Workbench Customisations: Bench Drawer Episode 3

Bench Drawer EP3 Keyframe

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The dovetail recesses are laid out and cut to fit the tails. Paul shows how to make a correction to the recess. Then the groove for the bottom of the drawer is ploughed.


  1. Ryan Navarre on 21 September 2018 at 10:26 am


  2. Bill Hall on 21 September 2018 at 11:05 am

    Really like seeing the slight mess ups and the counter measures taken to fix and prevent going forward.

    • Farred on 22 September 2018 at 7:02 pm

      Yes. I think the better you get, the less mistakes, but a good craftsman knows how to deal with inevitable mistakes.

      • Joseph Kesselman on 23 September 2018 at 2:26 am

        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.

    • Andy Doller on 30 September 2018 at 4:51 pm

      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.

  3. beach512 on 21 September 2018 at 11:55 am

    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.

    • Joseph Kesselman on 23 September 2018 at 2:37 am

      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.

  4. Michael on 21 September 2018 at 12:32 pm


    Please tell me the maker of your vise. Thank you!

  5. Billy Lee on 21 September 2018 at 1:34 pm

    One of the best series yet! Looking forward to the fitting and fettling for same…..

  6. Matthew Salisbury on 21 September 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Any consideration as to the grain/growth rings on the sides and front? I noticed that he had the clear face on the inside, knots on the outside of the sides.

    • Philip Adams on 24 September 2018 at 1:53 pm

      Hi Matthew, Paul certainly considers the grain on any areas that are visible (so special focus on the front) and also how any grain will effect cutting the joints.

  7. Paul Whoknows on 21 September 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Amazing as usual, thank you.

  8. ballinger on 21 September 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Super thanks for sharing the repair technique.

  9. Ed Black on 21 September 2018 at 7:18 pm

    You really get a workout doing the grooves. Makes my day when you put out new videos. I have watched all of your videos more than once.

  10. Noam Cohen on 21 September 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Is there an alternative to setting a groove? I don’t have a plough plane ( cf. ).

  11. Eric Lew on 22 September 2018 at 3:49 am

    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

    • Philip Adams on 24 September 2018 at 10:12 am

      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

  12. Stefaan Verweirder on 23 September 2018 at 9:35 am

    Very nice paul ,your my mentor on the internet …
    3 years in woodworking wath ol your videos .
    Learn everytime more .
    Stefaan (Belgium).

  13. Giorgio on 23 September 2018 at 7:41 pm

    I really liked this video, more than others in the past because there are many close-ups and shots from multiple angles, making easier to watch what Paul is doing. Thanks.

  14. Ted Hopp on 26 September 2018 at 2:14 am

    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?

    • harry wheeler on 26 September 2018 at 3:03 am

      I haven’t found them to be much better than a narrow regular square chisel. I made a pair of them out of some cheap Buck Brothers chisels but I rarely ever use them.

  15. JIM CHALOUPKA on 27 September 2018 at 9:31 am

    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?


    • harry wheeler on 27 September 2018 at 1:38 pm

      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.

    • Philip Adams on 27 September 2018 at 4:34 pm

      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,

  16. Bill Hall on 4 December 2018 at 3:58 am

    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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