Desktop Organiser: Episode 3

Desktop Organiser Episode 3 Keyframe

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Fitting the lid to the body of the box and marrying the surfaces results in a lid that fits properly in every way. But then there is the hinging, combined with the fielding that elevates the standard too. All of that means that the main quality of the other features are equal in every way. For the inside divider, between the top bin and the drawer beneath, Paul takes you, step by step, through a very simple method for precise fitting.


  1. Corné Gelderblom on 31 January 2020 at 11:54 am

    [You might not be square.] Paul: “Owww yeah, I was…”
    Great to see Paul having so much fun and taking so much pride in his work, even though this (for his skill level) is just a small and easy project.

  2. MIKE OBRYAN on 31 January 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Excellent! I couldn’t wait so I jumped ahead on the divider and the drawer. Previous builds made that possible! Thanks Paul.

    • drdee1280 on 2 February 2020 at 5:19 am

      I couldn’t wait either, i made mine after the intro video, lol. Talk about jumping ahead.
      Grooved the inside and made the divider integral with the box build which was very challenging. I thought that was going to be the lesson. Oh well, i did learn something.
      . Didn’t field the lid (didn’t notice it in the intro), but I used such highly figured crotch walnut that i doubt i could have done it. I had to pretty much scrape it flat (wouldn’t plane, not even with a back bevel iron/skewed cuts/wispy cuts/wetting with alcohol…nothing worked except a sharp scraper). Had a little stick of rosewood sitting around that worked for the drawer handle.

  3. ALLAN SOLOMON on 31 January 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Very good, one observation though. With soft brass screws I can not believe you never found a screwdriver to fit the slot properly. You noticed the first one did not suit and you chose another which was even worse, so you went back to the original one which did not fit!

  4. c fenton on 31 January 2020 at 2:14 pm

    “So I blame the screw.” I laughed out loud. I don’t know why we can’t hear the camera and sound crew snickering in the background every time Paul cracks one off. This is one of the many reasons I enjoy watching you work Paul. Love it!

    • Izzy Berger on 31 January 2020 at 2:35 pm

      It is sometimes quite hard for our filming crew to keep a straight face! 🙂

      Kind Regards,

  5. woodturner on 31 January 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Can you please let me know where you get your brass hinges and screws? Thank you.

  6. Bob Blarney on 31 January 2020 at 2:28 pm

    O000, that sounded so nice, didn’t it? ….. That didn’t sound nice.

    If that had been me, the box would have been on the floor and some harsh words might be spoken.

  7. John Crofts on 31 January 2020 at 2:46 pm

    This is a great little project that I may modify for cases to hold corded power tools, with the drawer for accessories.

    I have switched away from slotted screws where ever I can, and prefer square drive. I can get small brass square drive screws here in the US. Philips drive would be my second choice.

    I have a nephew that wants to get started in traditional (hand tool) woodworking, and he is watching this series of videos as well.

    Thanks for sharing these on you Masterclasses.

  8. willyd57 on 31 January 2020 at 2:51 pm

    I use toilet bowl ring wax to lubricate wood screws. It works fantastic! I take an empty deodorant dispenser and smush the wax into it. That way you can push the wax up as you need it, and put the cap on when your finished. One wax ring is enough to last for years, if no an entire woodworking career.

    • Alan Bithell on 1 February 2020 at 12:19 pm

      I’ve never been able to find one of those toilet sealing wax rings, but as someone who ties fishing flies I know it is also sold for that purpose, as BT’s Sticky Fly Tying wax, already in one of the telescoping dispensers.

  9. Eric Lundholm on 31 January 2020 at 4:24 pm

    the best screw drivers i have found are gunsmith screw drivers. they are ground flat to fit in the screw not tapered to slip our of the screw. between these and some second hand ones I can grind to fit, I can usually find a good fit.

    • jurgen01 on 31 January 2020 at 6:00 pm

      I completely agree with you about using gunsmith screw drivers — especially with brass screws.

    • wrstew on 31 January 2020 at 6:40 pm

      Never thought of flipping the “feet” of spring clamps to keep them from pivoting when you don’t want them to. A multitude of little things that add up to make it both easier and better. Great stuff.

    • Jens Andersen on 31 January 2020 at 7:59 pm

      And screwdrivers do wear out with time, so once in a while it will be necessary to grind them straight again. With round corners and edges they really do want to slide and slide out of the screws’ slots

  10. jurgen01 on 31 January 2020 at 6:00 pm

    I have been working with wood for over 60 years.

