A Paul Sellers Dovetail Technique – Episode 2


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With the tails cuts, he uses them to layout the pins. Paul uses a knife on this sapele to ensure accuracy, then uses the cutting gauge for the depth mark. From there he cuts the tail recesses out with the dovetail saw and chisel, being careful not to move the knife wall. Once cut, Paul eases the inside corners and fits the dovetails, which completes this dovetailing technique.


  1. António on 6 May 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Another big help!
    Thanks WWMC!

  2. Bas Cost Budde on 6 May 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Seeing you balance, evaluate, assess, adjust, correct, is all so highly instructive. The more of these videos I see, the better I can discern all those tiny moments that make up a flow through the creative and constructive process. And having all this full length is the main value: the craftsmanship *really* is in the process.

    This is how I want to work, too, and this is what I will show those I can reach.

  3. Larry Williams on 7 May 2016 at 3:23 am

    Wonderfully instructive, Paul! Thank you. I love the way you solved and moved through those freak-out moments that so often freeze me right up. Backing up and repeating a cut a couple of times when necessary sure beats throwing the boards against the wall in anguished frustration. You build my confidence by showing how you deal with the process remaining clear headed and focused. Mentoring inaction here. Invaluable! Thanks again.

  4. julius on 7 May 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Well done, Paul. When viewing the job, about chopping and cleaning the tail sockets, I was wondering if it’s better to use the chisel as you skilfully did or the coping saw as I usually do at first and the chisel afterwards. What’s the better method in such a case?

    • Philip Adams on 10 May 2016 at 10:27 am

      Dear Giuliano,
      For fine work, we would tend to use a chisel. Using a coping saw is not that much faster, and there is a risk of tear-out.
      Paul said that he might use a coping saw for rougher carpentry, but the cuts are consistently finer when done with the chisel.

      • Thomas Hanson on 4 November 2016 at 10:13 pm

        I did see Paul make a small dovetail box using a coping saw in under 10 minutes. I wish I could repeat his efforts with a chisel.

  5. Torvald Håtveit on 7 May 2016 at 9:31 pm


  6. willg on 8 May 2016 at 5:00 am

    Great job Paul. Enjoyed that video. It seems after I watch you work when I get back to my projects they seem to go much easier. I think it is your calm craftsman approach that rubs off the most. I can almost hear some of your rumbling as I work those tight spots.

  7. Jerry Mazzo on 10 May 2016 at 2:10 am

    Great job Paul you the man 🙂

  8. Brian Kolley on 10 May 2016 at 2:47 am

    As always, your videos are relaxing and enjoyable. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  9. Giorgos Nicolaou on 10 May 2016 at 10:11 am

    Great videos once again Master Paul! Just a small question though.. Shouldn’t we make a template for cutting the pins as we did for cutting the tails? After all, the sets of pins will be as many as the sets for the dovetails.
    Also how many cuts do you think a template like that can withstand until we need a new one for accuracy?? Could you suggest some types of wood that would be more durable for this purpose?

    • Philip Adams on 11 May 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Hello Giorgos,
      I think you would find it very difficult to make a template that corresponds exactly with tails for the pins.

      As far as longevity of the template is concerned, Paul usually uses it a minimum of 20-30 times. However, if you use a saw with minimal set and are careful with it, it should last a very long time. As far as wood is concerned, the ideal is a straight, dense grained hardwood.
      Best, Phil

  10. Thomas Angle on 10 May 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Every time I watch you work, it makes me want to do some woodworking. It is really a pleasure to watch a craftsman work.

    On the mistake part. I would not mind seeing a mistake you made and how to fix it. I make a lot of mistakes and it would be helpful to see the fixes you use.

  11. Paolo Bartoli on 13 May 2016 at 8:19 pm

    I live in Spain and can’t see the video. The error message is:
    “Sorry, because its privacy settings the video cannot be played here.”

    • Resi Tomat on 20 May 2016 at 5:56 am


      IOS 9.3.2 has now been released, please updated your iPhone/iPad operating system and the glitch will be fixed.

      For a quicker reply, please do message us via the contact form as we try to keep this thread relevant to the episode. (This means your comment will also be removed)

      Happy woodworking, Resi

  12. Steve Noel on 20 July 2016 at 11:02 pm

    Being from a carpenter/farm background as a child, and working in construction as a young man, I was never introduced to this level of accuracy. During my middle years, as mechanic, equipment operator, etc., I continued in the carpenter mode for my occasional wood working needs. But, now in my retirement (Disabled), I am beginning to try some (relatively) finer work. Finding Paul Sellers, has been the beginning of the actual possibility of some level of success. Because I was quickly becoming disgusted with my feeble efforts, partly from the loss of the sight of the left eye.
    I have also gotten rid of the most of my power tools!


    • John Baker on 1 June 2022 at 7:49 am

      I like what you said about watching a true craftsman at work. I also love the tips, that I would never had thought of. Every time I watch Paul I wish I could stand beside him as he works.
      A truely brilliant man.

  13. Mark Gray on 27 July 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Paul, could you use the first set of tails to make a cutting template like the one used to make the tails?

  14. Michael JEDNIUK on 5 August 2016 at 4:47 am

    I wish I had seen this video 10 years ago, and not bought a router jig which I have never used.

  15. karl leak on 6 August 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Hi Paul, i have watched a couple of your videos know, could you tell me why you tend to use a nylon hammer and not a wooden mallet, is it just your personel prefrence or do you get a better result using the nylon hammer. regards Karl.

    • Glenn on 7 August 2016 at 5:57 am

      Hi Carl
      in a couple of Paul’s videos he explains its for personal preference as well as giving a hard side and a soft side so he can use for fit-ups as well as chisel work


      • karl leak on 7 August 2016 at 11:32 am

        Thanks Glen, i have not been doing woodwork long so i am looking for all the advice i can get. will try some trail dovetails soon ,i think i will have to watch the videos a few times more yet, not only are they educational they are in real time from start to finish ,just what i like to see. wish me luck as i wish all on their woodworking journey. Karl.

        • Glenn on 10 August 2016 at 1:19 pm

          All the best Karl . I don’t have any doubts you will do well I think the hardest part is going from wanting to Doing


  16. Gaston Monge-Grassi on 10 August 2016 at 10:51 am

    Outstanding!!! Thanks Paul.

  17. Walter Hayes on 6 January 2019 at 4:19 am

    I bow to the master. This was great! I have tried hand cut dovetail and now know my mistake. Thanks Paul, you are great!!!

  18. johnnycarcinogen on 11 January 2019 at 2:02 pm

    It still blows my mind every time I think about how amazing it is that Paul developed a method of woodworking that had not been previously thought of in the history of the world. That’s how amazing this guy is. It’s like being able to be taught electronics by Tesla, or chemistry by Nobel…. truly inspiring and humbling watching a master at work.

  19. Dave Landers on 8 February 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Thanks for a great method to cut tails.
    Does Paul use one board for the jig or is it a glue up of smaller boards?

  20. Mark Kaufman on 13 February 2019 at 1:28 am

    I am new to woodworking. video was very instructive! I picked up so many technique enhancements just watching you work. The Dovetail jig is simple and ingenious and I will be using it. The fitting part at the end was great.

    Is the dovetail marker you used in part 1 (the small iron piece you used to mark the tail lines) available on the market? Seems much better than the ones I have seen online.

  21. Mark Kaufman on 13 February 2019 at 1:32 am

    my apologies, i found your dovetail tool video. Here is is for others:

  22. Jeffrey Light on 25 February 2019 at 7:39 pm

    What is the “trick” when gluing up dovetail joints?
    Thank you

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