Moving Workshop Table: Episode 1

Moving Workshop Table Episode 1 Keyframe

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To kick off the first episode of this project, Paul shows you how to layout for the mortise holes for the main frame of the table. After laying out the upper and lower leg frame mortises, get your hammer and chisel, ready for some chopping!

Relevant Guides and Courses

For more information on laying out and cutting mortises, head over to Common Woodworking and take a look at our easy to follow guide on ‘How to make a Mortise and Tenon’:

It is important to have a sharp chisel for mortise cutting, see our beginner friendly chisel sharpening guide here:


  1. Brian Miller on 22 May 2019 at 8:11 pm

    That was quick. Your experience shows. Thanks.

  2. joeleonetti on 23 May 2019 at 4:27 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for showing us how you lay out when you are in the flow of work. Though speed isn’t my main concern when it comes to woodworking, it’s nice to see ways of how you do it that don’t impact the end joint.

    Also, I really appreciate you showing the cutoff in which you explained your rational for the two depth of tenons and how you decided which would be the shorter ones.

    This video was a good blend of how to and insight. I loved it.

    One question, when cutting these big mortises, how often would you sharpen your chisel? I know it’s a function of when it feels dull. Still, generally speaking, would you sharpen it after each leg? After two legs? Many thanks.


  3. Michael Lamb on 23 May 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Every woodworker, from amateur to master should study this video. I thought I knew how to cut mortises until I watched this.

  4. nyda on 24 May 2019 at 10:39 am

    I note that you are not using the knife wall to delineate the upper and lower limits of the mortice. I recall that is something that you have done on other occasions. Perhaps I am being pedantic in my observation. Geoff.

    • Peter Gaffney on 24 May 2019 at 6:04 pm

      I noticed this too. I believe Paul may have done this because it’s a shop table and not a fine piece of furniture. Some of his other projects have had this, too. All those have been shop projects, I believe. His furniture mortises are knife-walled. I notice that he chops the mortises the same distance from the pencil line each time so it occurs to me that this is a habit he has developed for speed and consistency. I could be wrong, but he points out several tips for speeding up the process in this video, so it may be a time saver that he doesn’t mention outright.


  5. Julia Nugent on 26 May 2019 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks for another great video. I’ve watched many, many of Paul’s mortise layout and chopping videos (from the first in the garden workbench series) and there is always something new to learn. It looks like Paul’s technique has evolved slightly – cleaning the first third out before advancing down the length of the hole – which seems like an improvement. Perhaps this is the secret to loving all 100,000+ mortises – not letting it get stale, always learning.

    Can you tell us more about the mortice jig? It looks like the leather is a new addition. I imagine it keeps the chisels sharper, but I’m wondering if it would compress overtime and become less accurate?

    Thank you Paul and the entire team!

    • joeleonetti on 28 May 2019 at 3:50 am

      I think it is some leftover floor board plywood material used as flooring in vans. Slightly grippier surface. Paul briefly talks about it in episode 7 of plywood workbench where he uses it to line his vise about half way to 2/3rds through that video.

    • Izzy Berger on 29 May 2019 at 3:41 pm

      Hi Julia,

      Paul says:
      It’s not leather, it’s a resilient plastic that reduces the wear.

      Kind Regards,

  6. marksman on 28 May 2019 at 4:51 pm

    I notice when Paul uses the pad in the vise jaws that it leaves a pattern on the wood. It appears to be some kind of squeeze out that is manufactured in the pad. Is it an oil that can be a problem when it comes to doing the surface finishing application?
    I try to use as many of the techniques that I see Paul using as I have come to appreciate working with hand tools, especially the value of SHARP! Thanks so much.

    • Izzy Berger on 29 May 2019 at 3:42 pm


      Paul says: I’ve never had a problem, but I will say that if you’re using catalysed lacquer, as in a guitar finish, you may face a problem but I doubt whether you would do that on a workbench.

      Kind Regards,

  7. mxbroome1 on 6 June 2019 at 2:03 am

    I am curious about the jig saw puzzle on the bench behind Paul. Is that a teaser for an upcoming project? Perhaps touched on in another venue like the youtube channel?

  8. dusttilldawn on 14 June 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks Paul another great video

  9. dunnison on 19 June 2019 at 3:00 am

    Hi Paul,

    Can you provide a supplier/source for the casters?

    After considerable Internet research, I have been unable to find casters with a top plate that would fit under the legs.

    The smallest top-plate I can find (1-7/8” x 2-9/16”) has 2″ casters with a capacity of only 90 lb.

    Thanks for any insights.

    • dunnison on 19 June 2019 at 3:30 am

      Answering my own comment above:

      I finally found some casters with 2-3/8″ by 2-3/8″ plates from Grainger in the US.

      Some (all?) of these have a country of origin specified as the UK, so may be the same as those that Paul is using.

      Their Canadian affiliate, Acklands Grainger, also has casters with this plate BUT the options on the Canadian site are far more restrictive and much more expensive. The US site cannot ship to Canada apparently.

  10. Erasmo Maldonado on 21 April 2021 at 8:14 pm

    Good day, thank you for such wonderful tutorials full of insight and experience. Excuse me, what are the dimensions of the mortise guide (besides the 3/4″ measure)?

    • Izzy Berger on 10 June 2021 at 9:13 am


      Paul says: Make them any size to suit the mortises and chisels you use. Mine are roughly 3 ½”sq and the depths vary to suit distances like ¼”, ⅜”, ½” and so on.


  11. Erasmo Maldonado on 21 April 2021 at 8:39 pm

    I’ve just seen the sliding movement Paul uses when marking, so I see it’s a generic width that works together with the size of the tenon piece. Thanks.

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