Desktop Organiser: Episode 5

Desktop Organiser Episode 5 Keyframe

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The small details of any project should always exemplify exactness, and the smaller the project and project parts, the more exacting the work becomes. By making the drawer parts, we discover techniques craftsmen hand toolists passed down through the generations. Paul added planted grooves to receive the drawer bottom. We use this technique when the sides of the drawers are lightweight. Paul shows the method he uses to glue up the drawer. Fitting the drawer to the opening requires more precision. Paul takes his time to explain all of the details he goes through. Lastly, Paul creates the long drawer pull from vintage mahogany salvaged from an old table leg and then fixes the pull in place.


  1. Mick Skelton on 28 February 2020 at 11:26 am


  2. Bob Blarney on 28 February 2020 at 12:59 pm

    A rehearsal for gluing up is always essential, to be sure of the correct assembly sequence and to place all the necessary clamps at hand. By the way, what’s the preferred way to prevent glue stains on the inside crevices from squeeze-out? In the past, I’ve put on a very thin wash coat of shellac or used hot hide glue. (Hmm … Forensic Woodworking, the new discipline)

    • Izzy Berger on 2 March 2020 at 3:56 pm

      Hi Bob,

      Paul says:
      90% of my glue, I leave in place then let it dry and chisel cut through level with the wood. Never had a problem.

      Kind Regards,

  3. Marie Bouchard on 28 February 2020 at 2:58 pm

    Love it!!!

  4. Gary Gibbons on 28 February 2020 at 3:10 pm

    I understand why not using a rebate makes sense, but curious why the chanel parts for the drawer bottom when support rails (like the top piece) would work? I suppose a sign of craftsmanship is a good reason!
    My biggest issue throughout the entire build has been lighting. I just don’t have the best lighting in my small shop!

    • MARCIN KLOS on 28 February 2020 at 8:34 pm

      I’d be guessing here – rails would require the drawer bottom to fit tight as it is in case of the divider. Drawer sides are rather thin and the expansion of the bottom could cause them to break or the drawer to change shape.
      My biggest issue (or is it?) is that now I need two new tools. I just got myself fillister and router planes and now it turns I need also a plough plane and a spoke shave 🙂

      • Gary Gibbons on 28 February 2020 at 9:18 pm

        Marcin, I just cut the bottom slightly undersized (~32nd inch) but still fit on the rails without worrying about it swelling or distorting. Plus I used a small ~1/8″ panel. But the grooved drawer rails definitely look nifty!
        I bought my Stanley 151 spokeshave on Amazon for around $40, and scored a #45 Stanley combo plough plane at a swap meet for $75, which I restored and is in excellent condition.

      • Raphaël P on 28 February 2020 at 9:52 pm

        You can do the groove without a plough plane, with a gauge, a tenon saw and a chisel. It’s tedious but a useful technique sometime.
        As for the spokeshave, don’t wait, it will most certainly become one of your favorite tool. If you feel adventurous, they’re is a video by Paul on how to make a wooden one.

    • Izzy Berger on 2 March 2020 at 3:55 pm

      Hi Gary,

      Paul says: A channel prevents the wood from distorting.

      Kind Regards,

  5. Murray Glick on 28 February 2020 at 4:10 pm

    I enjoy very much watching your approach. I believe that I have learned much from you.
    Thank you .

  6. Dennis Steed on 28 February 2020 at 4:39 pm

    As always,inspirational work,well done! I’m ready to build my own.May be a wedding gift for my grandson and his bride. Thanks Paul! Dennis from U.S

  7. CB Belanger on 28 February 2020 at 6:07 pm

    Very nice indeed. Great project and I always seem to learn something with each one. Thank you again for sharing so freely.

  8. steven newman on 28 February 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Currently working on another one…using resawn Ash scraps…that are ~ 5/16″ thick. Finger/Box joints, using 1/8″ fingers….

    Case will have 2 drawers. Lid, also 5/16″ thick, will have bread board ends, to keep things flat. Been fun…..

  9. steven newman on 28 February 2020 at 10:14 pm

    BTW, those 1/8″ wide fingers were cut and chopped by hand. I used an 1/8″ sash chisel to space the fingers, as that was going to do the chopping out.

