Skip to content

Squaring Up to the Boss

Well, anyway, I saw the square standing in the corner of my final drawer of my dresser-cum-chester-draw build as I had left it and remembered George, my old apprenticing mentor from 1965, who did the same thing. I had noticed every so often he’d leave a square on the internal corner of drawer just so and then on other pieces too. After noticing this seemingly innocuous trait I identified a couple of parallels.

“George.” I asked, “How come you seem always to leave a square in the inside corner of things you make like that?”

“You’ve a lot to learn, young lad.” he’d say. “See, when the boss comes in and walks past the bench he sees the square stood up, walks over to it and looks for any gaps.” I sees him in the corner of my eye and he has a satisfied look on his face. That way you don’t have to tell ‘im ‘ow good you are, he sees it.”

He did this for others too, when we worked elsewhere fitting and such. It was a bit of a joke to him.



  1. B Power on 1 February 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Amusing and clever. Actions speak more than words. Shows the pride you have in your work. 🙂

  2. Jeremy on 1 February 2017 at 9:40 pm

    You don’t get to be boss of a trade like this by inheritance alone.

  3. Larry on 2 February 2017 at 1:59 am

    We used to do something similar, which was to always leave something a little off for the boss to find- maybe a knob tilted a little off or something.

    Whatever it was, it could be corrected in a few seconds, and it made the boss feel like he was doing his job.

    It mirrored the Native American ( and Roman) belief that making something perfect would anger the spirit world.

  4. Stephen on 2 February 2017 at 4:18 am

    Being a carpenter since the early ’70’s I’ve always left my level on the cabinets I had installed. More out of pride I suppose than showing my work to a boss.
    I did learn the hard way not to leave my plumb bob hanging in an elevator shaft we were framing in a 4 story building. It seems the wind pushes a freshly framed building around a bit leaving my bob nowhere near my plumb marks from the previous day. The inspectors were less than impressed, all turned out well once the brick veneer was in place and the drywall was hung. The elevator crew had no trouble with their install, I did learn to take my plumb bob home at night though! Nowadays we use a laser for such work….it’s not left on the job either.

  5. Michael Ballinger on 2 February 2017 at 8:06 am

    I framed my first partition wall the other day and used a plumb bob to align the top and bottom plates. It all came out spot on. They’re wonderfully simple.

  6. TLM80209 on 5 February 2017 at 4:42 am

    If you dry the dishes and put them away before being noticed, you won’t get credit for washing them from the “Boss”.

  7. Allan on 5 February 2017 at 10:24 pm

    The funny thing – someday someone will get this little “tradition” wrong and write an article on how leaving a square in a freshly glued up drawer will guarantee it to be perfectly square.

  • John2v on Framings and PanelsHi are doing well with your written English. A large panel in a door or a decorative panelled wall inside a building would be made with vertical and horizontal timb…
  • Tucker Tuck on All in a Day’s WorkoutIt's so hard to be in the present. We tend to spend a lot of time thinking about what's not right in front of us until we learn to see more and more of it with the experience and a…
  • Nick Latraille on Vlog 015 Up!Mr Paul Sellers, thank you so much for being my “mentor” when it comes to woodworking. But your whole outlook on life is truly inspiring, I know for me and probly many others that…
  • Jay Gill on All in a Day’s WorkoutThe photo of the horses is really spectacular. Looking at it snapped me back to countless early morning in North Carolina and Hertfordshire. As always thanks for all you do. The th…
  • Stephen McGonigle on All in a Day’s WorkoutI think you must be one of the most contented people alive. You have work you love, enjoy and are good at. You teach this work to others and receive their thanks. You work with fam…
  • Glenn Philipson on Vlog 015 Up!Funny that since I chose to become a lifestyle woodworker I have no time or interest in the TV. My watching is all related to my wood and the highlight is without a doubt your Vlog…
  • Derick Wallace on Woodworking AlternativesThank you Paul for guidelines. Will seek advice and read your suggested books to try and educate myself. Will hopefully give feedback on my journey in future.
Scroll To Top