I thought I should encourage you to get out into the garage. This carrier for tools is a new project series I just filmed and will be available soon. The important thing is to keep woodworking as this is generally a good thing for everyone’s health but it is also good to keep developing your hand skills.

The projects below represent just a few of many dozens of projects you can keep growing your skills with. Please, if you haven’t already follow my work on woodworkingmasterclasses.com as this has always been our main woodworking teaching channel through the years. The subscription is free to everyone and hopefully you will wonder how you got along without it before. You can join here.

Over the course of the past two weeks, I found myself f reflecting on pieces I designed two and three decades ago specifically to help those focussing on developing their knowledge and skill in real woodworking. The pieces are indeed many a dozen ranging from my traditional English Joiner’s workbench all the way through to the desktop organiser which in my case is a small tool holder.

The pieces have proven amazingly popular for various reasons not the least of which is that I like to provide total step-by-step guidance through every stage. I also like making the drawings, videos and how-tos and then see follow up with interactions in the comments section.

Here is another design I came up with for your first attempt at half-lap dovetails but there’s a lot more behind the scenes work going on inside the component parts

What’s been remarkable to me is seeing the growth in everyone as they have joined us along the way.

This new project is one of my favourites and comes from two decades or so ago. It was designed as another one of my reinforcement projects where it’s more high-demand because of the close proximity and interaction around all of the joints. With 12 sets of dovetails, 8 mortice and tenons, two housing dadoes and a series of ploughed grooves to complete it is indeed a great skill-builder.

Don’t forget to go to commonwoodworking.com for learning projects you can make, along with many exercises and guides in woodworking techniques. If you can’t saw straight there is help for that and then if you have yet to face making that first-ever dovetail or sharpening your chisel, it’s all in there.


  1. Sylvain on 21 March 2020 at 4:29 pm

    My first attempt at half-lap dovetails (and first drawer) was with the workbench drawer.
    Thanks to the excellent teaching, it allowed me to achieve a quite satisfying result (not too far from perfect) . It is probably a little easier to do with a 19 mm thickness.

  2. Yves Gaudreau on 21 March 2020 at 4:38 pm

    I have been subscribing to “Woodworking Masterclass” since 2017 and, indeed, I wonder how I got along without it before!!! Imagine, now I can do dovetails, through tenons (my favorites), housing dadoes. I sharpens all my chisels, planes and saws. I use spokeshave to make curve and I love it. All that under the close guidance of Paul.

    Thank you so much for everything you teached me Paul

    Yves from Canada

    • Keith Muncaster on 23 March 2020 at 10:54 am

      Should have read : Thanks for everything you taught me Paul!

  3. Greg on 21 March 2020 at 7:29 pm

    That’s a swell tool carrier

  4. Dave on 22 March 2020 at 3:50 am

    Well, when someone has the time, talent and resources to make truely art work class workmanship and finish, I always remember an old friend who spent so much time on items such as these as a means to perfect his skills, that no real projects ever got done, and his shop while very demonstrative of ability sorely failed to undertake many worthy home improvements this person wanted to complete…..

    Nice work though.

    • Gary N. on 22 March 2020 at 2:28 pm

      So you knew my dad? Lol

      • David on 23 March 2020 at 11:57 am

        Gary N, don’t think that you are my son, Gareth!
        As for Dave, I go by the name David.
        So I’m not sure whether you are referring to ME!
        With the impending Corona lockdown in South Africa, I may just get around to some of those unfinished projects!😂😂😂😂

  5. Niek on 22 March 2020 at 9:08 am

    On Paul’s plywood workbench he added a shelf to the bottom rails, I am in the process of making my own workbench out of pine and am already loving the project. I would however like to incorporate the shelf onto my bench and was wondering how it is attached, if there are any supporting rails underneath. Can you share some additional photo graphs or detail about this?

    • Sylvain on 22 March 2020 at 9:29 am

      Look for the post “INSTALLING MY UNDER-BENCH SHELF” dated 18 June 2018.

