Tongue-and-Groove Door for the Kitchen Dresser

Continuing on my Kitchen Dresser project, I’ll get to the design for the tongue-and-groove door. In this 1750s Pennsylvania German piece, both the back panel and the front door use this style of joinery, which also includes a 1/4-in. beaded edge. A paneled door would be a much safer design as it inherently allows for seasonal wood movement. To accommodate wood movement in the tongue-and-groove door is much more complicated. The joints cannot be glued and must be able to move, allowing the door width to expand and contract. As shown in the video below, I include 1/16-in. gaps at each joint and on the right and left edges. To maintain door integrity, horizontal and diagonal battens are connected to the back face of the door. The battens are attached with wood screws in slotted shank holes, again to allow for the seasonal movement.

Here is the dresser assembly with the door removed from its opening.

Door Removed

The back face of the door includes two horizontal battens and one diagonal batten held with wood screws in slotted shank holes (no glue).

Door Rear View

This shows the top edges of the assembled door and copies of the two components pulled out in front. You can see the 1/16-in. gaps in the tongue-and-groove joints.

Top View Door Components

Here is the video:

Here is the progress in the shop—all material is Monterey Pine.




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Published at Tue, 22 Nov 2016 05:01:34 +0000



Weekend Project: A Shaker-Inspired Wall Shelf

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My wife, Colleen, occasionally asks me to build a piece of furniture for our home. I would love nothing more than to honor these requests, but there never seems to be time. But a hanging shelf is one project that I figured I could finish quickly.

I got the inspiration from a drawing of a peg-hung Shaker shelf in Ejner Handberg’s book, Shop Drawings of Shaker Furniture and Woodenware, Vol. II. The shelf sides in Handberg’s drawing are curved on top, but the bottom is straight. I added another curve at the bottom, experimenting with different curves until one satisfied my eye.

Handberg’s Shaker shelves hung from a wall-mounted peg rail. I don’t have a peg rail at home, so the first time I made this piece, I used brass keyhole hangers. In later versions, including the one shown here, I used simpler brass hangers mortised into the second shelf from the top. These are less expensive, are easier to install, and make hanging the shelf a snap.

Consistency is the key to this piece. If you start with flat stock of uniform thickness and length, the joinery follows smoothly. To ensure consistency, do all your milling at once (all the stock is 1/2 in. thick) and use a plywood pattern and flush-trimming router bit for making identical curved and tapered sides.

The Shakers housed the shelves in dadoes, rather than sliding dovetails, and you can do the same. It won’t be as strong, but if you’re worried about the shelves, you can toenail them from the bottom with finish nails or brads.

 Wall Shelf, Step by Step

Rout grooves in the sides
Cut the sides to length but leave them at least 1/4 in. wider than the widest dimension, then mark the centerlines for each shelf on both pieces. Using a slotted piece of plywood to guide a 1/2-in. router template insert, cut the dovetail slots. Rough the slots with a 1/4-in. straight bit, then finish with a 3/8-in. dovetail bit.
Trace the pattern, bandsaw sides
With the grooves routed, cut the curved and tapered sides. First make a plywood pattern matching the shape of the sides of the shelf, trace the pattern onto the back of each side, and bandsaw the shape close to the line.
  Make both sides identical
After roughing out the sides, clamp each side into the plywood pattern. Then rout the edge with a 1/2-in. flush-trimming bit, either using a router table or a handheld router setup. This step will remove any tearout created when you routed the dovetail grooves, and it makes each side identical.
Rout dovetails on the shelves
To cut the dovetails, mount the router horizontally on the router table (see below). This makes it easier to adjust the height of the cut. It also lets you hold the workpiece flat on the table. Adjust the depth and height of the router bit to match the depth of the slots.
A horizontal dovetailing fixture
Make a fence that holds the router and attaches to the edge of the router table. Mount the router horizontally in a recess in the fence, as shown. Handscrews fix the fence at the desired height.
Cut shelves to width and assemble
Cut the shelves to width after you cut the dovetails on the ends, so you can remove any tearout from the router. The front edge of the top three shelves is angled to match the tapered sides. Slide each shelf into the sides, starting at the bottom and clamping each shelf as you go.

