Dovetail Boxes: Episode 7
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In this episode Paul shows how to make the small indent that allows the thumb to open the lid. He also shows how to create a decorative feature around the upper edge of the box.
Great way to detail the edge. I saw the blog post some time ago about your beader; nice to see it in action. Thanks so much.
Really like the extra groove on top of the box and the technique used to put it there
Woo! Thanks guys. Great series!
What’s the next project?!
Great series indeed. I do have a question about gouges. What size and sweep would make a good general purpose gouge? I have no gouges yet.
Already looking forward to the next project.
I suppose I am in the minority here, but I’m a little disappointed in the dovetail box project. Not that the project itself was bad (it wasn’t), but that there was so much content overlap with the clock project, especially with this week’s video. Here’s hoping the next project covers some new concepts.
I don’t think you can find any project that doesn’t have overlap. Some may have more than others but, if you search around and look at just about anything made from wood, you’re going to see the same methods employed over and over again.
I think this is more about practicing some fundamentals with some minor additions.
I am enjoying the dove tail boxes. I liked seeing the approach for the sliding lid and, I’m looking forward to the next box with the fitted lid.
Hello Greg, First of all I am glad that you shared this because it does give me an opportunity to add something. I recently wrote something that people were probably unaware of and that is that, when I interred the portals of woodworking, I didn’t enter because it came naturally to me and I was even good at it. I actually was not good at it. My apprenticeship often comprised making many dozens of window frames and so mortises got chopped over and over. It was here that I learned methods of chopping with a bevel edged chisel rather than mortise chisels and it was here that I mastered methods of chopping that eventually came out neater and neater and at the same time faster and faster. After a while I enjoyed the work more and more and also the results. I’m glad I was ‘forced’ as a matter of normal work ethic to do this because of course it was by rote effort that skill became mine for a lifetime. So whereas we will be repeating things like this for a season, when we start the larger pieces we will be equipped to grow together.
Anyway, thanks again.
I kind of like how the series has a bit of overlap. I don’t mind seeing a technique done more than once as a beginner I’m actually thankful for it…practice does make perfect after all.
Good luck on your question George!
Very nice, I really liked this box series and as mentioned have a few to build. Great series Guy’s.
Enjoyed! Really like the shoe brush for buffing. Shellac is my favorite finish to work with. Dries fast, forgiving, and looks great.
Nice job guys, I agree with Kelly I don’t think you can find any project that doesn’t have some overlap.
I also think there will be overlap and I am fine with it. I for one do not master anything after one attempt, or allot more :). So putting a bead on the clock and the box is fine with me. The projects at the core have different joinery and I believe that is the reason each was chosen. I can’t wait to see what is next. Thanks, John
I know Ive raised this before but I do agree with Greg to some extent and having read Pauls reply maybe the point is being misinterpretted – I do want to go away and practice the techniques on different boxes, repeating time and again the techniques I have learned until I eventually become skilled at them and once I have the video of this I can always come back to this as a refresher reference if Im unsure at all. There will always be some overlap on different projects and thats a good thing or else I would be lost! And its good to see how some techniques work can be used in combination with others. The issue is that the 30 minutes video once a week is a very precious commodity. We woudnt (just for example) want the first 2 or 3 weeks of each project watching Paul selecting and planing up his timber in real time surely! Once we have seen how to square up timber we can get on and practice it on each project and refer back if necessary.
Look, Im just adding my two penneth and Ill go with the flow – I can always get on with my own projects in the meantime If nothing else then perhaps a schedule of what is coming next and over how many weeks would really help manage peoples expectations.
Interesting to hear the different points of view. I am a beginner to “proper” woodwork and as such I am very happy with the overlap; I think it is inevitable with a project based learning system. For me the joy of having something that I have made at the end of the “lesson” is wonderful. The application of the same process in a different project is useful and builds my experience.
For me the pace is just right and I feel I have already begun to develop a little skill, though there is a long way to go; the idea of a large, complex project seems very daunting right now but we will see. With my very limited experience my views are offered with that in mind but so far I am very happy with the classes and look forward to seeing where this will take me.
I enjoy the fact that methods get repeated. That’s how we learned how to read as children was by repetition for the first two or three years of school until we knew how to read. And I believe that is how we are going to become better woodworkers is by watching and doing over and over and over the methods that Paul is teaching us. I have been attempting to be a woodworker for 10 years by trial and error but I have learned a lot in the last eight weeks than I did on my own. I had bought into the misconception that you need to be a power tool woodworker but over the last year or so I have been trying to do more with hand tools; and there is very little good instruction out there for that but now I think I am on my way to being a better woodworker. Thank you Paul.
Well I guess it’s a fine line to walk. There’s no way to please everyone and, I think everyone in this group realizes that. So, there aren’t any implications in that statement.
I understand what Greg and Darren are saying. Once you’ve got a video teaching method “A”, you can re-play it at will so, why repeat it? I get it. And I don’t necessarily disagree.
I think that “day” is coming. But, it may take a little while to build the library so that people of various ways of learning will have choices.
