39 Comments

  1. This is the first project that doing a prototype build-along, and Paul has saved me a great frustration: since I’ve never done a box where the top has to be cut-apart, it never occurred to me how difficult it would be to separate a dry fit without damaging the sides!

  2. Hi enjoying this one, not only the content, also observing the tools in the back ground, in the cupboard and on the bench, that’s one classy looking cutting gauge you have.
    Regards Larry.

  3. I bought a plough plane and it is one of my favourite tools. I find it easier to use than a power router to cut grooves. But occasionally I get a board that wants to tear badly when I cut a groove. I notice Lee Valley sells a left handed version of the plough plane which would allow me to cut in the opposite direction. It is fairly expensive. Is it a worth while purchase or is there an easier work arround ??

    1. Check Derek Cohen’s website… he puts a small back bevel in the cutters which eliminates tearout. I’ve done the same to my straight and bead blades with excellent results.

    2. Or you can do as Paul has done many times — cut the edges of the groove with, say, a marking gauge. That way, the tear-out won’t get outside the groove, and if the bottom of your groove is a bit ugly, who cares? It’s not a show surface, and the quality of the groove is not affected by the texture of its bottom

      1. Concerning Minute 24:00 : Are we shure about the 10 5/8″ radius for the rounding of the box?
        I made all the pieces to spec, but when I used my template to mark the rounding I am nowhere near of 3/8″ left on sides of the box. So it seams that the radius of 10 5/8″ is much too tight. Where could I have made a mistake?

  4. A question about the cutting gauge.
    Would the veritas marking/cutting gauge Paul reviewed before on the blog (here https://paulsellers.com/2012/04/veritas-markingmortise-gauge-review/) provide enough of a cut to prevent tear out from the plough plane? I don’t have either a cutting or the veritas plane, but I get the impression the cutting gauge Paul uses in this video makes a slightly deeper cut than the circular cutters on the veritas. (I may be very wrong on that of course!)

    I’m eying the veritas gauge as it is a bit easier to find here on mainland europe than trying to get a mortice gauge AND a cutting gauge online- I just have a single point marking gauge at the moment. Would be nice to know if it can multi task to be an effective cutting gauge as well…

    As always thanks for the videos, aiming to get the keepsake box done as a christmas present this year.

    1. Hugh, I have the Veritas gauges and a nice Colen Clenton cutting gauge. I used the cutting gauge on the top/bottom and the Veritas gauge for the sides to prevent tear out on either sides of the groove. The cutting gauge cuts deeper, but the Veritas did the job for me on a pine version of this box. For hard woods, I suspect a marking gauge may not do as well.

      Great minds think alike – I’m working on a batch of these boxes for Christmas, too. 😉

  5. I feel like I missed something here… According to the cut-list, the top and bottom pieces are to be 5/8″ thick, but this episode (and also the drawing) shows centering a 3/16″ groove around the edges of the top and bottom pieces, leaving 3/16″ on either side of the groove. That adds up to a total thickness of 9/16″. Did I miss some step where the thickness of the top/bottom was reduced from 5/8″ to 9/16″?

    1. That extra 1/16″ on the cutting list can be put down to surface planing I think. Otherwise, just make sure to do as Paul did, and set the plow 3/16″ from the inside face so that any excess goes to the outside. All the best.

  6. Hello,

    I am confused about what is actually done with the top and bottom pieces in regards to the interior measurements and adding the 3/4”, because If all the pieces are made to the correct lengths, etc., then there is no adjustments needed.
    When I cut the grooves in the top and bottom, I made a catastrophic error and I am unable to determine why.
    Thank you

    1. I believe I ran into the same issue, I cut the top and bottom exactly as measured in the cut list…..and it was too large. So to everyone who is building this box don’t forget to measure the inside of YOUR box once the dovetails are cut and then add 3/4″.

