Joiner’s Toolbox – Episode 8

Joiners Toolbox 8

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With the trim finished, it is time to fit the bottom of the box. Paul uses ship lapped boards as in the original but diverges slightly. He does this using a rebate plane and then fits them to width so they sit inside the bottom trim. Once these are screwed in place, he fits the bottom cleats which lift the box of the floor and we’re ready to fit the lid.


  1. garyprott on 11 February 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Another episode where I find a new way to do something. Probably better and stronger as well. What an easy way to install that middle cleat. It’s so simple that I never thought to do it that way. As always, thanks for what you do. GP

  2. david o'sullivan on 11 February 2015 at 8:10 pm

    its coming on well .it still amazes me what can actually be achieved with a few hand tools .great

  3. Eddy Flynn on 11 February 2015 at 9:06 pm

    this is going to be a busy spring/summer lots to catch up on .

  4. bilya on 11 February 2015 at 9:33 pm

    I’m struggling to understand where the allowance is for expansion across the width of the boards on the base. Paul fits the last board absolutely tight/flush across the width. There doesn’t seem to be any allowance built into the half-lap joint, which are fitted tight as well. So what would stop the base boards stressing (or evening opening up) the carcass of the box if they expanded significantly across their width?

    • bilya on 11 February 2015 at 9:51 pm

      Sorry – I meant opening up the bottom trim, not the carcass.

      • Anonymous on 12 February 2015 at 6:08 am

        Winter is the most humid time of the year in England ( having just looked at some charts on the net ) so it is only going to get drier. Drier = smaller = shrink.

        That’s my guess and I’m sticking to it 😉

        • SharpPencil on 12 February 2015 at 7:09 am

          Pardon….but I think you will find ‘humid = humidity’ I.e. More moisture … as wood absorbs moisture it can only go one way and that is not shrink.
          When wood dries it shrinks. J

          • Anonymous on 12 February 2015 at 1:48 pm

            We agree then. I’m saying that being most humid now means that it is as large as it is going to get – short of dropping it off the boat.

  5. Christof on 11 February 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Yes, this question is troubling me too. I thought using the ship lapped joints would also include to leave some gap between the bottom boards. Just to allow for shrinkage OR expansion. The only explanation coming to my mind assembling those boards without any space left for expansion would be that the used boards do already have high humidity and would therefore only shrink over time.
    Well, let’s say that wouldn’t be the case, what would be Paul’s advice to size and space those boards to not only allow for shrinkage but also for expansion. Would the depth of the rebates need to be increased and proper space saved between the boards where they meet? What should a not so experienced woodworker consider to avoid troubles with expanding boards in such case?


    • bobeaston on 12 February 2015 at 1:01 am

      At 7:30, Paul mentions that the wood has been acclimated to his shop for some time. All he seems to be concerned about is shrinkage, not expansion.

  6. bit101 on 11 February 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Excellent. Recently finished a blanket chest. Very similar to this project. I enjoy watching these, seeing the similarities and differences in how I chose to do things. I did a shiplapped bottom as well. Almost identical process on that. As always though, lots of good tips.

  7. jtblckmaro on 11 February 2015 at 11:29 pm

    I think he tight fitted the base because he let all the boards acclimate to his shop for a few weeks. Would there still be concerns of expansion if it stays in the shop? Assuming the shop is climate controlled, that is.

    • Paul Sellers on 23 February 2015 at 9:32 pm

      There is an assumption here that expansion within the recess will take place but the probability is the confinement will actually prevent absorption. As I explained elsewhere, the important thing was to replicate what a hundred thousand woodworker’s did over two or three centuries. That was the whole purpose of this project. If you want to do it differently that will be fine.