Even though I can re-play a video that teaches method “A,” I still think there is something to be gained from seeing method “A” being used in a different project. I think there are plenty of people in both camps.
So, it’ll just take some time to build the library so folks can either follow a current, ongoing project with a group of other folks or, take off on their own path and choose something from the archives.
But even then, I don’t think it’s wise to skip some elements just because it was already done on a different project. And if that view point is held true, there will be an awful lot of overlap.
So, if we’ve already made a box, should future projects of boxes be avoided? I don’t think so. But, that’s just me.
Really good to hear a sensible open discussion with viewpoints from both aspects well represented – a credit to the members on here as always. I think the majority want to keep the current pace and thats fine. Even given my comments I still cant wait for each video and always learn something from them. If we could have a schedule of up and coming projects and how many weeks it covers I think that would really help me unless anybody has an objection perhaps Joseph / Paul could provide this.
Having given this issue a little thought I believe that as the portfolio builds and we have a much larger library of projects it would be most frustrating if during a project we had to go to video a for this technique, video y for that etc. much better to see the whole project through even though there might well be some or even plenty of overlap.
I agree that some sort of idea of what is coming and when would be very nice.
With regard to repetition, I am happy to have it but understand the desire for other material: There are many of us and each has different experience and interests. Unfortunately, there is only one Paul. I am glad that, unlike other sources, Paul is focusing on establishing a sound foundation for us and trust him in that decision.
I am actually happy to see things repeated. Often, what looks to be the same technique is subtly different in a different context. Many times, I try to do something that I thought I’d done before and something unexpected comes up that turns it into a learning experience. Heck, just carving spatulas a few times, each piece of wood taught me something different.
In one area in particular, I’d actually like to see more repetition, and that’s stock preparation by hand, getting things 4-square. I struggle with this and find that squaring a narrow edge to a wide face or squaring wider faces is each different as is simply flattening a narrow piece (width of my sole) vs. flattening a wider piece vs. flattening a very wide piece. I can get flat (usually). I can get square (usually). And I can get to dimension. But getting flat, square and to dimension all at once is really hard for me. Seeing this multiple times in multiple videos would be something I’d never complain about.
Please forgive me. This turned out to
be waaaay longer than I fist intended it
to be. 🙂
> In one area in particular, I’d
> actually like to see more repetition,
> and that’s stock preparation by hand,
> getting things 4-square.
I don’t know if I’d want to that
particular item repeated too often.
If a project or piece of wood presents a
“twist” (no pun intended (: ) that is
different than the typical, sure.
Although some tips or direction on how
to avoid the mistakes I’m making would
be good. 🙂
> I struggle with this
I do too. It’s not very easy to do.
> and find that squaring a narrow edge
> to a wide face or squaring wider faces
> is each different as is simply
> flattening a narrow piece (width of my
> sole) vs. flattening a wider piece
> vs. flattening a very wide piece. I
> can get flat (usually). I can get
> square (usually). And I can get to
> dimension. But getting flat, square
> and to dimension all at once is really
> hard for me.
LAFFS! You and me both brotha! My
stock often ends up a bit undersized or,
various pieces end up being noticeably
different sizes. 🙂
I own Paul’s “Working Wood 1 & 2” book,
with the DVD set. I find them — and my
subscription to this web site — to be
an excellent resource. I really like
the fact that Paul is teaching the basic
fundamentals of wood working. It’s
exactly what I need right now.
Like most folks, I get information from
a variety of sources. Elsewhere on this
site, I learned of a few of other books.
Eric Potter (A subscriber) asked Paul
for a recommendation for additional
resources. He reported that Pual cited
a couple by Aldren Watson (“Country
Furniture” and, “Hand Tools, Their Ways
and Workings”). These are also a very
good resource. That post also mentioned
a book called “The Essential Woodworker”
by Robert Wearing.
Question for Paul about Books
The last book I just mentioned almost
duplicates what Paul teaches. There are
some slight variations but, the author
is appears to be from the same school of
thought as Paul. It’s a great
reinforcement for what Paul teaches.
“The Essential Woodworker” has a section
explaining how to get better at squaring
up the stock. The author describes a
few exercises one can practice in order
to become better at it. You might want
to check it out.
> Seeing this multiple times in multiple
> videos would be something I’d never
> complain about.
I’m wondering if having a series, or
library of videos in a category called
“Techniques” or something similar —
which are either produced as “stand
alone” pieces, or — are snips from
other projects incorporating the
technique — might be a good thing.
I guess that’s already being done to
some extent with the videos on saw,
chisel and plane iron sharpening etc.
But add to that, a stand alone video
demonstrating a mortise and tenon joint,
or whatever. Or just snip a section a
section out of an existing video and
link to it under the project (video)
that skips that particular technique or
With that said, I’d still prefer to see
the technique covered within the project
itself, even if it’s something that’s
been repeated. After all, the viewer
can simply fast forward and skip over
it if they don’t want to see it again.