    I have worked as a carpenter and I have been a woodworker, as well. for the past 40 years.

    Yet, what always intrigues me is that I not only appreciate and enjoy your videos, I also learn from them. Every one of them. Every time I watch them.

    Thank you!

  11. Dean Schober on 31 January 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Paul your demeanor and the respect you show the wood and your project combined with a touch of humor makes watching you work so enjoyable. I can imagine the crew working around you must be in a great work environment. I should have my bench finished this weekend and be able to start working on projects soon. I’m so excited to go down this path of hand tool work

  12. Frank Mcinroy on 31 January 2020 at 7:48 pm

    I would also agree with the comments on the screwdrivers.
    As engineers we always grind our screwdrivers to fit the screw , a close fit in the slot and the width just a fraction smaller to avoid scratching the mating surface.
    What a perfect fit on the lid, a joy to watch

  13. Steven Swann on 31 January 2020 at 8:02 pm

    Another great video Paul. I’m definitely going to make this one I find some nice timber.

    One question from a complete amateur… In this video you chisel bevel down, in most of the other of yours I’ve seen, you say bevel up. What determines whether up or down?

    • Leon Huynh on 3 February 2020 at 6:56 am

      When clearing the waste on the hinges, you need the length of the back to register the bottom of the cut flat. So that operation is bevel up.

      The somewhat non-intuitive part of chisels is that the direction of cut is along the bevel, rather than the back and the axis of the handle. By taking a very small cut at the ends of the hinge mortise, this effect is minimized. Otherwise using the back of the chisel into the end of the mortise would drive the tip past the end and undercut. In other videos Paul chops the end of the mortise with the bevel facing the end of the mortise and angles the chisel such that the bevel is perpendicular to the face. This is a little tricky to do. Taking a more incremental approach and using the long chisel back to eyeball perpendicular is easier, if more time consuming.

  14. Gerard Power on 31 January 2020 at 11:45 pm

    My grandfather used the same expression as Paul’s mum; “A poor workman blames his tools.” He passed away when I was a wee lad. Eventually, my uncle taught me the corollary; “A good workman uses the correct tool for the job”. Life has been better since I learned that.

  15. ted clawton on 1 February 2020 at 4:21 am

    Seen all your videos, this is the easiest to understand and follow hinge-setting I’ve seen from you yet. Lots of nice tidbits in this video, very nice video. Thanks, Paul & crew.

  16. Benoît Van Noten on 1 February 2020 at 10:45 am

    Very interesting the way the lid was turned/flipped/etc to mark the hinges on the rim of the box.
    If one follow Paul’s sequence of operation, waxing the screw hinges is highly recommended as screwing/unscrewing/screwing again brass screws is a bit risky.
    If not following the same sequence; one has to ensure the lid is not rocking before installing the bottom as the distance is measured from above.
    Paul usually mentions it but not this time. While paring the hinge recess, it is important to limit the travel of the chisel (with the left hand) in such a way that you will not push the chisel too far and uplift the wood past the knife-wall in the long grain. (Don’t ask…)
    Of course, Paul does it, see Paul’s left hand on the video.

    A little sketch to explain how the gauge is set would be welcome as I am not sure what Paul did (and English is not my mother’s language).

    • Benoît Van Noten on 1 February 2020 at 10:53 am

      I have found a clear picture in “common woodworking” in exercises/setting hinges

    • joeleonetti on 15 February 2020 at 7:22 pm

      I have fond memories of my father and grandfather telling me to use wax on screws. With the heavy Italian accent it sounded more like vax. Due to the hair products of the time, my grandfather would run the screw in his hair to lubricate the screw.

      My grandfather passed in 1978 when I was 10. I miss him terribly. We still have his workshop and my dad has only made minor modifications to it since and still works in it most days.

  17. Sandy on 1 February 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Paul said something in the video that I have not heard before; “Flexing the Plane”. I’m not sure what he meant by that. I know my #4 is pretty darn rigid so “Flexing” as I think of it, won’t work on mine. I hope for more elaboration on that in the coming videos.

    I tried to get ahead of the videos on my Organizer and screwed up the lid. I’ll have to do some repair and replace the top. That will teach me to think I know where the master is going… 🙂

    • Benoît Van Noten on 1 February 2020 at 10:16 pm

      ” I know my #4 is pretty darn rigid ”

      Look at the post:
      “PLANE SOLES SHOULD BE MOSTLY FLAT” dated 17 February 2012

    • Izzy Berger on 3 February 2020 at 12:30 pm

      Hi Sandy,

      Paul says:
      All cast metal planes flex or can be flexed by simply pulling or stretching between the two handles. It is indeed a very minute amount but it does happen, I’ve tested this on test beds and it’s surprising how much a plane sole will alter shape.