  8. Jason on 12 February 2015 at 2:42 am

    So if it were going to made as a blanket chest, should the boards acclimate inside? I don’t think the Mrs. would appreciate that. 😉

  9. Charles Cleland on 12 February 2015 at 5:31 am

    Paul has mentioned in the past that the castle where his workshop is housed is temperature and humidity controlled to an extreme degree to preserve the antiques inside. I would imagine he knows exactly where his location is in the yearly humidity changes as well, so whoever mentioned he is probably only concerned about shrinkage is probably spot on(if wood has expanded to the max for the year for his location for the time of year this was filmed). Somewhere (maybe the lumberjocks forum?) I saw a shop made “gauge” someone had made with a wide panel that was only a couple inches long that was fixed at one end and had a long arm like a clock hand attached to a pivot point on the other (loose) end. He had marked the point the clock hand moved to over the course of a year or two giving him the range of expansion wood had in his shop over the course of the year so he could easily tell how he needed to build allowences for movement into his furniture based on the time of year. The long arm with the off center pivot points exaggerated the distance the wood had moved so the two extreme marks on the wall from shrunk to expanded were several inches apart. It was a well thought out gadget. I’ll see if I can find it again.

    • bilya on 12 February 2015 at 12:59 pm

      I don’t really buy this, for at least three reasons:

      1) Paul’s workshop may be well temperature- and humidity-controlled; but if he takes his chest somewhere for any length of time which is more (or less) humid, the base will be put under stresses. There’s no way that Paul’s workshop in winter is somehow the most humid environment possible… quite the contrary I imagine.

      2) This argument would also suggest that you can only make certain items of furniture in winter: hardly very practical.

      3) In any case, even if the only concern were shrinkage (not expansion) the screws in the bottom cleats would still cause stresses if the boards shrunk: the wide boards have two screws in each across their width, screwed into a cleat with grain orientated at 90 degrees (and thus with little movement).

      I hope that Paul will have a chance to give us a definitive answer.

      • bilya on 12 February 2015 at 1:01 pm

        I realise that he’s in the middle of a 9-day foundational course, so time is tight…

      • Peter Bernhardt on 18 June 2016 at 9:00 pm

        Just viewing this project now, and I had the same thought: shouldn’t the screw holes in the cleats be a bit elongated to allow for movement of the bottom boards? I think with nails this is less of a concern (that’s been my experience, anyway), but with screws I think this might lead to some amount of cracking over the seasons. Then again, maybe this is only a concern with harder woods.

  10. vips on 12 February 2015 at 8:36 am

    Perhaps this has been mentioned before, but is the main camera a little out of focus? I’m not sure if it’s just my computer?

    • Eddy Flynn on 12 February 2015 at 1:49 pm

      yes it does seem to be a little out of focus but if you had eyesight like mine you learn to live with things like this lol, i can tell you the team are getting to grips with new camera equipment (i hope that wasn’t a secret) not sure if this the new or older equipment though,

    • Philip Adams on 18 February 2015 at 7:11 pm

      Hello Vipul,
      The wide shot is indeed slightly out of focus in a few shots, sorry about that. Hopefully it will not cause to much of an issue. I noticed the focus was on on a few shots when checking through the footage, so hopefully there is not too much that is out of focus.
      Kind Regards,

  11. Nir on 12 February 2015 at 9:03 am

    Yes Vipul, I noticed that too.
    nevertheless, another great episode and educational discussions here 🙂

  12. DavidPaulsen on 12 February 2015 at 4:13 pm

    I also struggle to understand why Paul fit the final bottom board so tightly (okay, it might only shrink at this point) and then screw it as well, and even, with bottom braces/feet going the perpendicular way. At least nails would allow for the expansion and contraction, which certainly will happen. Wood is never constant, no matter how old. But maybe it will be fine. I have also seen antique drawers with the bottom boards running along it’s depth, and been surprised to see that no cracking had occurred. Time will tell I guess.

  13. mike melendrez on 12 February 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Paul and team, thank you for bringing us this great video as I can imagine how busy you are. It is a wonderful thing that you all do.

    Thank you
    Mike Melendrez

  14. Ben Elbert on 12 February 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Yes , every episode has such great detail. I learn something more and affirm what I already know from each episode. Thank You Paul and camera team you are doing very well.

  15. Jonathon Jongsma on 13 February 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I’m wondering why there is a textual description of each episode that is displayed on the project category page (“With the trim finished, it is time to fit the bottom of the box…”), but this text doesn’t show up on the episode page itself (i.e. this page).

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