1. Great work as always.

    I have done a couple of blind dovetails but often it’s not perfect enough for what i like. And when you’re not satisfied you need to analyse what went wrong or what could be done better. My problem starts with the tails. If those are not perfect, the pins won’t be too. Next time, and that’s pretty soon, i know to take extra care when cutting the tails.

  2. It’s often the throwaway comments that provide the golden nuggets of learning in Paul’s videos – blink and you’ve missed it – I just caught the mention of veneering the drawer front to get the book matched look!

  3. Enjoyed this episode very much! While I’m not building this project (yet!), Paul taught this very same process for the drawer making on the workbench. The drawer I made for my workbench, using this same process, came out about as perfect as I could have ever imagined.

    1. To do a book match, you resaw a piece of material and open it like a book to get a reflected pattern. One way is to start with material a bit more than twice as thick as you need, but that can require thick material and you won’t know what you’re going to get until you resaw. Look carefully at the video at around 1:12. You can see in the end grain that one of the pieces has a lamination that is about 1/8″ thick. I believe what he did was to resaw material off of one of his pieces, because he liked the grain pattern, and then he glued that veneer onto the other drawer front. This produces book matched drawer fronts (or slip matched, if you don’t flip it). Maybe he resawed 1/4 or 3/16 to leave room to plane down to get what looks like 1/8″ in the video? I’m guessing at dimensions. If he started with 5/4 material, he’d have enough thickness to do this and then equalize both pieces to his final drawer front thickness of 3/4″. Without this trick, he’d need to start with something like 8/8 and he’d not know what pattern he’d get until he resawed. Anyway, that’s what it looks like to me.

      1. FYI in case you’re having trouble seeing it at 1:12 then slow the video down; also, you might see it a bit more clearly at around 6:53.

        Thanks Ed for the explanation, thanks Paul for the clarification and further explanation, and thanks Paul for these kinds of beautification ideas, I’d love to see more and more of them.

    2. Hi Antonio,

      Paul says:

      I simply glued the one drawer front to the face of the other drawer front and had allowed extra thickness on the first one so that when I cut through to create the drawer fronts, the book match was perfect. So, what we have is a full thickness drawer front on one and a veneer on the other.

      Kind Regards,

  4. I’m a bit confused about the length of the sides. How do you measure them ?
    You cant simply slide them in place and mark them where they match the front face of the carcass, due to the half-lap joint.

      1. Hi Izzy,

        My question is about drawer making (not specific to this project) :
        I understand how to get accurate dimensions for the drawer’s front and back. However, for the drawer sides, what is the best way to cut them accurately to length (so that once the half-blind dovetails are cut and the sides are attached to the front, the front of the drawer is aligned with the carcass of the box/chest)

        (my first message was indeed pretty poor !! hope it’s clearer now 🙂 )

        1. Hi,

          Thank you for clarifying.

          Paul says:
          Although that could be possible, I doubt whether most people, including myself, could actually get the drawer dead to size so it perfectly aligns. Therefore we generally make it slightly oversized and plane down to suit.

          Kind Regards,

          1. Izzy, I think he’s asking about something else. I think the answer to his question is that the drawer sides are cut somewhat short so that the assembled drawer is shorter than the interior depth of the carcase. A stop block will be installed to get the drawer face to match the front of the carcase. When the drawer is pushed in against the stop, the face is flush, but the back of the drawer will have some clearance with the back of the carcase, maybe half an inch to an inch. So, the drawer side length is the least important dimension of all. The placement of the stop block is what matters, not the length of the sides, and even then you probably set the block so as to leave the face a hair proud and then take a shaving or two from the drawer face to get things exactly right.

          2. thanks Izzy, answers completely my question. Been thinking over and over again how to do it, but indeed looks like the way to go is to oversize a bit and plane to adjust.
            Thanks !

          3. Izzy, I’m puzzled by this answer and noho’s response. As ed described, the drawer sides will have to be undersized in length by a good amount and stops installed in the front as shown by Paul in a number of other videos.

            The carcass (carcase for some) has grain running in the vertical plane, so it could expand and contract by as much as 1/4″ with seasonal changes (16″ wide flat sawn pine). But the drawer sides will hardly shrink or expand along its length (i.e., along the depth of the carcass). Cutting oversized, and then planing down the drawer side length for an exact fit does not make sense to me.

