The power of amateurism


A discussion breaks out at the end of the day and we talk evermore about wood. I’m on the periphery listening, but generally the whole day seemed to me about how to make this or that using this or that wood with this or that hand tool. The banter goes back and forth and the …

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Making decisions—Take control

There is no easy start I realise the difficulties of deciding a future when you are locked into systems according to culture. I’m not sure if people realise what a normal workday for me involves but I like to put in a good day’s work six days a week most of the time. I think it …

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Visitors Welcome


In a given week we have a few hundred people come into the workshop and I started to do that way back in Reagan Wells in Texas back in1988 when we built our home and workshop side by side. At that time the www was introduced more as a concept and the computer I knew …

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Sam’s progressing and apprenticeships with me


Your hands matter greatly. I know you know that but sometimes things need saying. Sam is my apprentice and he’s been with me now for about five months of training. We apprentice for free but we don’t pay  but neither do we charge. The system works. Apprentices make their own pieces according to my designs …

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Taking the twists out of life

You recall that I promised a video on making winding sticks when we hit 100,000 subscribers on YouTube which happened this morning so here are two of them. Thank you for nudging us over and being such a support to our Real Woodworking Campaign. You are the reason we do what we do. This video …

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Video setting your cutting iron on YouTube

Just to follow up on the last blog where I answered the question on setting your bench plane and in this case a Stanley #4 smoothing plane, we put together a quick video to help everyone work through the steps and to see what someone like myself as a full-time, lifetime, lifestyle woodworker has disciplined …

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Setting your plane after sharpening


Question: Paul – I really dread having to remove the irons from my hand planes for sharpening as I have so much trouble getting them back in so that they make consistent shaving both in thickness and width (i.e. square). So far it takes me at least 30 minutes (sometimes longer) testing on a scrap …

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More on BEING an Artisan


This week I think ten people asked how much my oak clocks cost. I think that eight would have bought one for £120 each. Four people asked how much the chairs cost and I think two people would have bought one, two or a set of six. People ask these questions all the time but …

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Becoming an Artisan

I know from the responses that what I say about becoming a lifestyle woodworker touches a few nerves for whatever reason. I think I most likely understand this more than most. I suppose the word reason is indeed a choice word here because it’s used to somehow justify not becoming a woodworker rather than becoming …

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Doing business with different people


Sharing your work with people looking for hand work Finding customers that support craftwork like mine is essentially your primary work once you’ve made your pieces and established a portfolio. Your customers are not someone you barter with as such, or haggle over the price of your work, but someone who respects what you’ve made. …

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