Excerpted From:

Building Small Projects
From the editors of Fine Woodworking

This book offers a wide variety of woodworking gems on a smaller scale: Projects to make in a weekend, mitered boxes, perfect frames for pictures and mirrors, compact wall-mounted shelves and cabinets, and much more.

Buy the book

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Published at Thu, 22 May 2008 04:00:00 +0000


6 Essential Bench Jigs

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One of the secrets to hand-tool success is keeping the workpiece from moving as you work on it. While clamping a piece in a vise or to the benchtop can work, often it’s overkill. Not only that, but clamping and unclamping adds a lot of time to the process. A better method is to use a planing stop or saw hook, which take advantage of the cutting force of the tool to keep the workpiece in place.

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Published at Wed, 02 Nov 2016 13:09:10 +0000


Epoxy makes tearout disappear

When applying finish to a tabletop recently, I discovered a couple of areas of severe tearout I had missed. To remove it with a card scraper or sandpaper would have left an obvious valley in the finished top, so I came up with a simple alternative. I filled the small voids with epoxy (I use QuickCure 5 Epoxy from LeeValley.com) and then leveled the areas with a sharp chisel and a card scraper. A bit of light sanding and a new coat of finish makes the tearout disappear. My method has worked under simple oil finishes as well as oil-varnish blends.

—CHARLES MAK, Calgar y, Alta., Canada

011257015_01_epoxy_tearout 011257015_02_epoxy_tearout

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Published at Thu, 29 Sep 2016 12:00:54 +0000


Mike Pekovich’s Go-To Work Holding Jigs

  • I 3rd tgello’s comments above! Thanks Mike for being such a great teacher!

  • unfortunately my vice is on the other end because of workshop layout, so do I,

    become a molly dooka,

    make new bench

    sell hand tools, rely on machinery,

    stick to turning only, sell everything



  • Great presentation of jigs that are pretty much indispensable. I would like to make make some suggestions, however, that I think might make a couple of the jigs more versatile. On the shooting boards, the bed on which the work rests needs be only at or slightly higher than the lower edge of the blade, or about 1/4″ above the bench or ramp of the shooting board, rather than the 1/2″ that appears here. This maximizes the width of the blade. Tempered hardboard or fin-ply is good for this; 1/4″ MDF is too soft and will wear quickly. In the same vein, the height of the stop should be the full width of the blade; while you may usually only do narrow pieces, this gives you the option of doing wider ones if you need to. If you find yourself doing a lot of thin pieces, it is often helpful to use a sloping ramp on the shooting board: this gives a slightly more shearing cut, but mainly extends the wear area on the blade from what ends up quickly being a notch to a slightly wider area, thus extending time between sharpenings. It’s also nice to chamfer the back edge of the stop as it chips out too.

  • Fantastic! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us. There is no way to thank you for the fingers you just saved on the small parts jig, quick, easy, and fast. A lot of information in a well presented video. Thanks again.

  • Yes, terrific presentation. One aspect of my job is teaching people how to make presentations. You couldn’t have done it better. And I can use everyone one of the jigs. I’m headed to the shop now.

  • Thank you for a great lesson. Especially like the jig for cutting little pieces of wood. Glad you couldn’t see me doing it before I saw this jig.

  • Thanks for the tips Mike!

  • Thanks Mike, I also enjoy your way of teaching. I have enjoyed your video on handplanes it taught me a lot things I was not aware of. You do have a talent for keeping it simple, yet explaining it in a way that it does not seem technical when it is. I hope you will continue to create more video’s. Thanks again

  • Yes — superbly well-done: not a word wasted; always specific. Kudos — and thank you.

  • Great teacher. Not one ounce of fat in this video.

  • Thank you Mike for a fantastic demonstration of your jigs. You make it look so easy and with those jigs hopefully it will be.

  • I second tgello’s comment above. Thanks Mike!

  • This guy is a great teacher. His explanation is simplified for us newbies and without the pompous attitude. I listened to him on a recent podcast and it was enjoyable to sit and listen to him. Thanks Mike.

  • great video. super ideas/jigs. thank you!

  • (Why?)

    Published at Wed, 02 Nov 2016 13:33:50 +0000


    Essential Hand-tool Kit

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    Whether he’s teaching at North Bennet Street School or working in his home shop, furniture maker Dan Faia wants certain essential hand tools close by. As it happens, the compact tool rack also featured in this issue holds them all. Your list may vary, but this comprehensive list of hand tools for layout, surface prep, shaping, and joinery is a good starting point for any aspiring hand-tool woodworker.

