Tool Chest: Episode 12

Toolbox 12

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In this episode, Paul shows us how to accurately saw our boxes into two sections. He then shows us how to plane the edges of the top and bottom so that the chest will close snuggly. Difficult grain? See several ways of dealing with it.

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  1. Ken on 2 October 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Great job guys, thanks for this one. 😉

  2. Eddy Flynn on 2 October 2013 at 4:37 pm

    what a fantastic show of patience and an eye for detail thankfully mine also are getting better thanks to you

  3. brentpete on 2 October 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I’ve been waiting for this one! My tool chest has been waiting to be cut open for a week now. 🙂

    I love this project.

  4. humanic on 2 October 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Wow! This one was great!

    Another fantastic video, it’s a really a gift for my sessions like apprentice.

    Congratulations for your work, Mr. Paul and team. Thanks a lot!


  5. RL on 2 October 2013 at 6:30 pm

    That saw cut looked like hard work! Well done Paul!

  6. Scott on 2 October 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Another good episode.

    My recent sawing off of a cabinet door did not end up looking nearly as clean. Next time I will try using a guide and make sure my saw is super sharp.

    I was expecting a more systematic approach to planing the rim of the lid, but Paul seemed to have his hands full with the twist and reversing grain. Wouldn’t we normally want to continue planing the edges until we get one continuous shaving all the way around?

    Lastly, Paul mentions that a bevel up plane would not be good for that task, but I think that a bevel up plane with a 38 degree bevel (50 degree presentation) would work the same as his “poor man’s york pitch”, correct?

    • brentpete on 2 October 2013 at 10:30 pm

      Scott V,

      I think the comment about a bevel up plane was in regard to dealing with reversing grain. I’m sure I’ve read a blog post of Paul’s about his class using bevel up planes for just this:

      I imagine that the increased cutting angle would help with the tricky grain, but haven’t used a bevel up plane with a higher degree bevel myself.

      If I remember correctly the dovetail boxes videos show rim planing as well. Perhaps there is something more to learn from them. I’ll have to watch them again.

  7. Mark Armstrong on 2 October 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Proper workout well done Paul .

  8. karlg on 2 October 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks Paul for another exceptional lesson.

    Knowing ahead that you have a twist that needs to be taken out of the box/lid, why would you not start taking the twist out of the box before you start planing the lid. This would minimize the amount that may need to be taken from the lid. This assumes that the twist is caused partially by the sawing of the lid from the box, not by the top of the lid causing the twist.

  9. david o'sullivan on 3 October 2013 at 1:40 am

    “it is in the workshop and at the bench that an insight into the soul of wood craftsmanship can be truly gained.there are tools,there is the wood-rude planks, ungarnished ,their surface scored with the saw.between them,and without each is useless,must come the soul and spirit of the designer and craftsman; the deft hands prompted by an alert mind ;the knowledge attained only through years of study and service; the creative instinct and ability that will,by the correct use of the tools,transform the mere plank into a thing of usefulness and beauty–possibly a joy forever.” Walter Rose. extract from the village carpenter.
    when i read this i immediately thought of Paul Sellers and how grateful i am to him and woodworking master classes to be on this immeasurable journey .thank you

    • humanic on 3 October 2013 at 12:28 pm

      @davidos, thanks for that citation.

      Definitively, The “The Village Carpenter” by Walter Ros is an exceptional book. I recommend too “Old Ways of Working Wood” by Alex W. Bealer. I found it the perfect complement to the Walter Ros book… and the Paul Selles teaching 😉

      Best regards from Girona, Catalonia


  10. Ed Steltz on 3 October 2013 at 5:14 am

    Wonderful instruction, great video. Paul and crew, you really put out a nice product. Thanks again!

  11. Jason on 3 October 2013 at 5:45 am

    Great video, Paul.

    Two questions:
    How did you get in those gauge marks that the saw followed? Did you put them in before gluing the top on the box?

    What’s the trick to adjusting the frog without loosening the screws? Do you just leave them loose?


    • MartyBacke on 3 October 2013 at 6:57 am

      Paul cut the gauge lines two or three episodes ago – right before he glued on the top and bottom.

  12. dborn on 3 October 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I didn’t catch that! I’m going to have to go back and watch that again.

    Thank you!

  13. STEVE MASSIE on 3 October 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Another Great Video Paul and crew, I am loving this Hand Tool approach and have not tried the sawing of the lid yet. Now I know the procedure and can’t wait until I can get to build my tool chest. I just bought a small ripper off of a fellow and can’t wait for it to get here, this will be handy for sure.

    Thanks again !


  14. Kevin Bowkett on 3 October 2013 at 9:15 pm

    This is a great project! However, I’d like to understand the reasoning or benefit behind creating one box and then sawing it in half vs making two separate pieces (a bottom and then a top). I don’t recall that being mentioned in a previous episode.

    • Ken on 3 October 2013 at 10:49 pm

      Yeah I was going to ask the same question

    • Paul Sellers on 6 October 2013 at 5:45 pm

      The exactness you get between the separated halves is much more accurate from making the box and sawing than making two halves. It’s faster and easier too and generally the grain matches better. You are less likely to be twisted.

      • Ken on 6 October 2013 at 6:02 pm

        Thanks Paul, For my self I’m thinking, what a wast if I make a mess of sawing the chest in half.

        • Scott on 7 October 2013 at 6:20 am

          Ken- My cut was much more messy than Paul’s on my wall cabinet, but I still managed to plane the edges down flat, smooth and square afterwards. Go slow, be patient and don’t worry. 😉

          • Ken on 7 October 2013 at 10:10 pm

            Thanks Scott. 😉

  15. RL on 4 October 2013 at 1:13 am

    Kevin, sawing a box in half is the traditional method. It permits grain continuity from top to bottom, and also guarantees that the dimensions and planes of the two halves are identical.

  16. flatironjoe on 25 November 2013 at 3:02 am

    “The penalty for inaccuracy is more work.” I heard Paul say it in the video, then learned the lesson myself! I finally got around to cutting my box, and through some “injudicious” cutting, had to spend a good bit of work planing down the edges. It all worked out though, but I will definitely strive for more accuracy on the next one!

  17. Gary on 6 March 2014 at 6:56 am

    A beautiful chest… One I hope to build in the near future. I must say that sawing the lid from the carcass does make me a bit nervous though. Great tip on using the cut off finishing nail (panel pin) in the cordless drill. I never would have thought of that!

  18. jurgen01 on 31 October 2020 at 7:37 pm

    This is a small point, but Leonardo Da Vinci, as amazing an inventor and engineer as he was, was not the inventor of plywood. Both the Egyptians and the Greeks used multi-ply wood panels with perpendicular grain orientation between layers and held together with hide glues. Pieces of this material lasting thousands of years have been found in Egyptian tombs. No doubt, a dry environment helped a great deal in the longevity of these materials. (O’Halloran, M.R., “Wood: Structural Panels”; pp. 917-921 in Andreas Mortensen, ed., Concise Encyclopedia of Composite Materials, Elsevier, 2006.)

  19. Robert Ayers on 8 December 2021 at 3:40 am

    I was wondering whether there is an alternative to the plywood? I just really don’t like using plywood, but I would really like to make this tool chest. Thanks, Robert

    • Katrina Sellers on 9 December 2021 at 8:32 am

      Yes, you can do this in solid wood but adjustments would have to be made to allow for expansion and contraction.

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