  5. I have been watching Paul use his router for sometime. I was suddenly curious what blade he used to mark and then remove material, Pointed or square faced. While watching his use in routing the shallow rebate on the organizer I noticed he was using the pointed end. That was when he showed us the router just before actually marking the wood. Then when he actually marked the wood he used the corner of a square faced blade.
    I am just trying to see what his recommendation is when to use a pointed blade and when to use the square faced blade.

      1. At 13:26 Video show Paul showing a pointed blade in the router saying it is set for 1/16 inch . As he said and as I also said in my first comment he definitely used the corner of the flat blade to mark the rebate. hat was why I was confused. I have the answer I was looking for which is the square faced blade is almost all ways used.
        thank you for the organizer drawer project.
        I am using Butternut which I have had for years but initially using a table saw to size the work . I decided to stop using the butternut because even with a vacuum attachment the table saw put an unbelievable amount of very fine dust it into the air. Cleanup was unbelievable.. Not an issue with using Pauls hand tool work. Air quality just another advantage to not using machines.

        1. Gerald, look at 13:38. Even though it really, truly looks like a pointed cutter at 13:26, you’re actually seeing the heel of the iron, not the cutting edge. This is clear at 13:38.

  6. Could you explain me the reason to have the small rabbet on the side of the drawers sides?
    Sorry for my english, I am belgian…
    It would be great also to have subtitles in french, or if not in english, because it’s difficult for a foreigner to understand all the explanations of Paul

    1. Hi Michel,

      Paul says:
      It’s my way of simplifying half lap dovetails because the small rebate gives perfect registration against the inside face of the drawer front, resulting in perfect management of the two components.

      Kind Regards,

  7. Hi Michael,
    If I understand your question correctly It’s about the half blind dovetails? The rabbet is to help line up the front board with the side piece so your layout will be aligned perfectly. –Jim

      1. Michael, To answer your question on the shallow rabbet, I don’t know if it is the usual way or not. I have seen others use the same technique as Paul. I have tried two other methods of alignment that worked okay but Paul’s method is fool proof. The only drawback to the rabbet that I can see is you need a router plane or maybe you could use the “poor man’s router”. Perhaps in the future Paul will show a different method of aligning the two pieces for marking. –Jim

  8. I’ve never understood the rationale behind the circular motion use of the bench plane. As far as I can tell, Mr Sellers only does it on end grain, but I find that planing end grain in a straight line also gives tolerably good results, so I was wondering what added benefit is obtained by the circular motion?

  9. Eric. If i dont back up end grain and plane with straight strokes it is a lot easier to over shoot and spelch the end of the board. If using circular motions, when you miss you are coming off at an angle and damage is minimized.
    Of course the best thing is to control things so you dont overshoot but it does happen at times.

  10. The difference between circular, strokes of the plane blade on end-grain and straight, push strokes is that the former is a curving, slicing action – the latter, push stroke, compresses the grain. It’s a bit like slicing across your steak with a sharp knife and attempting to push the knife through. Both will cut the meat -slicing requires less force.

    You’ll notice that Paul goes nowhere near the far edge of the board – stopping short. As an alternative to this you may glue a sacrificial piece to prevent break-out which can be removed later. This way you can plane straight through without stopping. Both work.

  11. Hey everyone. Just wondering about the species of timber that is used for the drawer front – it appears to be a hardwood (to my non-trained eye).

    Is it okay to mix soft and hardwoods in this instance? I thought it was generally frowned upon as they expand/shrink at different rates.

  12. Hi Michael,

    The comment at 32:42, I think tells that the drawer fronts are made from cherry (guessing on European cherry [Prunus avium]).

    The photo of the attached link shows a “plinth with drawers” with white oak, birch, basswood (lime tree), and Scots pine combined. For whatever it’s worth: there have been no problems with wood movements over the four seasons.


    Veneered 17th and 18th century pieces that I’ve seen also seem unproblematic, despite the quite thick European walnut veneer being on top of pine or ashen.

    Assuming a wish for the drawer fronts to fit very snugly, choosing cherry above pine perhaps risks less of the drawer getting stuck?

Leave a Reply