Joiner’s Toolbox – Episode 2

Toolbox Episode 2

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To prepare for dovetailing the corners, Paul rips a panel to width and shows how to accurately crosscut using a tenon saw. Now we are ready to layout the dovetails and Paul talks through some of the options


  1. STEVE MASSIE on 31 December 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Paul and crew thanks for this one, it seems like every episode I see and learn new way’s ( at least for me ) of doing things. I am so enjoying this and learning as we go, just wish I could have seen or done this 35 + years back when I really got interested in working wood.

    Hand tools are the way to go for sure. “Happy New Year” to you and your Family and all of my “friends” here.


  2. Sandy on 31 December 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Paul, I didn’t understand the reasoning for why you layed out the angled line across the boards instead of subdividing the boards straight across on the ends. You made two marks to begine the layout but you didn’t elaborate on why or where you marked the first two marks…. Are these random marks?

    I’m guessing that this was simply a method that the old craftsmen used 100 years ago and that is good. I like doing things things the old ways..

    • rusty on 31 December 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Sandy, the original toolbox had 11 dovetails, so instead of dividing the 12′-3/4″ width out – Paul made to marks to draw a line that was 22″ long across the board that could then be easy divided by 2″ segments to give the 11 locations for the pins. Hope this helps.

      • Sandy on 1 January 2015 at 2:07 pm

        Ok, that makes sense. He said in the video that he would explain. Maybe I missed it. But thank you for clearing that up for me.

    • fidelfs on 2 January 2015 at 5:56 pm

      The reason is the width of the board was not an exact measurement. Yes, you might divide it using math. It was 22 ¾ the original width. It was easy to have a diagonal measure with exact measurement 22 inches. He might have chose another one such as 44. Any exact measurement will do.

      It has the same principle to find the half of a board when it is not exact:

  3. David Gill on 31 December 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Sandy
    The reason for doing it is you do not need to make any calculations Paul wanted to divide the width in to 11 equal sections. By taking a dimension of 22 inches at an angle across the board he was able to use 2″ divisions.
    This is easy than deciding to divide 12 3/4″ by 11 and coming up with 1.159 ”

    Not sure I have explained it very well

  4. David Gill on 31 December 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Sorry Russell
    Your post was not there when I started sending mine

    • Frank Joseph on 1 January 2015 at 12:29 am

      What you are saying is true but remember Paul is teaching a lot of new people with no exp. At all
      and for them this is ease to show in a least that is what I think We often forget there are all was new members coming in every day looks like we will pass 8000 in early Jan. That is a Big jump from last year. I find it a wonder that Paul keeps it simple.

  5. rayc21 on 31 December 2014 at 6:10 pm

    I do like the idea of diagonal marking it makes the calculation of the dove tales a lot easier and getting them accurate.
    New idea for me.
    Thank you Paul and team.

  6. Mgolfyork on 31 December 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Seeing the width is 12 3/4. To keep it simple could you use dividers and ‘walk’ them across the width 11 times? The pins I believe would be evenly spaced

    • david o'sullivan on 31 December 2014 at 11:50 pm

      but a what distance would you have the space between your dividers so as to have equal distance on both ends of the board are you talking about dividing 3/4 by 11 .i just cant get my head around it .thanks

      • Sandy on 1 January 2015 at 2:12 pm

        In many of these videos Paul says that there are several ways to get there from here and then he shows the most simple or accurate method (his opinion). If another method works better for you, I don’t think the master would crack your knuckles….

      • rusty on 3 January 2015 at 3:33 pm

        I have used the dividers previously and I think it was Megan Fitzpatrick’s divider Youtube videos that cleared it up for me. I set the half pin distance with a chisel, then I set my dividers to the approx. distance of a pin and tail combined, then walk accross. When I reach the half pin mark – the distance past will be the pin size. which you can then adjust and retry.
        Pauls method is nice cause there is no guess and check. but with practice the dividers are quick.

  7. David Gill on 31 December 2014 at 6:49 pm

    That is true and is the way that I would do it , I think dividers are a much undervalued wood working tool.

