1. You used a previous piece to check your long sides were parallel…but how did you establish parallel sides on that first piece? Panel gauge? Or, just get close and we’ll run a plane around the perimeter after gluing up?

    Why fuss over the ends being square if we are doing dovetails? If we mark our inside lines square and equal separation, can’t we just cut the pins and tails and plane them flush after glue up? We’ll be square via our layout of the inside lines and equal all around by transferring our marks piece to piece. Does that not work?

    1. Hello Ed,

      We establish parallel by planing one side and then planing the other side parallel by measuring. This is the method shown in our stock prep videos.

      Having the ends planed square is a good standard to keep to, as well as enabling accurate measurements for laying out. There is also another reason which will become clear in the next episode.

      Best, Phil

  2. Fabulously helpful! How to finess things to completely square is something I have recently struggled with while building a small infill kitchen unit. Vexing when I think I have things as good as I believe possible only to find later that it is not as good as needed after my joinery doesn’t quite fit and in the post mortem I found where I was off. There are tons of things in this lesson that help me do better. Thank you!


  3. This project will be perfect in the little space I have for a work area.
    I would like a suggestion on buying a cabinet scraper. Should I buy a new one and from whom? or should I try Ebay and how much should I spend on an old one?

    1. Hi Peter
      I’m not Paul, but I think I can help with your question, if I may?m I think you can find an older used Stanley #80 for about $20 to $40 or so. Not that much really, as Paul says, for a “lifetime tool” You may be able to find one cheaper at your local flea markets, plus no shipping fees.

      Try to find one with a good bit of blade left, otherwise a new #80 blade will cost you about $15 (from Lee Valley and other suppliers).
      You can buy a new Veritas scraper at Lee Valley for about $80.

  4. Thanks very much for this! I thought we were just getting an “intro” video this week! I look forward to these!

    I’d like to second Ed Frank’s comments above- How did you get to parallel sides in the first parts ( that you did off camera)? I have not seen you use a panel gauge on camera yet- and I am interested to know if you use them (ie is it worth making one or trying to buy one)?
    (… maybe you’re simply measuring both ends and striking a straight edge? Like everyone else, I am always expecting you to pull a rabbit out of the hat–unfair expectations ?)!

  5. This look to be a very good project Paul. However I have a number of points of clarification that would help me.

    1. The pieces you started with were clearly glued together. Did you do this yourself or were they bought that way? I presume the latter as this is where you started, but surely it would be better to buy the boards separately and glue them up yourself and avoid the problem with the grain going the wrong way.

    2. I understand why you would allow a slightly bowed piece on the bottom, convex side up, allowing the pressure from the divider to flatten it. Would you straighten the side pieces if they were bowed, as the doors would not fit well if you didn’t?

    3. If you did need to straighten a piece bowed by 1/16″, then surely you would only lose 1/16″ thickness and not 1/8″, as you would take 1/16″ off the ends on one side and 1/16″ off the middle on the other side.

    1. Hello David, I’m pretty sure ( almost certain) Paul would’ve glued these boards himself. There are some excellent videos on how to edge joint timber on this site, if you click on the ‘Tool and technique’ videos and scroll down until you find one called ‘Edge jointing’, they may possibly be on Youtube too.

      1. I forgot to add that Sapele is very difficult to see the grain on. I know when I have used it, it has very wild grain so trying to glue two boards together with the grain running in the same direction is nigh on impossible in my ( very limited) experience.

      1. OK That’s on You Tube but not on this website, and not mentioned as far as I can see. It doesn’t answer my query though, as the reverse grain is obvious when he planes the board up and could have been tested for when he glued them up. That is why I assumed he must have bought them glued together as I didn’t think Paul would make an error like that.

        1. I got the impression that Paul was more interested in the look of the grain pattern in the final piece than the direction of the grain. The planing can be taken care of by changing direction or reaching for a cabinet scraper but there’s not much point in having beautifully planed boards if they don’t compliment each other. So not so much an error as an aesthetic choice.

