1. I made a friend online who is also a woodworker interested in using hand tools. We are going to meet up in May of 2017 at a woodworking show in Iowa. I think I will make two of these and give one to my friend Rob in May.

    1. Isn’t that nearly every video? There’s watching and listening in the videos to understand what to shoot for, then there is practice at the bench. It’s in the practice that things start to make sense.

    2. Hi Dave,

      Reading the grain and listening to the sounds a plane makes take practice. Take a piece of scrap and look closely at the grain. If you are unable to determine which direction it is going, just pick a direction as best you can (you have a 50/50 chance right). Then clamp the piece in your vice and take a swipe or two with a plane. Pay attention to how the plane sounds as you push it across the board. Then inspect the finish left behind. If it is rough with some tear out you are most likely going against the grain. If it is nice and smooth chances are you have it right. No matter the result, turn the board around and repeat the experiment. Do this with 3 or 4 different boards and it will begin to make more sense what Paul is saying. If you have questions leave a post here and I will help you out best I can.

  2. Thanks for another wonderful example of woodworking project, which I have just bought a piece of oak to complete myself. But also thanks for your excellent teaching skills. I love the way you have my complete attention and I’m never bored when you emphasise something I already know, or that you explained in a previous video. I say this as an experienced teacher myself, but good teaching or training is not something that all master craftsmen can do.

  3. When I first saw the straight edge I assumed the bottom flat was what would be made straight. If I understand it correctly it is the edges that are to be the reference straight edges. Correct?

    I would have benefitted from more discussion on how to ensure the edges are straight.

    I am at the stage in my learning where I am still trying to understand the level of precision that is necessary. I will work on developing my eye.

    1. Draw a line with it, flip it end for end and draw another. If they match then they are straight. Any discrepancy will be magnified 2x.

      About necessary precision, all I can say is no gaps and the joints fit like gloves. It’s fairly quantum in a general sense. Things fit or they don’t. A board is flat or it’s not. I’ve been working wood for 3 years, the past year exclusively by hand and I can now work within a .001″ tolerances on a good day and generally by eye. Paul generally works to the .0001″, which high quality squares are calibrated to.

      Some say you can’t work to that tolerance in wood, just ignore them.

  4. What a plaisure to watch your videos! It’s always a gift to me when I know that a new wwmc episode or project is available. I’m a french speaking québécoise, but you and your team make it so clear!!! Thank you!

    Ps: And, thanks to your jokes about your belly! Hihihi! I’m working on that aspect of the profession!

  5. Hello, I’ve recently subscribed to Master classes and they are a fantastic resource. I wish I had found them sooner. I got into the carpenters apprentice program 18 years ago and it’s how I make my living, but wood working is my passion. I started with my fathers hand tools, planes braces etc. He passed a few months ago and I am incredibly grateful to be able to learn how to sharpen his saws and bring all of his tools back to life.
    One question I have on this video:
    I’ve seen straight edges before that taper on one side, leaving the other as the “straight” edge, presumably because exposing the end grain allows the transfer of moisture to happen more evenly, which would in theory keep the edge true. Is this valid in your opinion, Paul? Or anyone else?

  6. Dear Phil,

    Then perhaps this should not be named straight-edge, as that tool according to OED (the 20 volumes one) is for assessing flatness:


    A narrow strip of hard wood, steel, or brass, with one edge cut perfectly straight, used to test the accuracy of a plane surface, or as a guide for a cutting instrument.”

    What Mr P. Sellers shows is the shaping of a rule (ruler) with a straight edge. These can be had to impressive accuracy; thus often used (and named) as straight-edges.

    My memory functions as a semi-domesticated black hole, so I might be in complete err, but I believe there is at least one video where Mr P. Sellers uses his rule as a straight-edge; i.e., checking for flatness by use of the bottom surface of the rule. (Table project?)

    Kindest regards

  7. I have made two of these starting with 2″x2″ Oak stock. Each time, my finished piece looked great but it seems that when I cut down that long diagonal it caused the remaining wood to curl up so when you place it on a flat surface both ends are about 1/16″ – 1/8″ above the surface. I attempted to plane down the center area to compensate but this proved a bit tricky and left me with a bow in the middle.

    any suggestions?

  8. This is quite the comments feed. Just finished the videos and I thought it was pretty clear that Paul was building a jig to draw straight lines. All this sideways and upside down along with measuring in thousandths and 10 thousanths. Holy Cow! Are you building furniture or the space shuttle. I don’t even own anything that will measure in 10 thounths. Relax, build one if you like it. Hate to sound like a philistine here but I use my 2, or 4′ level for this. Easy Peasy and I already have them.

  9. Paul,

    Thanks for these videos. They teach many things besides making a straightedge. That is why I appreciate the parts that are not edited out. I learn just by watching the master work. I will probably watch this series many times.

    Thanks for telling us about putting opposing bevels on your first one. As a beginner, I make many mistakes like this.

  10. https://web.archive.org/web/20151002160522/http://home.comcast.net/~jaswensen/machines/straight_edge/straight_edge.html
    This link, assuming it goes up with the comment, will explain how to get very precise straight edges. (I remember seeing a few spewtube videos about it, but I can’t remember what search term I used). If the link does not post, search wikipedia for ‘straightedge’, scroll to the external links section and you will get to the same site.

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