Hanging Wall Shelf: Episode 1

Hanging Wall Shelf Episode 1 Keyframe

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.

This project relies on six housing dados which isn’t surprising given that this joint is best known for its use as a shelving joint. All good joinery begins with good layout and Paul runs through laying out the joints in detail. This project will give you a bunch of practice making this joint and prepare you for making other shelving projects in the future.

To see the beginner friendly step by step version of this episode on our sister site, Common Woodworking, click here.


  1. redwood on 20 December 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks guys, great start.

  2. Stefaan Verweirder on 20 December 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Nice paul

  3. Stefaan Verweirder on 20 December 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Nice paul

  4. Jim Thornton on 20 December 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Just joined this site. Lots of good instruction. I like the format.

    This looks like a great project for some clear pine I have. I found the template for the arch, but I’m unable to find any plans for the dimensions of the cabinet.

    • Craig on 20 December 2018 at 6:09 pm

      Go to the opening page
      Under videos scroll down to hanging wall shelf.
      The intro video will have a ”
      Click here” for the tech diag.

      • Jim Thornton on 20 December 2018 at 6:38 pm

        Got it Craig……..thanks. I’m still learning my way around here. This wall shelf is going to be a great first step into moving from 50 years of machine woodworking into the world of hand woodworking. `


  5. Phil Waites on 20 December 2018 at 5:16 pm

    The quality of the videos (and the tuition) is superb.

  6. Don Trust on 21 December 2018 at 1:59 pm

    This was (is) a great start to this project. One that I’m going to start on as soon as I finish my present one. The spot is already picked out where it will hang. I just love the calm, efficient manner of Paul’s presentation. Such a welcome change after all the frantic Youtube videos of some other makers. I do like fast paced videos occasionally, but Paul’s style is the one I come back to when I want some peaceful content while still learning masterful ways of using hand tools.

    After years of working with machines, both at work and at home, it’s so nice to learn these methods of working wood with hand planes, chisels, knives and such.

    Funny, I tried 2 different marking knives before trying Paul’s version. Now, I can’t imagine using anything else. The other ones just sit in a drawer.

  7. kerckhof Patrick on 23 December 2018 at 4:48 pm

    stil learning of a master step by step

    • dunnison on 24 December 2018 at 7:20 pm

      Not sure how many times I have watched Paul make dado cuts now, including how many times I have re-watched episodes over and over, but I just love it. AND always learn something new. Just a beautiful thing to behold.

  8. Jim Thornton on 26 December 2018 at 3:35 am

    Our big Christmas celebration was last night. Nice quiet day today with both my wife and I enjoying our hobbies. I’d finished up the base for my new workbench, so decided to take a break and mill out the materials for this “Hanging Wall Shelf”. I’ve had a stash of clear pine for 30 years that’ll be perfect. Spent the day directing my apprentices (“J”, “P”, and “T”……….AKA “jointer”, “planer”, and “tablesaw”) as to what I wanted done. They did well! The difference this time was that I used my new smoother plane to surface the face and edges of each piece after they were done.
    I hope that this “Hanging Wall Shelf” ends up with a category over on the forum so I can start a thread there.

  9. Jim Thornton on 29 December 2018 at 12:21 am

    Got all of my stopped dados done. What an enjoyable process………….my new Veritas medium router plane worked great! My first time using a “cabinet makers triangle”………….does that ever make it easier to keep track of the orientation of the pieces.

    Looking forward to the next video. Meanwhile back to my workbench project.

  10. Jim Thornton on 29 December 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Heads up for anyone building this Hanging Wall Shelf: The “cutting list shows the middle shelf as being 13 3/8″ long. In actuality it is 13 1/2” long, which is what the drawing shows. I should of noticed this discrepancy, but didn’t. I’ll be making a new middle shelf.

  11. bruseth on 3 January 2019 at 4:24 am

    There will be more episodes for this project, right? Sorry to be a little slow, but it said that there is only one episode. I’m just confused 😐. If there are more episodes, I wonder when we can expect the next one. I’m just a little confused. I really liked this episode. Than you Paul and crew.

  12. Brian Miller on 4 January 2019 at 6:10 pm

    Happy Birthday Paul. I’m along for another great ride. I’ll be making 2 of these. A matched set for either side of my kitchen sink. Thank You.

  13. Kent Hansen on 3 February 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Paul, you’re amazing…try as I might, the occasion is rare when my housing dado turns out to be so perfect…loose on one, too tight on the next…still working on it but you make it look like the most simple accomplishment. You’re poetry in motion, my friend.

    • Keith Walton on 3 February 2019 at 4:01 pm

      I used to have the same issue, getting better though. Try to get the knife point almost under the side of the board. Keep the bruising on waste wood, and shoot for too tight, because you can always plane a shaving off the piece fitting in the dado

  14. Jason Travis on 8 February 2019 at 2:57 am

    I believe the technical drawing is missing the dado for the top rail.
    So far my wood is cut, marked with a pencil, and I’ve started my knife cuts. This will be my first piece made from Paul’s design. I’m excited.

    • Jim Thornton on 8 February 2019 at 3:20 am

      Well darned if it isn’t missing! I was just following along with the videos and cut it without even realizing that it was missing from the drawing.

    • Izzy Berger on 21 February 2019 at 10:35 am

      Hi Jason,

      Thank you for pointing this out.

      We have now updated the drawing to include the top rail dado.

      I hope you enjoy making it!

      Kind Regards,

  15. Mark Carter on 4 August 2019 at 8:40 am

    I trained as a cabinet maker many years ago and after a very long journey ended up in construction management as that was where the money was.
    Now as a hobbiest and also finally have the space am really enjoying learning again especially using hand tools which is so refreshing and will give more satisfaction to my proposed projects. Bench will be first and thank you Paul for all the inspiration and you’re teaching style which is really refreshing.

  16. Colin Scowen on 5 August 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Would love to see a through sliding dovetail version of this. Are sliding dovetails shown in any of the projects?


  17. Peter Demary on 9 April 2020 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Izzy,
    As I watch these videos, I try to pay attention to Paul’s logic and rationale, so that in the future when I am deciding which joint is best to use in a given situation (without a video tutorial), I can make an informed decision.
    To that end, can you explain why the stopped housing dado in this project is on the bottom shelf? I would have thought that putting it in the side rails would have been stronger, or tenons, or if it needs to go on the bottom shelf, a sliding dovetail. I can’t make sense of why we use this joint in this situation, as I would have expected that over time, the contents placed on the shelf and their downward force would wear away at a joint glued up with a lot of end-grain.
    Thanks for helping me understand!

    • Izzy Berger on 16 April 2020 at 4:07 pm

      Hi Pete,

      Paul says:

      The project was designed as a vehicle for new woodworkers to learn to make housing dadoes of different types, there is no problem with strength as it is. Adding sliding dovetails and other joints would take it to a new level and take it out of the realm of skill building and reinforcement to complicate what was meant to be simple.

      Kind Regards,

  18. Julio Machado on 20 May 2021 at 12:47 am

    Boa noite. Não me canso de rever essa aula. Sempre tem um detalhe para se lembrar. Parabéns.
    Good night. I can’t get enough of going over this class. There’s always a detail to remember. congratulations.

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