          1. Good answer Jon.
            Grain matching is often overlooked. When bookmatching from the same piece of stock, a board will be sliced width-wise, then joined to the opposing piece where the face would open like a book, thus making the grain directions opposite and yielding a gorgeous bookmatch when all is said and done.

            And sometimes you find the closest match when stock is from different trees or sections of the tree, and finding a good match often ends up making you plane in different directions, which if you are honest with yourself, isnt that big of a deal for a lifetime piece of furniture.

            Wonderful video, thanks Paul!

    2. Hello David,
      We don’t generally buy pre-jointed stock, we joint it ourselves and go through the stock prep process as shown in the videos James mentioned. We try not to repeat all processes in every video if they are more clearly explained elsewhere in individual videos on that topic, such as edge jointing, unless there are aspects which are specific to that project.

      The reverse grain that Paul mentioned is different than plaining against rising grain. In this case there can be several bands of grain in a single piece rising in opposite directions, or counterpoised, which is very typical of sapele and is why you get the striking grain pattern.

      As far as the sides are concerned, the back frame would remove any bow at the back, and the three hinges at the front would constrain the front and resist any bow there.

      As far as removing a bow is concerned, the practicality of the matter is that when you remove a bow of 1/16” you end up with a board that is around ⅛” thinner.

      Paul won’t be painting the cabinet. He wouldn’t have made it out of sapele if it was to be painted.

      The drawing and edge jointing video is also available here:

  6. Great video!. Thank you.
    It is refreshing and lightener. After several projects – I am a member of Woodworking Masterclasses almost since the beginning – it is worth breathing deeply and review all the mistakes we make under the most essential tasks.

  7. Some creative answers guys and I like them, but speculative, especially if Paul is going to paint the cabinet at the end like the one in his workshop! From the video on YouTube these were not book matched pairs. It just needed a quick explanation at the start, but I guess I’m not going to get a definitive answer from Paul or Phil now, so let’s move on.

  8. Long Version:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Ok Paul Now you have me confused. And Its most likely all my fault because I might have misunderstood you completely. Not hard for me to do.lol
    For example. Lets say that I use my Machine joiner and Planer to mill my stock to size. Do I leave it just a tad over sized and then clean up with my smoother or not worry about that since I wont be removing much anyway. Im curious , when Im cleaning up the planer marks with a #4 Wont I actually be removing some of the accuracy from the machines , just a little. and If so thats ok? See I struggle with that inside my head so much that its preventing me from moving forward, Just not wanting to ruin this expensive lumber. Im not concerned with the cost so much as I am this particular Lumber I have . I have yet to see Walnut, QS chestnut, and this curly cherry I have for anywhere near what I paid for these. Almost eight years now Ive had this lumber, But anyway, just not wanting to ruin this lumber.

    So cleaning up, and to finish the squaring process is not going to effect the joinery work just as long as they are within 4 or 5 thou.
    Except for squaring the ends. Im not sure how close would you allow a tolerance on that.

    Next is, A while back we talked, I thought you had told me to start from the front and Plane backwards , cause everytime I watch the videos you seem to always seem to start at the back of the board and Plane forwards, until you are finished. So Im a little confused there.

    And Last, Is it possible for a beginner like myself to hand plane a project good enough to apply the finish without having to sand or is that possible at all. Im looking for that deep luster that’s left from cutting verses abrading. Now I have and can use scrapers. I have a large Cabinet scraper that I don’t think Ive ever used , I have a hard time getting that one to work, I’m told not to turn a burr just to sharpen it at 45 degrees . I also have the Stanley #80 as well just so you know and don’t have to ask.
    I just got to where I can sharpen the scraper blade. And Guess what? Its your method that’s in the video that I learned from, Most people make it to complicated for a beginner like myself, you know we have yet to develop the muscle memory so lots of times its a hit and miss, but more misses for me, I’m slower than the average Bear lol.