      Kind Regards,

  18. Paul Rowell on 1 February 2020 at 3:39 pm

    When you are taking shavings if only a few thousandth of an inch you don’t have to flex it very much. Try imagining you can bend the plane and see if you end up taking thicker shavings!

  19. Keith Walton on 1 February 2020 at 8:38 pm

    Paul just shared that tip about stuffing the plane throat with shavings like it was no big deal. People buy different planes to deal with problem grain, Paul’s like nah you don’t need that just stuff some trash in your number 4 and get on with it.

    • Colin Scowen on 2 February 2020 at 10:24 am

      That tip alone was worth the months subscription for me. Good job I have a floor full of shavings to use.

      • Sandy on 8 February 2020 at 3:25 pm

        Colin, I’ve been a paying member since 2013 and its been worth every dime I’ve paid. I’ve spent a lot of money on hand tools, wood, and books, not to mention this membership and I’ve never made a dime off any of it. But the smiles and praise I get from recipients of the gifts I’ve made are priceless. Yup, that little tip about shoving in the shavings is going to save me some cussing for sure… 🙂

    • Peter de Lacey on 3 February 2020 at 1:22 am

      Yes, what a brilliant tip. I found this episode particularly helpful; lots of tips about setting hinges properly for example. I love the way Paul explains what he’s doing, and even more, why he’s doing it that way.

    • ted clawton on 4 February 2020 at 6:28 am

      Wish I could thumbs up this comment. Well-said, Sir. You had me recounting the comment in my head a few times the past couple of days, and chuckling 🙂

  20. James Lane on 4 February 2020 at 12:34 am

    Do you have any videos where Paul demonstrates how he sharpens his marking knife?

  21. James Lane on 4 February 2020 at 7:11 pm

    Thanks so much!

  22. steven newman on 5 February 2020 at 3:06 am

    Got in a hurry to get done, I guess….divider on mine sits in a groove in the ends and back, and a rebate across the front….Used a Stanley 45 with a #12 cutter….

    Screwdriver was a small North Brothers “Yankee” 135 with the smallest slot driver I had….last turn or two was by hand. Ash definately NEEDS wax on the threads of any screws. Yankee 141 push drill for the pilot holes….again, smallest bit it had.

    Used a Stanley #358 Mitre box…..crosscuts were square right off the saw…even for the divider panel cuts…28″ long saw plate, does not take very many strokes…if you buy a 28″ saw, use the entire saw…works better and quicker.

  23. Pete on 5 February 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Hi I am really enjoying this project and was wondering if their was anywhere for me to email photos to Paul for him to critique? I would like to say thank you, all of you for the amazing work that is done behind and in front of the camera.

    • Izzy Berger on 6 February 2020 at 12:36 pm

      Hi Pete,

      Thank you for your comment.

      As much as he would love to, we don’t offer critiques of individual projects as Paul would be inundated with requests. However, we love to see your projects so please feel free to upload it to our gallery, I have attached the link below for you:

      Kind Regards,

      • Sandy on 8 February 2020 at 3:09 pm

        I can see where it would be a full time job for Paul to answer all the questions. While it’s great that there is a lot of experience on this forum and lots of good suggestions and answers come, It is a pleasant change that someone from Paul’s team is actively fielding questions. Thank you!

  24. steven newman on 11 February 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Episode No. 4?

    • Paul Rowell on 12 February 2020 at 3:41 am

      It comes out on Friday.

      I’m wondering whether it might be worth having a “next episode comes out on…” on the contents page…

      • Izzy Berger on 12 February 2020 at 10:59 am

        Hi Paul,

        Thank you for your suggestion, I have now added this to the page.

        Kind Regards,

  25. Jennessa Lynam on 22 October 2021 at 2:56 am

    Was wondering what the dimensions for the strips that he used in between the drawer and the the divider, for holding the divider in place? I can’t seem to find that on the plans.

  26. Kent Hansen on 23 October 2021 at 3:36 am

    A note off topic if you’d allow…every time I see Paul use his knife to create a “knife wall,” I’m reminded of the metamorphosis my woodworking underwent when I learned to mark my parts with a knife vs pencil. Thanks, Paul!

  27. Julio Machado on 1 December 2021 at 8:08 pm

    Aprendo muito com o senhor Paul. Obrigado.

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