Desktop Organiser: Episode 4

Desktop Organiser Episode 4 Keyframe

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The main body of the box is ready for fitting the drawer front in preparation for cutting the half-lap dovetails. Precise fitting ensures neatness to the drawer’s final appearance, and here Paul focuses on the small details he uses in the day to day of drawer making. Small sizes demand higher levels of precision, and this box is a design Paul came up with to create this level of high-demand. Will you rise to the challenge?


  1. Harvey Holt on 14 February 2020 at 10:01 am

    Thank you team. Great therapy while in recovery.

  2. redwood on 14 February 2020 at 10:37 am

    Thanks guys, great job

  3. Lance Blurton on 14 February 2020 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for the videos and instruction but I have a question. Could you put a rebate on the back dovetails for helping to register when you mark the pins? Would this mess anything up?

    • MARCIN KLOS on 17 February 2020 at 10:23 am

      I’m not an expert by any means, so I’m not talking from own experience, but I have seen people making a rebate for regular (not half-blind) dovetails. I’m quite sure Jonathan Katz-Moses does that.

    • Izzy Berger on 17 February 2020 at 11:47 am

      Hi Lance,

      Paul says:

      No you can do that, but remember the concept of the rebate is not traditional, it’s my idea and it works especially well for half- lap dovetails and that’s why I came up with it.

      Kind Regards,

      • drdee1280 on 18 February 2020 at 4:37 pm

        I don’t wish to take anything away from Paul’s expertise, but this method was described in an old textbook (out of copyright) that I found a few years ago (probably Google Books or Toolemera or Wictor Kuc’s old web site or other anyways, I’m sure it was published long before Paul was born- maybe someone else here has found the reference and can post a link?). Paul re-discovered the idea, but probably not much is totally new in handcraft. No matter, it is a great technique, and I am grateful for his instruction.

        A question re Drawer construction: I was wondering why Paul never uses grooved drawer slips glued to the inside walls of a drawer to secure the drawer bottom? These seem to be described in old text books as “to be found in higher class of work”, and are supposedly better/stronger than a simple groove in the drawer front and sides. I think it was the same textbook I described above (that I can’t find right now unfortunately) that showed some of these techniques. I don’t think I have seen Paul talk about these in the video or on his blog?

        • Sven-Olof Jansson on 18 February 2020 at 8:52 pm

          At times also called the [Stanley] 140 trick, often attributed to Alan Peters (1933 – 2009). Convergence on techniques, guides, jigs, and so on, is probably common.

          Both Lie-Nielsen and Veritas offer contemporary versions of the 140. Not a necessary tool, but it does simplify more than rebates for dovetail joints

          • Greg Jones on 19 February 2020 at 12:03 pm

            That is my understanding as well. I first learned of the 140 trick from Kelly Mehler who credits Allen Peters, and perhaps the best there is at cutting dovetails today, Rob Cosman, also learned from and attributes the technique to Allan Peters.

        • Izzy Berger on 19 February 2020 at 4:01 pm


          I passed your question on to Paul and he says:
          There are probably many things that I do and take credit for that were probably in existence probably before I came along, I would never claim something to be mine if I knew it existed before.

          I have and do use grooved drawer slips on some of my projects.

          Kind Regards,

  4. Mike Griffin on 14 February 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you for the beautiful work and the beautiful production. Therapeutic.

  5. Pete on 14 February 2020 at 1:48 pm

    Brilliant, Thank you all, I have really enjoyed this one and have started my first one in some scrap pine I have.

  6. steven newman on 14 February 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Looks good! Except I use a dado at the back….and a groove to house the drawer’s bottom panel….Have to align that groove so the side tails cover the groove.

  7. Benoît Van Noten on 14 February 2020 at 2:49 pm

    Nice video which confirm what I have done (my 1st and 2nd organiser were published in the gallery goodness today).
    However, it was easier to see how to make half-bind dovetails in the drawer/workbench customisation video as it is in a larger scale and in pine. The technique is the same.
    It is nevertheless interesting to see how Paul holds his chisel when working on smaller and more delicate parts (not to say that the final quality is different).

    I also made a shallow rabbet at the underside of the top-compartment bottom.

    Interesting mention by Paul about the sides/dovetails compressing more then the end grain of the front/pins when clamping.
    This is a point which I have to take into account when clamping a drawer because flushing the joint (ever so slightly) afterwards makes the drawer front width narrower.

  8. Dean Schober on 14 February 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Excellent video as usual. Im a bit behind, just finished my bench, Yea! and am now scouring around for som salvage wood to make this project. There is a pallet company not far from me and I wonder if they have scraps, these are all small bits and Im not fussy about all the wood matching at this point.

  9. Jim Allen on 14 February 2020 at 4:32 pm

    I like this project. Thanks Paul and Team!

  10. Paul Whoknows on 14 February 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks for this awesome free project, Paul’s generosity is truly remarkable. I have Just a (probably stupid) question, why did Paul use the hand router plane to make the rebate instead of a rebate plane like the Stanley #78 or even a shoulder/bullnose plane?
    Thanks to Paul and the whole WWM team.