Thanks for the pointer to the other resources. I’ve seen some of Alden’s books and really like them. Hand Tools and Country Furniture are my favorites. In fact, regarding the journaling discussions, Alden is a wonderful example of illustration that I find quite motivating. His Hand Tools book also starts with 35 pages of illustrations of Paul’s favorite bench and vice and how to do a number of things with them. I’ll look for the other resources you mentioned.
You know what I really want? I want to finish painting the house so that I can get back to exploring wood, but work before pleasure.
I guess I am old fashioned. In fact, I know I am. But…… I believe that Paul has done this many times. He knows how the majority of us learn necessary skills. Yes there will be some of us that would like some differences, but I would guess thst the teacher is better qualified than the student to decide the best course.
My suggestion is simply this for the long week between Wednesday’s. Practice. Draw 100 lines on a scrap and practice sawing to those lines. Then do it again, until you make 100 cuts to the line. Sharpen your saw. Then saw 100 right side tail cuts to the line. Then the left side cuts. Then practice in the pins. Practice until you are so confident you’ve mastered it, you won’t hesitate.
Take a piece of firewood, and make it square four sides. That’s particularly rewarding. Take a before & after photo, post it. Find the ugliest piece of wood in the bunch. Then, when it’s true, put it on your mantel.
Leave a piece of wood in your vice and every time you pass it, cut 5 perfect lines. Practice setting your mortise gauge to your chisel width while you’re watching TV. Score the marks and see how close you are. It’s harder than you think.
Practice setting your marking gauge by eye to 1/4″. Then measure it. Whatever makes you better and gets your hands on your tools.
Practice drawing parallel lines with a pencil down an edge by hand only, as Paul does. Then do it with your eyes closed.
Perhaps Paul can suggest more practice exercises.
Like anything worth having, we have to earn it through perfect practice, patience and persistence.
@jwinship Nice one, I practice most of what you have suggested Jeff, and it really dose help.
I have yet to try and sharpen a saw, but I’m going to have to learn soon. 😉
Agreed. Good advice and suggestions.
I’ve told myself many times to do exactly that. But, the word “procrastination” was invented for me! 🙂
In addition, I see the gaps in time or, even a project I’m not excited about building as an opportunity to build some shop appliances or, restore some old tools or, build something else to improve my work environment.
Hey Ken, I think saw sharpening is easier than doing plane blades and chisels. I would recommend wearing a pair of magnifiers though.
Kelly, I’m exactly the same way about procrastinating. But what I’ve found helps is if I leave say, the board with marks on it, in the vice with the saw laying next to it, I’ll drop my briefcase on the garage floor on the way in from work and saw some lines. Getting it ready the day before seems to help me get started. And if you’re really PO’ed from work, you can take it out on the piece of firewood. Always good to have a piece handy. 😉
Just a couple comments. One, I do like the overlap of information, I might not have seen the other video, and then wonder how a certain thing was done.
Living where I do, I don’t have access to all the products you would find in the States or England. Wax was one of those. No paste wax for flooring or furniture here. But they do have shoe polish. So I checked with Kiwi shoe polish on the internet. This is what they said. Shoe polish is a great furniture polish as it comes in colors and you can match color to a finish, especially an old finish that may have scratches. So, just a tip there if you need a colored wax. I have used the shoe wax for quite awhile until I was able to have some paste wax shipped to me from the states. It works well.
I don’t know if all waxes will react the same, but in this video Paul talked about wax build up. Kiwi said wax doesn’t build up, but blends into the original coating and only builds up to the original depth. If I have to trust a source for wax, I’ll go with what Paul says, as he’s been in this profession more than a few years, and experience is the best teacher.
For me, you can repeat information over and over, I haven’t seen all the videos, and sometimes forget what I did see. But I’d have to not know a procedure just because I missed a previous video. For those of you who don’t like seeing the repeated information, that says to me, your depth of knowledge is something I envy.
Lovely project,I liked the home made beading tool, very useful. And thanks for the finishing method.
Many thanks Larry.
very nice paul thx.
Hi Paul (& team),
Great videos and really useful but I can’t find them on your YouTube channel. Is there anyway episodes 4-8 could be uploaded so I can continue to develop my dovetail box making.
Came back to this series to brush up my skills a bit and noticed something at the end that I’ve run into a few times now. When using paste wax with 0000 steel wool, I get little bits of steel wool stuck in the wax. Which then contaminates the wax in places. I’m guessing the only real solution is more elbow grease and changing the buffing cloth frequently. You can see what I’m referring to at around 28:11, especially in the groove.
Hi Joe, you might try using synthetic steel wool, say by 3M, to avoid this problem.
@sanford Thanks. That’s such a simple and obvious solution, I should have thought of that. I have grey and maroon pads but Googled and they literally make synthetic 0000 “steel” wool. Grabbing some this evening!
I wish I’d known about this when I was teaching fine art. My students would have snapped them up faster than I could make them. What fun!
Thank you for showing how to make box. This is my start to Move up to make Kitchen drawers. You need to start some where i think this is perfect. I work with would all my lifes but i have never done and i fin work includes joinery. I’m really Happy found you on Youtube and Movn to your personal site.