Tool Drawer Organiser: Episode 6

Tool Drawer Organiser Episode 6 Keyframe

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As this project draws to a close, it’s time for those important finishing touches. Firstly, Paul demonstrates how to cut and fit the leather pulls by chopping a small mortise hole into the drawer front. It’s then time for the final glue up as Paul assembles the drawer and fixes the bottom drawer stops into place. With the application of three coats of shellac and a final buffing with beeswax, the project is complete and ready for use.


  1. Paul Rowell on 3 April 2019 at 6:42 pm

    If I use plywood for my drawer bottoms, am I correct in assuming that I don’t need to allow for expansion as the sides and front are all long grain?

  2. Travis Horton on 4 April 2019 at 1:50 am

    I”m surprised to see you using a mortising chisel when you made the slots for the leather pulls. Am I correct in thinking that at 1/8th of an inch, a regular chisel might be too fragile?

    • Izzy BergerTeam Member on 4 April 2019 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Travis,

      Paul says:
      Different makers made their ⅛” chisels with different profiles. Some had wider sections which added to the strength. ⅛” chisels when they’re too thin from back to front are indeed too fragile.

      Kind Regards,

  3. Steve Hinson on 4 April 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Great little complex project with many joints and careful planning. You can’t have enough of these organizers in you shop or kitchen counters. Thanks Paul

  4. Jonathan Ard on 4 April 2019 at 1:07 pm

    I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen Paul show how to actually tweak an out-of-square box. He’s mentioned tweaking the clamps before, but never demonstrated. This was very helpful. When I built my toolbox, I was about 1/16th out of square, but couldn’t figure out how to get it back in square before the glue began to set. I ended up planing the outside of my drawers to match the inside of the carcass. So while the inside of the drawers are square, the outsides are slightly off to match the carcass inside. I think I’m the only one who can really tell; it’s almost invisible if you don’t realize the error is there.

    I love to see how Paul fixes things when they don’t go quite as planned. We so often learn more from fixing our mistakes than when things go together perfectly.

    • Bill Hall on 5 April 2019 at 2:51 pm

      Ditto to this….also the tweaking of the drawer stops. Can’t explain it but I really like seeing the things that don’t go quite as planned and the associated remedies.

      Maybe it’s because these little things happen often with me and so it’s nice to see they also happen to the best of us.

    • Wayne Niemi on 5 April 2019 at 8:15 pm

      for sure! Seeing Paul fix a mistake is so valuable since, um, my projects don’t often come out without needing some “adjustment.”

  5. Antonio Santos on 4 April 2019 at 11:35 pm

    When placing the clamps, shouldn’t we be carefull not to placing them on the dovetails, since accidentally they can be glued to them, if there’s any that squeezes outside?
    And when applying shellac, isn’t it necessary to apply it also on the inside of the carcass, to level out with the outside and to prevent any kind of moisture?
    And on the sides of the drawers, why only the dovetails have shellac, and not all the way through?


    • Izzy BergerTeam Member on 8 April 2019 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Antonio,

      Paul says:

      No it’s not really an issue, because by the time we’ve come to clamping the glue is usually no longer gluing because we wiped it off with our fingers. I never have an issue with clamping this way.

      No it is not necessary to apply on the inside as the joinery is constraining everything so there will be no issue. We generally only do the area around the joints, this is for appearance. Sometimes applying finish to the drawer sides ends up causing friction and thereby jamming when the drawer is moved in and out.

      Kind Regards,

  6. Mick Adley on 5 April 2019 at 10:34 am

    Hi Paul. That looks like a great project. I will definitely have a go. I have always wondered why the back end board of a drawer is positioned so far from the back of a drawer. Surely it wastes capacity. Maybe it is traditional but there is usually a reason for tradition.
    Thanks for all that you and your team do . You restore a bit of sanity to this mad world.
    Mick Adley.

    • Greg Jones on 5 April 2019 at 12:16 pm

      It allows one to pull the drawer out far enough to access anything in the back of the drawer without having the drawer drop out of the carcass.

    • Izzy BergerTeam Member on 8 April 2019 at 4:00 pm

      Hi Mick,

      Paul says:
      Yes, the reason we do this is so that when we pull the drawer out, the extensions at the back allow cantilevering when we open the drawer fully and this means we can see all the way back to the inside of the drawer without it dropping out.

      Kind Regards,

      • Mick Adley on 15 April 2019 at 12:19 pm

        Thanks Izzy, I knew that there must be a good reason that we do it so.

      • Peter Demary on 5 November 2019 at 6:55 pm

        Sorry if I missed it… I keep scrolling through the drawer videos looking and can’t seem to identify how Paul attaches the back of the drawer to the two sides, it looks like it’s just glued. Why not wedged mortise and tenon? It seems like there isn’t enough long grain connection to ensure a strong bond. Maybe the sides of the carcasses keep enough pressure on the sides?

        • Izzy BergerTeam Member on 11 November 2019 at 3:06 pm

          Hi Peter,

          Paul says:

          There is no reason for this not to hold for 100 years as the pressure from within the drawer to the outside is as minimal as it can get. Whereas, I use the mortise and tenon on many of my drawer sides, this is not at all common practise, in fact I introduced it to my work 40 years ago, based on my devising this as a signature of my work. That’s not to say I invented it, I just had never seen it in anyone else’s work. I say this, to defuse the incorrect assumption, that this is a commonly applied practise, it’s not. However, as a result of our work, it has become more and more common.

          Kind Regards,

  7. Philip Johnson on 23 June 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Loved this project and it is on my list to do.
    As one who worked with leather in foot wear might I suggest that you skive one end of the strap to make it easier to thread though the slot in the drawer front.

  8. Matthew Moody on 29 June 2019 at 3:22 am

    Better 1″ too long than 1″too short! You are indeed lucky!

  9. William Allen on 4 November 2019 at 10:17 pm

    Well, now that’s a lovely project! Not only do you get something very useful out of it, but you learn to do everything you need for basic cabinet making. Awesome. Thanks kindly.

  10. steiner on 11 April 2020 at 1:48 am

    I’m just finishing up this project. Was a fun one, and I learned a lot. will be nice storage for me.

    Thank you Paul!

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