, not essential; if you choose to, the metal plates may be omitted.

      Plenty of book-ends have been made over decades without a metal anchor plate, but it’s good refinement for modern books that lack stiffness.

      Solid, hard-backed books with a good edge-thickness tend sit upright and not lean sideways and exert side forces as some rather more pliant paperbacks do. The rationale of these bookends is to sit tight to each end of a line of books and prevent them leaning – otherwise they support their own weight.

    • Izzy Berger on 22 October 2019 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Keith,

      Paul says they would slide away without this.

      Kind Regards,

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