  8. wfkiel on 31 December 2014 at 8:11 pm

    I learned the divider method from Chris Schwarz a few years ago and I think it is simpler and more accurate. The number of tails and the width of the pins are easily determined without any measurements and no need to transfer any marks from one board to another.

  9. Dave on 1 January 2015 at 1:04 am

    The divider method is my preferred method as well, but please remember that not everybody participating here is going to have a set of dividers and the method Paul is demonstrating needs little in the way of specialized tools to accomplish the layout of the dovetails on a large panel like this. My only gripe is that I’d wish he’d have shown this sooner 🙂

    • wfkiel on 1 January 2015 at 3:40 pm

      The divider method can be done with the same compass Paul used. Two are not really required. Although dividers do take a little trial and error, the amount of time wouldn’t be any longer than the “diagonal” method. The divider method is elegant and simple, BUT it is not intuitive. That alone is a good reason for Paul not to have used it on this project. The first time I saw it I thought it was some sort of magic trick. I’ve shown it to some professional cabinetmakers and their reaction was the same.

  10. bit101 on 1 January 2015 at 1:37 am

    I use the divider method as well, but it does take a bit of trial and error. Walk across, adjust the dividers, walk across again, adjust again. This way is a one shot method to get it right on. Both valid.

  11. Salko Safic on 1 January 2015 at 7:11 pm

    I agree the dividers are accurate while this method isn’t as I have for a long time used that method Paul has demonstrated until I learned the divider trick and I think it was Allen Peters who invented that divider trick not sure I may have confused him with someone else. Having said that it isn’t important which method you use as it has no impact structurally only aesthetically.

  12. mike melendrez on 2 January 2015 at 7:06 am

    Thank you Paul. I can’t wait to put my box under my bench.

  13. stevefsims on 5 January 2015 at 2:47 am

    I have a question that relates to the first video where Paul talks about taking the toolbox apart and re assembling it. I have a piece of furniture that has some loose dove tail joints and I would like to take it apart and reassemble it. I was wondering what you do to the dove tails once you take them apart to prepare them to be reassembled. For example what do you do with the hide glue that is left in the joint? I would appreciate you help.

    • Paul Sellers on 27 January 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Many old boxes were not glued but if the were simply scrape out the old before regluing taking care not to damage the wood.

  14. bilya on 5 January 2015 at 6:43 am

    Can you please explain why you turn around the plane at 11:25, and why you don’t plane all the way through?

    • JDykes on 5 January 2015 at 10:09 pm


      If you’ll permit me to offer an explanation – I obviously can’t speak for Paul, nor is this an attempt to do so. I’ll just try to give you my understanding. (Maybe someone smarter than I will chime in with a more eloquent explanation!)

      Wood is made up of fibers that run along the grain of the board. Think of a board as a collection of tubes or drinking straws running generally in the same direction. In the video, the wood fibers (or “tubes”) that make up Paul’s board are running up and down while the board is clamped in the vice. (The “tubes” are running from Paul’s toes up towards his head).

      Even though Paul is using a sharp plane, there is a possibility, as the plane reaches the far end of the board, the plane blade might catch some of those outside fibers (or straws) and splinter them off of the board.

      He turns the plane around and planes back toward the middle to ensure that the plane doesn’t splinter off some of the wood fibers at the edge of the board.

      I hope that helped a little?!?

      – John

      • bilya on 6 January 2015 at 8:39 am

        Oh – silly question. I’m sorry, I was clearly half-asleep when I watched the video. Hadn’t picked up that it was end-grain. I was looking at the long-grain on that 2×4. Thanks for replying.

  15. xpromache on 13 January 2015 at 7:11 pm


    What is the TPI on the ripping saw? I had tried the same operation with a 6TPI saw sharpened by me and it split the board after just a few inches. I restarted from the other side and it split also. Fortunately the grain was straight and the split didn’t go beyond my line.
    I finished it up with an axe 🙁

    • Paul Sellers on 27 January 2015 at 4:39 pm

      It shouldn’t split no matter what the saw tpi is. It sounds as though it’s your technique; perhaps to aggressive and misaligning your arms and upper body.

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