1. Being able to correct or hide mistakes when you make them is part of the craft. If nobody but an expert can tell you made the mistake — and even they have to look carefully — that really is good enough.

        And for many things, if you do it consistently, you can pass it off as style rather than mistake. Musicians learn to rely on that technique.

        A related thought from my profession: Programming can be described as the art of debugging a blank sheet of paper.

    1. I would greatly benefit from a series of videos for ideas to improve or recover from these common mistakes. Personally, as a perfectionist, I hesitate to start projects for fear of messing up. It would be helpful to see a way past these seemingly terminal mistakes and recover to a satisfying conclusion.

      Ironically, I am coming to grips that if you want perfect spacing and angles, get a machine. So I am becoming more interested in finding the human aspects of construction like recognizably different angles on dove tails, mixed pitches and finished surfaces only on the critical faces. The way of Wabi-Sabi in some ways.

  1. I really enjoyed this video. I have seen Paul make a half blind DT drawer before but this series has taught me even more things about it. I like the masking tape tip and the method for repairing a gap. The pace of this series is just right for me. It forces me to be patient and take my time at each step.

    1. I agree, the pace is fine. It’s like attending a live class, rather than a video where they went back and overdubbed it to pack all the information into the shortest time possible. This way we get to see that, even for an expert, it takes a bit of patience and care and time, and that not everything will be (or needs to be) perfect at the first attempt. You can trim, you can patch, and if worst comes to worst this project’s being done in inexpensive wood so you can afford to set the imperfect piece aside for a future project and try again.

  2. Great video as always Paul. I’m a power tool woodworker who recently starting getting into hand tools. I am making a project and did hand cut dovetails for the first time. They were “less than perfect” It has always amazed me how you make them so perfectly, so it was nice to see you occasionally have a gap in yours, and how you deal with it.

    I also see you don’t use Dovetail chisels, I was wondering why

    Thank you, Eric

    1. Hello Eric, glad you like the videos. Do you mean the Ashley Iles dovetail chisels with elliptical backs? They are a fairly new introduction and Paul hasn’t really seen a need of them in his work, as the bevel edge chisels are so adaptable to many uses.
      Best, Phil

  3. I’ve seen many recommendations to use a skew chisel for those half-blind dovetails, to get into the corners. From this video, it seems like those are unnecessary. Do you find skew chisels are needed (or at least offer a clear advantage) in any of your work?

  4. Nicely done Paul, excellent tutorial.
    Something cones to mind and wondering what you have for a solution.
    As in regular planing the best result, planing in the proper direction for the grain of a particular piece of wood.
    Just what does one do when plough planing the drawer bottom groove when you must plane in a certain direction and the grain does not suite that direction and splits out chunks and does not give a smooth groove?


    1. Take your mortise gauge Jim, and use that to define the groove. Then use your knife to deepen those marks and sever the fibers. Be careful at first and don’t let the grain pull your knife off line. You can keep doing that as deep as you like, but torn grain down in the groove isn’t usually an issue since it can’t be seen.

    2. Hi Jim,
      Some great tips from Harry there. You can also use a saw in the gauge marks to help clearly define the edges of your groove. Once you have established your groove, Paul said that you can also remove the fence and plough with the grain.
      Hope that helps,

  5. Again I like the mishaps and associated counter measures you share. I haven’t really done many dovetails so I know my lack of experience accounts for most of my troubles getting a tight fit.

    Today I started on the drawer for my workbench and decided to try the little tape trick on the end grain for the pins. I only got to one of them today but wow, what a difference. I finally got a tight fitting dovetail with no gaps. Hopefully the 2nd one comes out just as nice.

    I just can’t seem to see the knife lines in the end grain very well and this appears to solve that problem…..and doesn’t take but a minute or so of extra time.

    I also took a little more time with slowly pairing smaller amounts to the line, which also helped.

    Again, thanks for these video’s. The work arounds are so helpful!

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