    • Benoît Van Noten on 14 February 2020 at 8:39 pm

      In my opinion,
      in the hierarchy of essential tools,
      – the router plane comes before the plough plane;
      – the plough plane comes before the rabbet plane;
      – the rabbet plane comes before the bulnose plane.

      Until I master a rabbet plane, I will use the router plane. However, my plough plane can be used to make rabbet up to 10 mm wide.
      The advantage of the router plane to refine rabbets, is that it works equally well on end grain and on long grain.

    • wrstew on 14 February 2020 at 9:33 pm

      The router plane registers on the face of the wood. A shoulder or bullnose you need to provide the squareness Easier and more accurate to use router

    • Izzy Berger on 17 February 2020 at 11:49 am


      Thank you for your question.

      Paul says:

      The knifewall ensures dead on squareness and goes hand in glove with the use of the router, each complimenting the other. A rebate plane would be much higher risk and less accurate going across the grain. The bullnose plane of course has no fence and depth stops.

      Kind Regards,

      (@COMBOPROF this should answer your question too.)

  11. Donald Kreher on 14 February 2020 at 4:52 pm

    Why did you choose a router plane over a rebate plane. Is it because it is easier to keep square?

  12. Eric Lundholm on 14 February 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Do you ever use a six inch combination square, is there any downside or advantage or is it just that the 12 inch is so universal that you just use it for everything.

    Tanks for another great series.

    • Izzy Berger on 17 February 2020 at 11:51 am

      Hi Eric,

      Paul says:
      I like the weight of the heavier, full sized, 12” square and use a 6” only when the 12” doesn’t fit.

      Kind Regards,

  13. MARCIN KLOS on 14 February 2020 at 7:35 pm

    At 29:36 Paul was living in the future for a moment 🙂

    I’m really excited to get back to the project. The hint about flipping the front to see if it still lines up with the bottom is meant for me. My front is square, but my opening is not. I’m going to adjust the front and hope it won’t show too much.

  14. Antti Väisänen on 16 February 2020 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you for great instructional videos.

    Now… could you tell us a bit more on the grind of the bevel side of your chisel? Please.
    Especially the narrow one seems to have the back corners removed.

    /Antti from Finland 🙂

    • Izzy Berger on 17 February 2020 at 11:57 am

      Hi Antti,

      Paul says:
      It’s only the narrow one. I bevel the sides of the bevel itself to give me optimum access to the inner corners in dovetailing. I have never been able to expound on this, because it has too many complexities to it.

      Kind Regards,

      • Colin Scowen on 17 February 2020 at 1:28 pm

        So would you ever invest in or convert a cheap chisel to a fishtail chisel? Or is that not really a necessary tool for dovetail clean up (I have never seen one used in WWMC)?

        • Izzy Berger on 19 February 2020 at 3:53 pm

          Hi Colin,

          Paul said:
          You should remember that tool makers most often never use the tools but they do invent things because they need to sell things. The more they can persuade you that you need, the higher their profit margins.

          Kind Regards,

      • Ed on 21 February 2020 at 1:20 am


        Could a couple of high quality photos of Paul’s chisel with “bevel the sides of the bevel” be posted somewhere? It will give me a good basis to start experimenting. This sounds useful!

  15. Kenneth Olsen on 16 February 2020 at 10:38 pm

    I think Making two with a long back to separate them, will go well with my Stickley, modified to 3 drawers 702 desk, will be what i am looking for.

  16. Peter W on 17 February 2020 at 9:40 am

    Your bevel edged chisels have an extra bevel on the top, allowing the cutting edge into very tight corners, my question is, did you make this modification yourself or purchased as dedicated dovetail chisels ?

    Thank you for your love of teaching.
    Peter in sunny Liverpool.

  17. Robin Bishop on 19 February 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Dear Paul
    I like yourself started out with an interest in woodworking. I am now 78 years old and over the years since the age of 15 I started buying tools. I am so impressed on how sharp you keep your chisels, plane blades etc., I was made redundant from Rolls Royce Bristol & with my Wife3’s support went to college & did furniture making the outcome was a City & Guilds qualification. I wish that the instructors was as precise as you with their instruction, I think that you are brilliant in the way that you explain your methods in joint making & all the other projects that you demonstrate. I cannot get enough of your videos, well done Paul & I hope that you are gradually settling into your new home.
    Robin Bishop 19th February 2020

  18. Lee on 3 September 2020 at 4:10 pm

    The cutting list for the Desktop Organizer specifies 1/2 stock for the front, sides and back. However, in the video the stock seems to be 3/4 inch.

    • Izzy Berger on 16 September 2020 at 3:53 pm

      Hi Lee,

      Paul says:
      The main box body is ½” and the drawer back and sides are 5/16”.

      Kind Regards,

  19. Stephen Tyrrell on 26 April 2021 at 6:23 am

    I often think the wood in the videos is bigger/thicker than the cutting list. My guess is its an illusion caused by the close up shots.

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