Occasional Table episode 3


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Paul lays out and cuts the mortises, reflecting on and using the same tools and techniques used by the original craftsman, as well as showing the method he would tend to use. Then he prepares the material for the aprons, cutting the stock to the correct angle, ready for cutting the tenons in the next episode.


  1. jdrew500 on 29 October 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Really do appreciate the commentary on the old craftsman’s technique and processes.

  2. david o'sullivan on 30 October 2014 at 12:40 am

    a history and science lesson of the masters of old .loved it

  3. mike melendrez on 30 October 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Wonderful video I am so in awe of your knowledge of the craft. I thank you for the opportunity be a student.

  4. STEVE MASSIE on 30 October 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Paul this is really a great project, I would love to be able to find some old wood like you have. Another thing I love even though your procedures or steps are very similar you still manage to show a new technique.

    I love these classes a you and your crew are doing a marvelous job on educating us.


  5. doolspin on 5 November 2014 at 5:11 pm


    I built a small table similar to this one a few weeks ago. For my reference faces, I used the two inside faces (where the mortises are). My thought was this insured all my aprons would be flush and square with respect to the others. And I only need to worry about two faces of the legs being square, not all four.

    If you use the outside faces as you have here, isn’t it critical that the two opposite faces are square to the two reference faces, less you end up with an out of square base?

    I cannot remember how you marked the legs for your other tables. Is the use of the tapering jig what allows this method of marking, because it makes sure all faces are square with the opposite?

    Thanks, I am indebted to you for the knowledge you provide every week.

    Joshua D.

  6. Paul Sellers on 13 November 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Accuracy and squareness is something I find critical to my work and my wellbeing. So I do make certain all faces are square and parallel to one another anyway all the time.That means that I can always reference any face I want to. That said, the tapering jig too is as accurate and within fractions of a millimetre. The jig is made so that after the first two reference faces are established and dead 90-degrees, planing in the jig makes the legs so close your fingertips cannot detect in differences in sizes.

  7. Chris Bunney on 17 November 2014 at 11:15 am

    Argh! I made a silly mistake. Even though I followed the mantra of “measure twcie, cut once”, I still managed to cut the wrong edge off my tennon (I offered the apron to the leg mortise upside down by accident). This means that I now have a tenon which doesn’t fill the length of the mortice (as I had to cut the other end for it to be the right way round).

    Is there any way I can fix this? I assume glueing the bit of tennon I cut off is going to have vey little strength ….

    I’m very upset at myself!

    • Frank Joseph on 17 November 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Cut a new board. Its ok we all do the dum sometimes.last week I cut pins in the wrong board

      • Chris Bunney on 17 November 2014 at 7:55 pm

        Ha! That’s the answer I was hoping not to see! Oh well. Chalk that on up to experience, I guess. Maybe i will turnout into some coasters instead….. 🙂

        • Chris Bunney on 17 November 2014 at 7:57 pm

          … “turn it into some coasters”, that is meant to say. Autocorrect mangled it!

          • Frank Joseph on 17 November 2014 at 11:38 pm

            Picture frames, glue stick,chopsticks and. Tooth picks. All come to mind

  8. adrian on 7 December 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Great to know that old table top did not end up in the landfill. You have the wisdom of those who really do appreciate the rareness of that material.
    Thanks again Paul and crew for now
    I have gained another rule in my woodwork. Search the second hand stores for salvageable lumber.

  9. Michael Higgins on 24 November 2017 at 6:22 am

    Hi Paul,

    So far I’ve watched 3 episodes of this series and I have enjoyed them immensely. Particularly, I’ve been happily following how to disassemble a piece of furniture and using historical methods to build a reproduction.

    I haven’t watched the whole library of your videos as of yet, so please forgive me – have you done similar videos? If you have I’ll eventually find them, but if you haven’t, can you PLEASE add more? I have to say that this content has been the most enjoyable thus far.

    Secondly, have you shared your drawings (in your log books) with anyone? I think that the knowledge and the projects you’ve recorded and continue to add to is vast and tremendously valuable both for preserving the history and methods of traditional furniture making. So the reason for the question is whether there are any plans to publish/share your drawings and projects with your collective cyber apprentices. I’m not at your level by any means – in fact, I’m likely never to reach it. Having said that, I believe that I am one of many that are passionate about conserving the traditional methods of designing, restoring and building furniture.

    Last – as a keen woodworker, I would like to develop the techniques you have been sharing. I am doing so through practise and applying your instructions to some of my personal projects. I have done some research into online woodworking, and I feel as though you are ticking a lot of boxes with your teachings – but in your opinion, do you feel as though there would be any way to deliver a structured apprenticeship package online to students and willing learners?

    Thanks for your time and all the great work you’re sharing with us.


    • Philip Adams on 24 November 2017 at 2:51 pm

      Hello Michael,
      The Joiners Toolbox was an piece that Paul bought and the made a similar version. We will continue to look out for pieces that fit in with what the majority of subscribers would find useful.

      Thank you for the comment on Paul’s journal. Drawings do sometimes make it to his blog as well as on the latest projects. Many of the ideas in Paul’s journals are his personal designs or thoughts, so unlikely to make it out apart from as projects.

      We are working at the moment to try organise our teaching and fill out the areas that are somewhat lacking. Hopefully you will see improvements over time.

      Best, Phil

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