  10. Pete on 29 February 2020 at 10:00 am

    Wonderful. Thank you

  11. Anthony Shackman on 29 February 2020 at 1:40 pm

    What was Paul doing at the 45:10 mark? Looks like he was filling in a defect with something.

  12. tim ziegler on 29 February 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Thank you very much Paul. A great deal of inspiration in this project.

  13. joeleonetti on 29 February 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks Paul for showing us another way to make a drawer bottom. I will be using it this weekend. I have just finished the carcass construction for a tool box for a medium sized kit of tools. I am making some boxes for the interior. Plywood will be the bottom. I didn’t want to just glue it to the bottom for the box and I didn’t want to use half blind dovetails for the box. Your groove pieces is the perfect alternative.

  14. Guillaume Mothay on 29 February 2020 at 5:16 pm

    Just finished my desktop organiser today. I have enjoyed doing this built and learned a lot from the video series. Thanks to Paul and the whole team for this great project !

  15. Stephen Tyrrell on 1 March 2020 at 3:41 am

    As others have said, I am curious about the shot in the last few moments of the video where Paul is was pushing something into the back of the woos with a chisel. Fixing a defect? Could we have an explanation please? Or better yet, release that extra footage as episode 6!

  16. Benoît Van Noten on 1 March 2020 at 10:36 am

    – On my first one (pine) I made it bigger and used thicker material, so I used grooves for the divider and for the drawer bottom.
    Divider and drawer bottom beveled on the edges.
    – My second one (meranti) is approximately the same size and thickness as Paul’s one. But I used the same thickness for the sides and back of the drawer. I have used the same method for the drawer bottom as for the divider; so the drawer bottom has a tight fit.
    – Instead of two straight lines, I traced an arc for the shape of the handle and used a spokeshave to shape it + chisel and file for the extremities. I din’t thought to make a scallop underside.
    – the divider and drawer bottom have a rabbet to gain some depth. (pine from a wine bottle crate + a layer of blue felt on them).

    I found it much easier yo be precise with meranti than with pine.

    If I were to make a third one, I would glue the drawer handle a little higher: at about one third of the total height of the box. I think it would look even better.

    The way the grooved batten are made is interesting, much more easy than what I would have tried.

  17. YrHenSaer on 1 March 2020 at 12:17 pm

    @Stephen Tyrrell & Anthony Shackman

    The shot with the chisel shows some wood filler being pushed into a patch of grain-tear-out.

    It’s either a proprietary wood-filler, a homemade patch-filler using a mix of sawdust and glue or one of a range of coloured waxes which are sold for this precise purpose.

    Nothing sinister, grain tears out all the time…. we patch it and it becomes invisible in the finished piece.

  18. Jim Staton on 1 March 2020 at 5:13 pm

    I’m just starting my wood working by that I mean I’m still collecting my tools and my first project will be a bench. With all that said I’m wondering about fitting the grooved bottom rails. Would it not be easier to use a shooting board to ease the miters rather than trying to plane the back of the piece to make them fit?

  19. Benoît Van Noten on 2 March 2020 at 10:25 am

    Jim Staton, thank you for pointing this trick; it had escaped me as it were said but not shown.
    Planing the back is actually a great idea, especially if the thickness/width of the “molding” is of no consequence. It is much quicker and easy than to install the miter box on the bench.
    Earlier in the video, Paul mentioned the possibility to trim with a chisel which is more delicate as one risks to change the angle. Although one can make a jig to guide the chisel.

  20. David C on 3 March 2020 at 2:23 am

    At 45:20 Paul was poring something into the shellac that looked like cranberry juice. What was it?

    • Paul Rowell on 3 March 2020 at 7:56 am

      Methylated spirits

    • Izzy Berger on 4 March 2020 at 1:54 pm

      Hi David,

      Paul says:
      It is meths which is a coloured denatured alcohol. The colouring is to prevent people from drinking the meths.

      Kind Regards,

  21. Steve Kahn on 10 March 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Would a block plane work for shaping the ends of drawer pull, or is a rasp required?


    • Izzy Berger on 11 March 2020 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Steve,

      Paul says: A block plane will work for that, yes. They are pretty useless as plane but this is one application they would be fine for.

      Kind Regards,

      • Steve Kahn on 11 March 2020 at 7:48 pm

        So a spokeshave would be a better choice? I’m just thinking about the planes I own, without needing to buy something more to get the job done. Thanks.

