Dovetail Caddy Episode 2


This is an episode in a free series. Want to watch it? It is free to do so, you just need to log into the site and you can enjoy this video and many other videos we think you will love.

In this Episode Paul shows how to cut the single dovetails on the front of this caddy. He also shows how to finish off the double dovetail he began in the first episode.


  1. André Gaudet on 7 April 2013 at 2:53 am

    thanks for this second video! these techniques and demonstrations really do help me to develop and perfect skill and accuracy. the material is very well presented and the quality is fantastic.

  2. bobeaston on 7 April 2013 at 6:15 pm

    However…. Paul, Your work is too good.

    How are we to learn how to overcome our difficulties? For example, when that 3, 5, or 7 pin joint is too snug to go together, how do we find the sticking points? If you don’t have those difficulties, and don’t show us how to overcome them, your missing out on one of the best ways that many people learn. I’ve learned far more from my errors than my perfections. 🙂

    Appreciate all the perfection, but would like to see some “trials” too.

    • Joseph Sellers on 7 April 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for the comment.

      One quick point. We have not ‘airbrushed’ that video to make it look good or cut out sections where he makes corrections.

      I, respectfully, disagree that it would be helpful to see a less than perfect standard in Paul’s work. Paul is demonstrating a process which must be gone through to achieve high standards.

      However, (!) what I would say is this. I think it would be incredibly helpful to have footage of students (in our classes or elsewhere) and the difficulties that they face and how Paul would advise that they overcome them. This is an idea I have had for some time and it would allow others to learn from mistakes and see how to correct them. I may try to implement this at some point.

      You have to remember that Paul’s road has been a long one. I am not sure he can make a ‘bad’ dovetail 🙂

      • bobeaston on 7 April 2013 at 9:21 pm

        Thanks for that Joseph. But here is where it’s my turn to respectfully disagree.

        I’ve been around the block long enough to have more gray hair than your father, and to have learned from a few other masters.

        The best of the masters in boat building and woodcarving taught me by not only demonstrating perfection, but also by showing how things can go wrong and how to overcome the problems.

        Sometimes those demonstrations of recovery were because they were human and something actually went wrong. Other times they were intentional. Those masters recognized the value of reality and helping people cope with it.

        Those masters know that learning from mistakes is how many people learn the most, and they helped their students (customers) learn directly rather than let them wrestle with frustrations by themselves.

        Yes, I assume that in the real classrooms Paul is very helpful when students don’t replicate his processes the first time they try. I’m sure he’s there to help, just like the other masters I’ve learned from.

        Yet, with this online medium, he can’t be at our sides like in the classroom. That’s why I think it even more important to consider this aspect of teaching, not just demonstrate perfection.

        • Frank Kesselring on 8 April 2013 at 12:24 am

          Easy there big fella’ lol. You made a good point but I believe the context of the 2nd to last paragraph of Joseph’s response eluded to actually, well, agreeing with you 🙂 I do believe also that there are two ways to learn #1- to learn…and… #2- to learn. I’m sure with your experience you get what I mean…No one especially newbies or weekenders like to here that “click” or “crick” sound when assembling and encountering an unseen belly or hidden sliver. hahaha We’ve ALL been there… Let’s see what happens in future videos. It might be fun to have a whole episode dedicated
          to ” oops!” Especially before some happen, although I think that Paul’s Direction and verbal insights sometimes take care of a bit of those frustrating moments in wood craft. Thirty five + years and I still get those moments once in a great while… Have a great Sunday friend!
          Franz Kesselring

          • schs0018 on 9 April 2013 at 1:07 am


            Here is another way to look at it, the cause and effect relationship. The effect is that your dovetails do not line up like Paul’s and you want to learn how to learn how to make them fit properly after they are made, i.e. troubleshoot the effect. Your time is better invested troubleshooting the cause. What is the cause of the dovetails not fitting? Maybe your dovetails are not perpendicular, maybe your square is not accurate or you cut the wrong ‘wayside’, etc.?
            If you focus on fixing the effect you will always have dovetails that do not line up and you will always need a special way to troubleshoot them. That’s twice the work. Take the time to figure out why the do not fit and you will solve your problem.

      • D.J. King on 10 March 2014 at 9:44 pm

        Hi Joseph,

        I was looking back through this project and the associated comments and just wanted to add my 2 cents. FWIW, I agree with that its VERY important to see what right (or perfect) looks like and I also agree that it would be, as you put it, “incredibly helpful to have footage of students (in our classes or elsewhere) and the difficulties that they face and how Paul would advise that they overcome them.”. I do hope this is still on your radar despite all the incredible and voluminous work you all are doing. I think its still an idea with merit and I hope it hasn’t gotten completely lost in the sea of grand schemes. My hope is that its written down somewhere in some book so as not to be forgotten. Thanks for all you do and keep up the great work.

