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A Cabinetmaker’s Toolchest part three

Here’s the third installment to the Cabinetmaker’s Toolchest series- dadoes, rabbets and grooves.

Interior Grooves

Interior Grooves

This video begins with the long tenon on the rear carcase panel being cut with a skew rabbet plane. A great tool for this type of joinery. I find I use the skew rabbet to remove the bulk of the material and then switch over to my large shoulder plane to creep up on my scribe lines. From there the bottom panel grooves are made using my plow plane and then the inside channel for the roto hinged lid is executed with a chisel and Router plane.

You’ll notice that after I scribe my lines I use a chisel to cut small notches along the lines. This prevents damaging the edges until the groove is complete.

A dry fit will finish it off and from here it’ll be some lid work and the interior till.

That’s next time.





Here are some links to a few of the products used in this video:

Skew Rabbet Plane

Large Shoulder Plane

Veritas Router Plane

Japanese Bevel-Edge Chisels




  1. Posted by Chris Lindsay on Jan 29th, 2013

    Another nice video, Tom. Oh and thanks for the archived Lee Valley vs. LN skew block/rabbet comparison. After years of using a cack-handed work-around for the “140 trick” on dovetails I’m going to put in an order with the men from Maine.

  2. Posted by tom on Jan 29th, 2013

    Thanks Chris,
    I’m sure you’ll be happy with the LN skew block/rabbet.
    Beware- those bronze tools are addictive!


  3. Posted by stephen melhuish on Jan 29th, 2013

    Wow Tom,

    this film / video should win a woodworkers award…at long last this video captures the real essence of hand wood working skils, patience and the sense of the craft being passed on down through the years more than any other film at the moment than i can think of. The way it’s edited in order to speed up those long sessions with the hand router again only echoes the reality and energy that true craftsmanship takes….keeping it very real at every single step…..There’s an integrity to this work that exudes through it’s use of each and every tool fashioned by the human touch of finger tips, eye to hand co-ordination and sheer love of being part of the process.

    This wood has given up it’s original life to become something else through the hands of a human intervention…this stuff hits the spot Tom…truly wonderful….thanks not only for sharing but also for passing on the craft in such a enjoyable way.

  4. Posted by tom on Jan 29th, 2013

    Thanks for the comments Steve-
    I’m blushing! ha~; o

  5. Posted by Jim B on Jan 29th, 2013

    What a great video!! It is truly mesmerizing watching you work…wish I was closer to visit! Maybe someday ;)

  6. Posted by David Gendron on Jan 30th, 2013

    Two back to back, the only problem with your films, they are to short!! I really like to watch you go at it, you are so fluid in your process!

    Take care.

  7. Posted by Stephen on Jan 30th, 2013

    Great video. One thing I have learned over the last couple months as I have done more and more with hand tools, is that it’s sometimes easier and quicker to just get going with a hand tool than devise some kind of a setup or jig to do it with a power tool. It’s a lot quieter too!!

  8. Posted by Robin on Jan 30th, 2013

    That was the most iimportant video to date, as far as I’m concerned. It showed me a lot of techniques that really have to be seen. This is of tremendous value. Thank you.

  9. Posted by tom on Jan 30th, 2013

    Thanks for all the comments everyone! Good to hear the video’s are working-; )
    more to come…

  10. Posted by Larry on Jan 30th, 2013

    The video’s are definitely working. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Posted by ceus on Jan 31st, 2013

    Checked the video, and it worked well. How can I repost this to my web?

  12. Posted by Ryan on Jan 31st, 2013

    These videos are so helpful! Reading about a process is one thing but actually watching it being done is so much better. Are you doing all the music for these? Mogwai fan?

  13. Posted by tom on Jan 31st, 2013

    Thanks for the comments Ryan- I am doing all of the music and I have listened to Mogwai on occasion. Actually, a reader suggested them to me a year or two ago. Interesting stuff-

  14. Posted by Ryan on Jan 31st, 2013

    That’s pretty much a dream come true! Building by hand and scoring music to accompany it. Def. check out Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, This Will Destroy You, Sigur Ros, and Pelican (if you’re inclined to listen to heavier ambient stuff) . Great instrumental music and great music for the shop. Take care.

  15. Posted by tom on Jan 31st, 2013

    I’ll do some digging and check them out- thanks!

  16. Posted by Jerm on Feb 1st, 2013

    Nice!! My three year old daughter sat in my lap and watch intently the entire video.

  17. Posted by tom on Feb 1st, 2013

    Thanks Jerm-
    I know the feeling, as both of my kids, ( 6 and 8 years ) love watching craft work. I think there’s something inside us all that is drawn to the process of doing and creating.
    thanks for the comments-; )

  18. Posted by Drew on May 16th, 2013

    Hey Tom, I had a quick question…I’m pretty new to woodworking altogether and between this video, video 5, and your book I still couldn’t figure out the bottom panel. I see how you did it for the till, ripping the tails to the depth of the dado, but for the carcass I just can’t visualize it. It looks like you ran grooves around both carcass compartments and used two different panels, is that right? And it also looks like you did a stopped dado for the tails, so I guess my question is did you do a groove all the way through the pin board?

    Thanks, all the videos are super informative, it seems like I pick up something new with every showing!

  19. Posted by tom on May 17th, 2013

    thanks for the questions and comments.
    Yes, the groove in the pin board can go ‘through’ from side to side. If you look at this photo you’ll see it.
    In the lower left corner of the image is the back of the toolchest side. You’ll see the socket for the rear, single dovetail and the groove goes across the bottom and out through the front dovetail. The other groove running up the side panel is for the back of the chest. ( that groove is also stopped )
    The grooves that need to stop are the ones on the tail boards. They would be seen if they went all the way through.

    Hope that helps-

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