        Also: I’m kind of curious as to Paul’s thoughts about the uselessness of a block plane (because so many woodworkers whose work I’ve been watching speak about the merits of the block plane as a kind of necessity in the arsenal).


        • Izzy Berger on 16 March 2020 at 2:39 pm

          Hi Steve,

          Paul says:
          A spokeshave will work. A regular no4 plane will work too.

          The block plane is about the most useless plane anybody could ever use, it doesn’t have any real performance capabilities. Sitting here, trying to think of how often i’ve used mine in the last 50 years and maybe, possibly, once a year.

          Kind Regards,

          • Steve Kahn on 17 March 2020 at 3:29 pm

            Thanks, Ken. And what does using your block plane look like for you? For me, of late, it’s a convenient way to take burn marks left from the saw blade off of end grain. I’ve also eased edges with the block plane, just because it’s that much lighter than the #4 1/2.

            Look forward to hearing about your adventures,

        • Ken Kilby on 17 March 2020 at 3:20 pm

          I have a Lie Nielsen block plane and use it every day. I wouldn’t be without it. I did have a Stanley block plane and it was fairly useless. I don’t remember the model number but it was a less desirable one without an adjustable throat.

          • EmuGuitars on 3 May 2020 at 2:08 am

            Agreed Ken – I use a Luban “Knuckle Cap” low angle block plane to trim end grain on small pine boxes. It’s quick, precise & excellent results with a shooting board. I chose this method over a bench plane because I have smaller hands with some old injuries & the block plane is so much easier for me to control when on on its side.

  22. Gabriel Hall on 14 March 2020 at 1:58 pm

    Adding glued grooved pieces like that is brilliant! Every time I watch one your videos expecting to learn thing, I always leave with 3 or 4 hugely important lessons like this one! Definitely changed my perspective on how to construct drawers

  23. Jørgen Arnø on 25 March 2020 at 8:16 pm

    Thank you Paul for teaching me yet another project. I only have about 2 years of experience from your videos, but the work and studying gives me a lot of joy.
    Im nearly done with mine, I upscaled it a bit and used pine for the most of it; but got some scraps of steamed beech I used for the lid and the drawer front. This is the first time I really enjoyed using hard wood. (When I finally had the pices ripped to the proper sizes…)
    One question, is ripping rather thick pieces of hardwood supposed to be a real pain? My piece was about one and a half inch thick, 12 inches wide and 25 inches long. I spent a lot of time ripping that (thicknes) by hand. I only have one rip saw, and it has 7TPI – so that might be the case? Or is it that the saw is getting blunt? It works perfect with pine and thinner stock though.
    Any hints on how to make the job easier for the future projects would be most appreciated. (Maybe this is one of the reasons why Paul finally bought a band saw a while back) 😉

    • Izzy Berger on 30 March 2020 at 8:39 am


      Thank you for your question, I passed this on to Paul and his answer is below:

      Yes, it is a pain. It’s hard work! You will need to sharpen up quite frequently if you want the optimum cut. Whenever you get thicker than 1” in any hardwood using a handsaw it becomes a chore.

      Kind Regards,

  24. Giorgio on 3 April 2020 at 6:24 pm

    The final scenes of the video marry beautifully with the music, which is so delicious. Beautiful project. Congratulations to all!

  25. Michael Eleftheriou on 11 May 2020 at 8:34 pm

    What a lot of work this has been, but how enjoyable!
    After 2 full days slaving over a hot bench, just the dovetails on the back of the draw to finish, then assembly. I feel a greater sense of achievement than I have with the other projects I’ve done.
    Many thanks to Paul and to everyone who’s detailed their own journeys in the comments.


  26. Philip Johnson on 12 June 2020 at 9:31 pm

    I have made 3 of these boxes and what an enjoyable project each one turned out better as I progressed.
    Thanks Paul for you tuition and direction

  27. kjo on 9 September 2021 at 7:18 pm

    I’ve just finished gluing the drawer, and it turned out a bit off square, and the right side protrudes from the box a couple of mm. Should I remove thickness from the front of the drawer to have it sit flush, or would it be better to take some of the sides/back of the drawer to try and square it up?

  28. Colin Scowen on 10 September 2021 at 12:27 pm

    If the reveal around the opening is nice, then I’d just take material off the front. If the reveal is also bad, then yeah, try to square it up a bit.

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