      However, I have done it slightly differently in such a way that I don’t need a screw-driver to remove it. I have glued blocks on the leg frames in such a way that the long rails, back plate and side plates are slipped in slots. The idea was to preserve as much as possible the knock-down possibility. But then I added the drawer and the side shelf. So much for the knock down with a minimum of unscrewing. One can see what I did on the forum Lumberjocks.

      • Sylvain on 22 March 2020 at 9:39 am

        For the back and side plates, see the post : “BEFORE THE WORKBENCH DRAWER” dated 19 June 2018

    • Paul Sellers on 22 March 2020 at 9:35 am

      I decided the extra 15cm (six inches) were worthy of screwing the shelf from underneath to the underside of the rails. So three screws along each end and then a 3″ upstand at the back allowed me to screw the shelf from the underside into the under edge of the upstand.

  6. Travis Horton on 22 March 2020 at 10:15 am

    Wonderful! What utility, skill development and reinforcement is built into this carrier. Best to make your mistakes in this than on a chest of drawers! Thanks.

    • Yves Gaudreau on 22 March 2020 at 12:17 pm

      You are absolutely correct Travis. I made a vanity based on Paul’s chest of drawers. Aldo I am very please with the end result, it have been such a journey!

      My next big project will be a linen tour. But, this time, I will make few smaller “skill-builder” projects in between. Paul’s new tool carryer will definitely be one of those.

  7. David R on 22 March 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Hello Paul,

    I’m looking forward to that tool-caddy project. Exactly what I need to replace the plastic one I have.

    Cheers, David

  8. Steven Newman/Bandit571 on 22 March 2020 at 4:15 pm

    Trying to build a tool cabinet….two doors, about 3′ x 3′ square….about 18″ deep, with the doors closed…..just Pine boards…then figure out how to arrange all the “toys” that will go in it….

  9. nemo on 22 March 2020 at 5:35 pm

    Beautiful tool caddy. Have made a few plywood ones before, not nearly as beautiful as yours but very functional and much nicer than the plastic ones they replace (I’m in the process of removing as much plastic items from the house and garden as possible; an ongoing process but it already makes everything look nicer, less cheap and with more ‘care’).

    But most of my learning projects are actually things I need urgently. Yesterday evening and this morning I built a sand sieve. Had a scrap of wire mesh of the correct size, just needed to build a wooden frame for it. It turned into a little impromptu woodworking project, planing the 3rd hand wood, sawing straight, knifewall first, bit of planing the end grain. Making the frame (screw & glue – no dovetails, I wanted to but didn’t have *that* much time available), making a few holes as handles (brace & bit and slot saw). Cutting the mesh and folding the sharp wire ends over actually took the most time. And sharpening the #4 1/2 and #6 planes freehand on the oilstone when required… priceless. Amazing how such simple things can provide so much joy.

    In the end I was pretty satisfied with it. It’s a utilitarian thing but still looks rather pleasing and is made entirely with hand tools. Only electricity used was for lamps. So I had no hesitation to stamp it with my initials with the branding iron. Hopefully this one will last as long as my father’s old sieve (~45 years).

  10. Rick on 22 March 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Big fan of yours. I was hoping to share your blog with a friend. There appears to be no quick way to do this, like a “share” button?

    • Brandon Wilson on 22 March 2020 at 6:49 pm

      Copying and pasting the URL is still a thing as far as I know. Is there a technical problem with that that I am not aware of?

  11. David Butler on 22 March 2020 at 10:30 pm

    I’m reading this on my phone. There is a share button at top right. (Android)

  12. Joe on 23 March 2020 at 3:40 am

    Thanks Paul. I’m looking forward to this project. I found a used copy of Jim Toplin’s The Toolbox Book that came out in 1995. What a wonderful book. It’s full of all kinds of tool boxes. All kinds of good ideas.

  13. Elkana on 23 March 2020 at 8:58 am

    Woodworking could be great for your health, only if you take care not to enhale fine dust.
    Fine dust heavily taxes your lungs, and makes you less immune to covid19.

    Otherwise, great article… Thanks.

