24 comments on “Shelf Supports

  1. This is a really interesting technique. I do have a question:
    When marking the crosscuts – about min. 3:20 onwards – would it not have been more practical to clamp together both pieces for the left and right sidewalls beforehand and then mark and saw them before separating to chisel away the waste? This would mean that both sides are guaranteed to be identical.
    Thanks
    Keith

  2. Many years ago, before good old tools got outrageously expensive, I came across a curious little plane in a junk shop in Salisbury. The guy in the shop didn’t know, but he thought that it was some kind of book-binders tool………….
    It was made in the 19th C by Moon of St Martins Lane and resembles a cross between a trench (dado) plane and a dovetail-plane with some fences on the side. St Martins Lane is a very, very different place now since the Moons had a factory there. It runs from near St Matins in Trafalgar Square toward Longacre. It’s the edge of the West End theatre-land; all hotels and swanky restaurants. No plane makers anymore.

    It took a little while to restore it to use, but it was what was called a ‘Library’ plane, designed to cut angled grooves for shelves across the grain. I found out that Victorian shop-fitters used them to cut the miles of supports for the shelving that was common in shops in those days.

    It has a personality all of its own, it’s a bit of a so-and-so to set up, but once you’ve mastered the method, it is surprisingly quick and accurate.

    A great little plane – an alternate method of cutting these classic supports especially if you have many dozens to cut.

  3. Hi Paul,

    A couple of questions.

    I noticed you were chiseling out the sawtooths against the grain of the piece. The screenshot one sees before starting the video is a good view of the grain orientation to the chisel direction if you go full screen. Of course, most all angled chisel cuts are against the grain as one works down into the piece, but your cuts were about 90 degrees into the grain. If you had rotated the piece end for end you would have been chiseling almost parallel with the grain. Were you intentionally chiseling cross grain to keep the cut from splitting the piece along the grain?

    Second question, it never says in the video that I noticed (perhaps this is shown in later episodes, or maybe it’s implied and I’m not as sharp as your chisel), but is there another set of these sawtooth brackets on the opposite side of the carcass? I’m wondering because you did not gang the two (left and right sides) together as Keith mentions in his comment above.

    • I see no repetition. Or, I do: the repeated pattern of observation, judgement, corrective action. I absolutely want to see all of that. And Paul, you keep communicating your choices, that is what tremendously inspires me. I feel so immersed.

      I say this because I *want* to learn the process. I am not that much interested in the final product as I am in the journey towards that final product. It seems every piece of wood is different, so every sawstroke is an individual. In a way this showing of the process is much more intimate than showing the end result is.

      • Yes, there are so many good reasons for showing the whole process in real time – and this is clearly a deliberate and inspired choice Paul has made when making these wonderful videos. Not least is that, while he is ‘in the moment’ – methodically working away at a repetitive task (although obviously each one of a series of seemingly identical operations will always be slightly different with a material like wood) – thoughts and ideas of how to communicate them occur to him; so if you ‘wind on’ you’ll likely miss out on some little nugget of information which allows us all to benefit from Paul’s long experience. For me it’s these observations he shares that are the fascination, as much as the techniques themselves.

    • I agree that it gets a little repetitive sometimes but I do think it helps to see the work in real time. It helps to set a reasonable expectation for the time it should take to complete a step. When I don’t see value in watching every chisel cut or saw-stroke, I just fast forward through it. Nor a big deal.

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