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    Published at Wed, 28 Oct 2015 04:00:00 +0000


    How to Turn a Basic Bowl—Part 2

    Ed Pirnik and Cari Delahanty

    Perhaps the most alluring aspect of turning is the speed at which a skilled craftsman can crank out a finished project. With turning—everything goes quickly, be it stock removal or finishing, everything seems to happen at warp speed: no messy glue-ups, no labor-intensive finishing.

    stringing In this two-part video series, celebrated turner Richard Raffan demonstrates how to turn a basic bowl, complete with decorative beads. Beginning with a cherry blank, Raffan rough turns the bowl, offers tips on drying, and caps things off by adding two decorative beads and a beeswax finish that goes on fast and offers lasting protection.
    1 line How to Turn a Basic Bowl—Part IRichard Raffan demonstrates rough turning techniques for a basic bowl.
    2 line NOW PLAYING
    How to Turn a Basic Bowl—Part II
    Learn how to finish the final shaping of the basic bowl, with tips on sanding, finishing, and more.

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    Published at Fri, 29 Nov 2013 05:00:00 +0000


    Dan Smith’s Dream Shop and Tool Chest

  • Very nicely produced video. Great job Ben!

  • Congratulations !
    What a legacy you are going to leave behind for your sons one day.
    I know ,I have been privileged to have had my foundation laid by my father .An excellent hoby to compliment surgical skills.
    Gert du toit ,gastrointestinal surgeon.

  • Sorry. We don’t have plans for any um… plans of this cabinet.

  • Are the plans going to be available to download?

  • I should have taken my American exams and done orthopaedics! When I was a student in Oxford I played tennis with a newly appointed Professor of orthopaedics. We had lots of discussions about the overlap with woodwork. Power tools were just being introduced to orthopaedics then. Can you wash out my arthritic ankle? (Only joking). What a superb workshop. I live in crowded England. No hope of achieving what you have here. I have holidayed in Maine. Higgins Beach. Very beautiful.

  • To JohnOSeattle;

    The radial arm saw is a Sears Craftsman circa 1973, identical to the one I received when I graduated from high school and that I still use in Missouri. Found it on Craigslist for $75, but it took some work to restore it to its current state! The lack of sawdust is because we hosted my younger son’s wedding in the shop and just restored it to its rightful use before the shoot.


  • A little detective work via Google reveals:


    Dan Smith is an orthopedic surgeon in St. Joseph, Mo., who specializes in reconstructive surgery, including knee, shoulder, and hip replacements. But woodworking has always competed fiercely with medicine for his attention: His subscription to FWW dates to issue #19, when he was a third year medical student, and he admits he would read it before reading his medical journals. Over the years, in addition to making clocks, built-ins, and many pieces of furniture for his family’s house in Missouri and for a summer place in Maine, Smith has also built four boats.

  • What does the shop look like during a project. This a beautiful shop and high end craftsmanship. How do you support this or is it a hobby. In other words, does the shop earn its keep?

  • Can’t view the video…

  • Easily in the top 5 shops I’ve seen for ambience. Very well done!

  • bmd November 5th

    What do you do (or did) for a living $?
    Nice building, shop and geographic area!
    Maybe too nice to work in…?
    I hope you have so much fun your tools get dirty.

    Birdie Miller

  • Very nice tool cabinet! Hope it turns into an article

  • I couldn’t help but imagine this is what it’s like to wake up in heaven. Complete with music. Great Shop, great job on the video.

  • Beyond the call of duty!
    What is the machine make/ model (Radial arm Saw ?) near the featured tool cabinet.

  • A dream come to life I’d imagine.

  • one word ok two WOW, WOW!

  • Absolutely beautiful! Amazing tool chest, shop and boats! And to my surprise well away in the corner a wood lathe with a guard. Not often I see those. Also nice video production!

  • That shop is inspiring! Great lighting … and just has a great feel about it. I love it.

  • Gorgeous. I am so jealous!

  • There will be more information in the Tools and Shops issue coming out next week.

  • Beautiful. Are there plans available for the tool chest?

  • Good job Ben and Cari! Where’s all the sawdust?

  • (Why?)

    Published at Wed, 26 Oct 2016 14:35:09 +0000