Sellers Home Kitchen Shelf: Episode 1

Kitchen Shelf EP1 KF

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This simple-looking project relies on one joint type only, the sliding dovetail. It’s a simple training project that takes you from the rough, band-sawn stock to creating the opening recesses with dovetailed walls accurately and consistent with one another. Laying out for this half of the joint can take different paths ranging from using calipers and careful measuring to simply working only by eye, with no measuring at all. We will follow a path Paul uses regularly that gives excellent results, as laying out is critical to joints that fit. Even so, elements to this joint still rely on developing your intuitive side to get the tightness we want in marrying the dovetail to the recess. It’s interesting and fun to begin, and combining it with the router in the way Paul does guarantees the eventual seating of the dovetailed part to the housing with exactness.


  1. joeleonetti on 25 August 2022 at 2:09 am

    Thanks Paul. Under what situations would you use a dovetail on both sides of the housing dado? Is a 1/8th inch taper front to back the common taper you normally use?

    • Katrina Sellers on 2 September 2022 at 2:44 pm

      I asked Paul and his replies were:
      1. When there is only a sliding dovetail at one side only but when it is between two ends you don’t need two sliding dovetails.
      2. It can be anything that fits.

  2. Scott Sharpe on 25 August 2022 at 5:42 am

    Paul, a question, if I may. When dimensioning timber up for lamination, do you employ a spring joint or leave it as straight joint line?

    • Katrina Sellers on 2 September 2022 at 2:43 pm

      I asked Paul and his reply was:
      I’m not in favour of spring joints because you are technically building stress into the joint line. Personally think it’s better to have two straight lines and glue up. The spring joint was made to dispense with clamps. I see the value of using it if you don’t have clamps but if you have clamps you might as well use them.

  3. Andrew Sinclair on 25 August 2022 at 11:25 pm

    Thanks for the excellent video! Really enjoyed the exceptional filming and sound quality.

    It was nice to see the long sequence of stock prep, including the bandsaw, but without a blow-by-blow (given this is probably not a beginner project).

    Really looking forward to the next episode!

  4. Nicholas Gaudiuso on 26 August 2022 at 12:15 pm

    Also curious if you would use a double sided dovetail with a taper in a given situation. The single sided one you demonstrate is so beautifully straight forward. Once again, can’t thank you enough. Couldn’t possible have advanced in woodworking to this extent from the comfort of home without your in depth instruction and demonstrations. So good.

  5. James Collier on 1 September 2022 at 12:01 pm

    I have made this joint a few times, but I always have beveled both sides. I can see now that it isn’t necessary because one bevel pulls the pieces together in a mechanical joint. Secondly, leaving the offside flat allows you the leeway to plane it down for a perfect fit. As for gluing, I always put glue on the first third of the slot and the last third of the dovetail. The glue in the slot is spread down towards the front and the glue on the tail locks in the back end. Another thing I do is to cut the slots, place the pieces back-to-back and measure the 2x stock where the opposing slots meet. Do this for each pair of slots. The length of the joining piece for each pair of slots is the design length minus your measurement. That corrects for any variation in the depth of the slots and keeps the project square.

  6. Lisa Burt on 21 September 2022 at 3:21 am

    I love watching the beautifully done closeup video shots of the waste wood curling up as Paul works. I find it relaxing — even mesmerizing to watch — and it makes understanding what he’s aiming for in the joinery so much easier.

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