        • Philip Adams on 12 March 2014 at 10:35 pm

          We do indeed have it in mind, but thanks for the reminder. This is a bit of a work in progress, so don’t hold your breath. Hopefully as we continue to move forward there will be more and more resources we can put together.

    • Steve Follis on 14 April 2013 at 1:31 am

      Hey Bob, I saw your boxes you have posted on your blog. They are really nice!! I think we need to get Paul together with Mary May for a project in the future!

      • bobeaston on 14 April 2013 at 2:54 am

        I won”t argue your suggestion Stephen. Both masters are great and it would be interesting to see that sort of collaboration.

        Yet, this is a thread about one of Paul’s videos and we needn’t be hijacking it.

    • Anonymous on 14 April 2013 at 11:57 pm

      I’m not ready for a 7-point dovetail although I like the challenge for some time later. Perhaps a different project.

  3. Anonymous on 7 April 2013 at 7:03 pm

    It seems that the sacrificial piece used to make a “dead-square” cut is slightly proud of the hardwood piece. Is that correct?

  4. Michael Petre on 7 April 2013 at 7:23 pm

    As chance would have it, I was hand-milling some of my riven beech stock this afternoon to make a caddy or two 🙂

    Thanks again for this video series!

  5. Dan Woloz on 8 April 2013 at 6:43 am

    Thanks very much for again another wonderful video. I would love to buy one of those Stanley knives but can’t find any in the US. Do you think they’re available here?

  6. BondiMacF on 11 April 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Where can you get mahogany these days? I thought it’s an endangered species.
    Where do I go for any decent wood actually? B&Q is so incredibly expensive. There’s a sawmill a couple of miles down the road – would that be a good place?

  7. Steve Follis on 12 April 2013 at 6:25 am

    Bondi, where do you live?

    • BondiMacF on 15 April 2013 at 8:14 pm

      Hi Stephen, I’m in Ipswich, Suffolk, UK. Yourself?

      I’ve read about Witnesham Sawmills a few miles from here, but haven’t tried them out yet. Will do when I get some time.

      Currently working on a bed made out of reclaimed Oak beams. The timber has come out of a couple of 300 year old stately homes just outside of town.
      It’s hard as steel. It took me 2 hours to chisel a single mortise 25mm x 100mm wide x long and about 150mm deep.
      Nicked the chisel on some 300 year old iron nails in the act as well. Might need new chisels when I’m done with this project. 🙂

  8. Ken on 29 April 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Any Idea when episode three will be available Joseph.


    Ken 😉

    • Ken on 8 May 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Bump 😉

      • Joseph Sellers on 8 May 2013 at 9:50 pm

        Thanks for bumping, I missed this. It should be up in the next week. Someone else is editing it but it should be up soon.

        It is a slightly lower priority behind the coffee table.

  9. Steven Longley on 14 May 2013 at 3:13 am

    I will have to agree with both Bob and Joseph regarding learning from mistakes. I’ve always heard that the mark of true craftsmanship is knowing how to correct mistakes unnoticeably .

    I took part of my foundation course under Paul when he was teaching in Texas – and Joseph is correct, Paul is quite helpful (read resourceful) in assisting students recover from their miscues.


  10. wdelliott on 23 February 2014 at 11:50 am

    When Paul saws the knife lines at 3:45, he did not use the chisel to accentuate the knife lines before cutting. I assume he was short-cutting since he has the skill to do so. Would you think it appropriate for those of us less skilled to chisel out the knife line here also?

  11. Dave on 23 February 2014 at 1:29 pm

    William, these are cut on end grain, same as rip cutting with the grain. It’s not necessary to chisel out a knife line. However, you can use a backing board placed against the piece cross grain and chisel out a knife line to ensure you are cutting square. Paul demonstrates this in the tool chest project.

  12. andyingermany on 3 July 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Paul, in the last episode you used a chisel against the knifewall to make a broader groove for the knife. Is there a reason you don’t do that for the pins, but instead just make a deeper cut with the knife and then cut with the saw?

    • andyingermany on 3 July 2014 at 7:57 pm

      Sorry. ‘broader groove for the knife’ should read “broader groove for the saw”.

  13. Philip Adams on 4 July 2014 at 11:27 am

    Hi Andy, the reason that Dave gives above is correct, that it doesn’t really work to chisel down to the knife wall on end grain. Using the backer, as Dave says, is a good method. Do you know that method?

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.