    Short version …..>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Whats tolerable when cleaning up your stock with a #4 after the lumber has been milled to size.

    When Planing under the scenario above do you start up top and come down or, from the bottom and move forward.

    And Is it possible to use hand planing as the last step before applying the finish.

    Thanks Paul For all your Help.

    1. Like you Chris, I am somewhat confused about a number of aspects of the first episode. Paul says it’s not necessary to remove a bow in the bottom piece, but talks about using a scrub plane to flatten the pieces which would surely take about a 1/16″ off the thickness. He doesn’t say if you need straight edge pieces, which I would have though would be essential. He trues the ends which I would not have thought necessary if he is dovetailing them. He uses a scraper when I would not have thought that necessary until the joints have been made, and only on the outside edge after assembly – as an alternative to final sanding if you have the skill and very sharp tools. And his planing seems to be more about getting a perfect finish rather than getting the dimensions accurate, so I sympathise. This first episode is really the second half of a demonstration on how to glue together and true up two boards, with the first part missing!

      1. Hello David,
        There are instances when using a scrub plane initially followed by a smoothing plane are necessary, hence the mention of the scrub plane. In other instances it is not necessary, so as always Paul gives options as situations may very. He states at the beginning of the video that the edges are are planed square.

        The matter of truing the ends up is covered in my response to Ed in one of the first comments.

        Using the scraper is part of the stock preparation and when sapele is concerned, deals with the areas that it is not possible to plane. Getting a good finish is important, and the technique used depends on the wood. Some dimensions are critical, others aren’t as critical or will be planed to size later, so it’s a matter of knowing which and when.

    2. Hello Chris,

      Paul is always careful to emphasise the need to take equal amounts over the width of the board. You have to keep the thickness of the shaving in mind, as an occasional extra shaving isn’t going to make a tangible difference. The process Paul goes through was very standard in the industry in Paul’s generation and generations previously. No wood ever left the workshop without being planed. So we are reintroducing something that people now do by sanding. Belt or orbital sanders and the like also take of an indeterminate amount of wood. As far as planing the surfaces is concerned, don’t worry about it, you’re very unlikely to ruin the wood if you take care.

      On longer boards where you can’t plane the full length effectively in one stroke, you should start at the point furthest away from you and work backwards on the board until you have planed the whole surface. On shorter boards you go straight through in one stroke, so this is not necessary. Is that any clearer?

      The results of planing wood will always depend on wood type, and within that species on grain type. Some woods will not plane. If they will you can get a great end result.

      With many finishes we sand before applying finish to apply tooth to the surface, which gives the finish something to hold onto.

      The number 80 is a cabinet scraper which you sharpen as in the video. We also have a video on sharpening card scrapers. Neither type of scraper work without a burr.

      I hope that clears a few things up for you.

  9. Assuming you could get a single board wide enough for the project, and cost was no issue, is their an advantage to laminating two boards together to make a wider panel? Is it just aesthetic or is their a structural reason for it?


    1. Hello Kevin, sorry I didn’t reply sooner. You can use one wide board. In general, the wider the board, the more movement in the wood. That is one reason that laminated boards are used. If you have a wide board and there is significant cup, bow or twist, it can be more economical to rip down the board and re-glue it together to reduce cup etc rather than remove it all by planing. This is somewhat hard to describe, but we do hope to cover it in a future video.
      Best, Phil

  10. Paul, I’m starting to make this cabinet. I roughed out the four pieces for the top/bottom/sides last week. I left them about an eighth over size in thickness and let them sit for a week. When I checked them again, two were fine. But two (top and side) had bowed along their length by about a sixteenth.

    Would appreciate your views on what to do next. The lumber has been in my workshop for years (waiting for the right project). In particular, I would like to know your view on what to do if I flatten again (at which point I”ll be at three quarter) and after sitting it goes back to being bowed by a bit. Better to just let it be bowed’ or take another crack at flattening? If I let it be bowed, anything in particular to watch out for as the build progresses?

    Thanks in advance

Leave a Reply