    • Paul Sellers on 23 March 2020 at 10:58 am

      We don’t really have much fine dust if we are using only and tools and hand sanding. The particulate is much bigger than machine dust and falls away. Plus, hand sanding takes only a few minutes in a day, perhaps no more than five. Not a problem at all. Also, hand sanding does not hang in the atmosphere as it does with machines if no extraction is used or it’s not set up properly. I test my environment with a meter and it shows that we never reach anywhere near the danger levels that cause any harm whatsoever. So, I would say that woodworking ‘is’ great for your health” and not that it “could be great for your health”.

  14. Rob Ling on 23 March 2020 at 9:05 am

    Looking forward to this – I have a condensation problem in my shed so transport my tools from the house and back to keep them from rusting.

    I’m attempting to keep woodworking but had a slight accident the other day sharpening my plane iron.

    Sharpened to 1200 grit on the stones and then went to the strop. The leather came free on one end so i trapped it down with my left thumb (a careless decision because of time pressure). On the third or 4th stroke I caught my thumb on the retake and cut straight through all the layers of the skin right on the bottom knuckle joint.

    2 hours spent in the accident and emergency department the result (mainly waiting so I had plenty of time to reflect on what went wrong).

    I now need to take a few days off using the left hand too much due to the position of the wound as it could spring open again. Plenty of opportunity to catch up on videos.

    Thanks again Paul and keep safe yourself.

    • Paul Sellers on 23 March 2020 at 10:54 am

      So sorry to hear that, Rob. My hands too have many scars I learned from over the years. Don’t reproach yourself too much. The biggest step is seeing what you shouldn’t have done and that is the way we learn. get well soon and yes, give the skin time too rejoin and then treat kindly.

    • Vidar Fagerjord Harboe on 21 April 2020 at 1:44 pm

      A power tool would’ve taken the finger clean off. Not that that is of any consolation though.

      As for the condensation problem: My shop is in what was a garage. I too have some moisture problems, but a cheap dehumidifier has rectified that. I toss about 10 litres of water out the door once or twice a week. The humidity has gone down to around 45%. Maybe this is an option for you too? The area needs to be heated, though.

  15. JohnM on 23 March 2020 at 3:06 pm

    My most recent accident that ended up needing 5 stitches was an argument with a Japanese double edged Ryoba saw but not perhaps in the way you might think.

    When I brought this Japanese pull saw I did not have room to fit it inside my tool cabinet which is partly above my woodwork bench so I decided that I would drill a hole in the handle and hang it on the end of the cupboard.

    It turned out that the hanging position I selected resulted in the opposite end of the blade just hanging over the edge of the cupboard. No problem as the teeth were covered by plastic guards.

    While I was refurbishing my bench I managed to get in such a position that I lightly brushed my arm on the end of the saw blade that was not covered by the guard. Result an inch long cut in my arm needing 5 stitches. When I got back from A&E I had a look at the end of the blade and the corner beyond the teeth was razor sharp. No reason for this – the teeth end perhaps 1/4″ before the end of the blade.

    I took my anger out on the saw by grinding the sharp corner off and then finishing it to a nice round with a diamond file.

    If you have one of these saws have a look and if the corner is sharp grind it down before it attacks you !

  16. Terrence OBrien on 23 March 2020 at 7:01 pm

    The virus shutdown was a great opportunity to make the desktop organizer. I made the front and two sides of the drawer five times, with ten blind dovetails. So, now I know how to do them.

  17. Jim on 23 March 2020 at 9:25 pm

    I’m looking forward to the tool caddy. It’s something I’ve been needing.

  18. Mike Miller on 23 March 2020 at 11:37 pm

    workshop constructed and I can’t wait Paul but I must finish refurbishing this house first, like you I just relocated! but with COVID 19 on the loose all the building suppliers are now shut and I my plumbers wife just went down with it so he is confined for 14 days!
    Love your videos tho’

    Best wishes

  19. Greg on 24 March 2020 at 3:24 pm

    I’m anxiously awaiting the details on your fine looking tool-caddy.
    Thank you for making it available!

  20. Ulas on 29 March 2020 at 5:41 pm

    Hi All, I am working on the workbench project. I am done with the legs, rails and benchtop, but I guess my workbench will be lower than I expected. What do you recommend for increasing the height at this stage? Shall I use a thicker bearer for instance?

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