1. That was an outstanding video! I’ve been more of a Watcher than a Maker or even a Commenter for the last couple years. Now I can be a Tryer. This video made the lights come on and the bells ring with compression. I think this is the best video the Paul Sellers team has produced and that is saying a lot considering the normal professionalism of your productions.

    Thank you,

  2. Paul, I guess it’s not necessary for you, given your one-of-a-kind skill level, but would you suggest using a fence on the router for beginners that have a router with a fence when cutting those housing dadoes? For that matter, why choose the router over the plow plane, is it because it’s across grain?

    Thanks in advance; love this project.

    1. Hi Ted,

      Paul says:

      Not really necessary, I have never used a fence with the router but I can see situations, rare thought they are, when a fence might be helpful. The router of course will cut both along the grain and across the grain, but it’s most prolific use is in routing housing dadoes which are across the grain.

      Kind Regards,

    2. As a beginner myself, and having attempted a few dados i have not yet found a need for a fence on my router plane. Typically following pauls techniques for marking the walls with a knife and taking your time a fence is really not needed. The few disasters i have had can all be traced back to a lack of patience and skipping the steps for perfect dados Paul teaches. I believe by the 2nd attempt i had a perfectly fitted Dado, granted it took me about 4 times longer then paul does it while also teaching.

    1. @jwsherm they weren’t really. The pencil marks don’t really do anything except let you think about whether the real layout (with the knife) will fit on the board the way you want.

      What really happened is, he started with one true, planed edge. He measured over his desired distance from that true edge and knifed exactly that width. He then went over an arbitrary amount just a bit wider than one saw kerf, about 1/16″ and knifed again. This second knife wall keeps the cross cut from splintering the next piece that is taken from the board. So, he made his cut and, at 7:00, he puts his large material aside and finishes preparing his cutoff. He doesn’t show it, but what would happen next is that he’d get that large board back up on the bench. It would have the knife wall on the end (the second one that he knifed, above) and a ragged end. He would likely true that ragged end to that 2nd knife wall. Now, he has a trued end to work from again. He can look at his cut list and measure over from this newly trued edge and knife the dimension of the next part, add a 2nd knife line, etc.

      So, if you’re thinking that the pieces end up short because you’re knifing on either side of the pencil mark, that never happens. Sometimes, I’ll do all my knifing before sawing. When that happens, I measure the first part relative to the end and make the two knife walls. When I measure the 2nd part, I make sure to measure from the 2nd knife wall. The end result is all of the parts exactly to length on the board with about 1/16″ between each. The problem, of course, is that if you mess up one of your cuts, the layout must change, but they are all knifed in. So, it’s safer doing them one at a time, but maybe faster to mark them all, then cut them all, then plane them all…if you don’t hit any problems.

      1. One more comment about the pencil: penciling in your parts might show an end that will be tenoned landing on a knot, or might show some other problem. Or it could help you compose how the grain flows across the pieces. So, you could rearrange your layout to your liking, eraser in hand, maybe blocking out sections in the middle of the board as waste to skip over, get that all penciled in, and then you go to work with the knife, saw, and plane. If you work from rough lumber, the approach may be a little different.

    2. I think you just need to remember that the first knife line represents the finished length of the piece. The second knife line is made in the “waste”.
      That waste edge now becomes the finished edge of your next part so it must be squared up as well prior to making any measurement from it.

  3. Thanks Paul. Love the tip on using a piece of scrap wood to see how deep the router blade is. I will definitely use that.

    In this video you used partial width housing dados. In the wall clock you used full width housing dados. When would a partial vs full width housing dado be preferred?

    1. Hi,

      Paul says:

      It’s a matter of personal involvement and preference. The nearer the housing dado is to the end of a board, the greater consideration with regards to splitting the short length of grain. Also the nature of the wood itself. Some woods are more prone to splitting under pressure.

      Kind Regards,

  4. It would be great if Paul could comment about “acceptable tolerances” at some point (Q&A for example). You can see at 14:17 that his panels are bent. I always try to get my pieces as straight, square and true as possible, following the “accuracy matters” philosophy. However, that can be a struggle sometimes with soft woods after glue up or if you are limited in the amount of wood you can plane off while retaining a reasonable wall thickness.

    I guess a lot of it depends on the size of project you are building, but are there some guidelines Paul can share with regards to the accuracy you want for a certain scale? Thanks for your great work and best wishes – Ulf

    1. I would appreciate that as well. I was always told that the tolerance for square, true and plumb are square, true and plumb, But I am curious what working for more than 50 years as a furniture maker does to acceptable tolerances. Might make the tolerances tighter for all I know.

    2. Hi Ulf,

      Paul says:
      I think it’s all too easy to think that anyone can flatten a panel and hope for it to retain its flatness. Initially my wood was perfectly flat leaving it overnight, the wood absorbed moisture from one side and not the other causing a bend, i’ve learned to accept this and work with it. In real life you can’t keep going back in and planing the wood flat because of atmospheric changes. Remember that grooves and joinery are intended to constrain boards from warpage and cupping.

      Kind Regards,

  5. It’s visible that the panels are still slightly cupped. Won’t this affect the overall structure, when all the parts will be glued and assembled? Shouldn’t they be completely flat?
    Also, I still didn’t understood why is the stepped housing dado. If the side pieces also shrink or expand, won’t the foredge if the side piece also shrink or expand, making the gap visible? Am I missing something here? Or maybe I need to wait for the next episodes to answer these questions 🙂

    1. Hi Antonio,

      Paul says:
      It doesn’t matter how much they’re cupped in actuality, they will straighten out just fine and ultimately acclimate so that no tension is within the joinery at all.
      Any expansion and contraction over a short distance will be so small it will not be discernible. You must remember that wood only retains elasticity, allowing expansion and contraction, for the opening period of its life in the piece.

      Kind Regards,

  6. Sawing grooves in panels, an Azebiki Japanese style saw is a possible saw solution. That is, if you really want to saw instead of chisel. It would of course, mean purchasing another tool if you don’t have one.

  7. Nice project!

    I was wondering, when laying out the housing dados, wouldn’t it be even easier to use a marking gauge? Best a dual marking gauge / mortice gauge? I feel that would eliminate a possible source of problems, as it guarantees parallel lines and exact symmetry for all sides.

    Cheers, Simon

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