  7. I laughed when Paul pulls out a 3/16″ chisel to take the corner off inside the lid groove. I quietly asked myself, “How many people have a 3/16 chisel?” Luckily I had another plough plane, so I used its 3/16″ iron, gingerly tapping a hammer on the bare end. Problem solved.

  8. I had an extendable aluminum trammel set that I bought for nothing at a tool sale years ago. One end holds a point, and the other standard drafting lead. Not as resourceful as Paul’s suggestion, but it proved itself very useful.

  9. Here’s another trick to mark out the radius: get a wooden yardstick from the hardware store or fabric store. Drill a small hole on the centerline at 1″ and another hole at 11-5/8″. Pin, nail, or awl goes in one hole, pencil point in the other — an instant and totally affordable compass. Handles radii up to 35″, and, with a meter stick, works in metric too.

  10. As I understand it, Paul makes the tongue, using a plow plane, creating a grove with tongues on both sides, then he removes the tongue from one side, actually creating a rebate.
    Unless I missed it, Paul often mentions alternative approaches like using a rebate plane. (Is there an advantage in using a plow plane to create the rebate?)
    Ken

    1. Please tell me what I misunderstand:
      making a 3/16′ groove leaves two 3/16″ tongues on either side of the groove. If you remove one tongue, the other tongue remains to engage the side grooves. Because this remaining tongue was made proud, it must me reduced to fit in the side groove
      thanks
      ken

  11. After review I stand corrected I now see that the groove was 3/8 deep and paul removed only 3/16 from one the tongue
    He describes this in his drawings
    Thank you for your help
    ken

  12. The narrow edge goes in the groove while the wide edge conceals the sides of the box
    If there was one tongue going into the groove, the interface between the lid (or bottom) and the side would show.
    I hope discussion is useful to others
    thanks for the help
    Ken

  13. Hi Paul,
    Below is a email I sent to a fellow woodworker based on an observation I had from this episode. I was so excited to see a technique from you on how to make through grooves on a through dovetail box that didn’t show the grooves that I couldn’t sleep. If you are looking for “new” how to content for YouTube, I could see where you could make a stand alone video on this approach (more make it part of a series on different ways to attach box bottoms. Just a thought.
    Sincerely,
    Joe

    Hi Ralph. I have an idea for a project for you that I think you would like. It involves making a through dovetail box (I’d suggest 3/4″ stock) and using through plough plane grooves that remain hidden and don’t need to be plugged. Curious? I picked the idea/concept up from episode 2 of the 2017 Paul Sellers Master class on making the walnut keepsake box. I’m currently making this box for my wife as a Christmas gift. The gist of it is to use deep housing dados on the back of the tails. You are likely familiar with using shallow housing dado’s to help firmly register the tail piece when you then register it to use a knife to transfer the pins. If you use a deep housing dado (say 1/4″), you can easily run a 3/16″ groove via plough plane without it showing on the pin. The corresponding groove on the tail location is never an issue. This might be hard to visualize. It was for me and mostly I was confused watching Paul work and not understanding why he didn’t need a stopped groove. Once I actually did the work hands on, it totally made sense. Yes, Paul mentions this but it was subtle to me. Once I figured it out, I got so excited that I couldn’t fall asleep that night. It provides a whole new way of making box bottoms with through dovetails that isn’t that hard to do. I think you will like it. Would love to see your thoughts when you do it. I will eventually post about it on my blog but more folks read your blog and I think this is such an awesome technique we should get the word out to as many folks as possible. I am sure craftsmen hundreds of years ago knew of this but it is new to me and I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere outside of Paul Seller’s one class. In fact, I plan to email him as I think he should make a stand alone video on this as it’s such a handy technique.

  14. Hi Paul,
    I thought I would add a comment here that might help others. You are an advocate of never undercutting your dovetails when chopping out the waste. I just realized that in this piece it is even more important because when you curve the sides, any under cutting will show as a gap. Forewarned is forearmed. This box has all kinds of nice added features to it. I suspect I will make a second keepsake box as I’m leaning a lot on the first one.
    Sincerely,
    Joe

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