Traveling Joiner’s Toolbox: Episode 6

Traveling Joiner's Toolbox Episode 6

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The drawer tills rely on exactness so that they will slide freely once loaded with chisels and small planes etc. The steps shown are highly effective, with many subtle nuances explained throughout making the joints. Thinner stock creates a fineness index level that then becomes high-demand. This whole toolbox project is a course in cabinetry with lots of dovetailing and mortise and tenon joinery throughout.


  1. CyberBiker on 6 January 2021 at 2:16 pm

    When you mark the thickness of your dovetails, you use the mating piece to determine where the pencil line goes. This should make the dovetail exactly the same depth as the thickness of the mating piece. After you cut and fit the parts together, the ends protrude ever so slightly beyond the adjacent side. While this is good, it makes clean up of the sides easier, why does it occur? Is it related to the thickness of the pencil line? Shouldn’t because you use the adjacent side and square to mark the line. Therefore, it seems that the depth of the dovetail might even be a little bit shorter than the thickness of the side.

    Real question: If you use the mating side as a depth gauge, how do the ends come out standing proud ever so slightly?


    • Izzy Berger on 15 January 2021 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Dave,

      Paul says:
      No, it is the end compression of the wood when you chop with the chisel that moves the recess fractionally down.


  2. Tony Brennan on 6 January 2021 at 5:26 pm

    @CyberBiker, Paul explains this at 16:30, as he’s marking out the pins

  3. David McCoubrey on 31 January 2021 at 12:53 pm

    Would you please clarify when cutting your dovetails and pins whether the pencil line stays on the work or is on the waste side. Thank you !!!!


    • Izzy Berger on 18 March 2021 at 2:56 pm

      Hi David,

      Paul says:
      Always on the waste side as you pencil outside of the tails and not underneath the tails when marking off them.


  4. Roberto Fischer on 1 February 2021 at 1:20 pm

    David, the tails are put on top of the pins for laying these out. As you scribe with the pencil, you’ll see that they outline the tails — the pencil never goes under the tails, only around. When you cut the pins, you need to leave the the entirety of the line on, otherwise you create a gap. How much you leave beyond the line is how much you’ll want the wood to compress, and some woods compress more than others.

  5. Benoît Van Noten on 1 February 2021 at 4:16 pm

    in other words, FOR the PINS,
    one has to cut on the waste side of the line.

    Assuming one cuts the tails first, it is of no consequence while cutting the tails, as long as you keep in mind that each corner will probably be slightly different and that the pieces will not be interchangeable. (pins of corner A will only fit tails of corner A, pins B will only fit tails B and so on)

  6. Roberto Fischer on 1 February 2021 at 11:43 pm

    I totally missed that the question included the tails too. Thanks for the complement, Benoît.

  7. AVI STRAUCH on 23 May 2022 at 9:16 am

    Dear Paul, Why the dovetails are made on the short parts in this case?

    • AVI STRAUCH on 26 May 2022 at 8:20 am

      Another question: Is it OK to cut the dovetails of ALL the pieces first and than ALL the pins? Or is there a good reason not to do so?

    • Benoît Van Noten on 26 May 2022 at 7:16 pm

      with the tails on the vertical sides, one is sure that one can lift the toolbox (in one piece) even if the glue fails.

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