Two decades of training others

I have another full class here in the UK that starts Thursday. The wood is cut and sized and the tools ready to go. I have ordered two new vises for two new benches I made and I want to see how well these vises work in light of the fatc that I cannot get the ones Veritas supplied the New York School with last month. I’ll let you know progress and quality as soon as I test them out. At the moment all the vises are fitted with old Woden vises that work great but are no longer available. Sad thing all these British stalwarts of British steel industry going down one by one. I suppose Sheffield has become another “nice” town now, sterile and empty but for name alone.

The NL Penrhyn Castle School has always done well, but this is the first year that the classes are filled. I spent much more time promoting that’s true, but most of what’s happening is the result of two decades promoting the Real Woodworking Campaign and people now listening to the reality that real woodworking begins with ten hand tools, a simple pine workbench and three basic joints. Amazing, isn’t it? With these tools and about nine days at the bench with me you are ready for rocking chairs, boats, guitars and tons more. How about that! I am thrilled to hear from students from a decade ago declare their joy and gratitude.

Look at this:


You probably don’t remember me, but I was a student of yours.  I am still enjoying woodworking and could not believe my stroke of luck by coming across your blog on the internet.  My wife and I are getting ready to build a new house.  I plan to do as much of the cabinets, doors and trim work I can. Your wonderful classes inspired me years ago and I still remember many of the things you taught me.  I look forward to reading more of your blog in the months to come.

Thank you for everything.

John M


And an apprentice from back in 1990:

Hi Paul.

Twenty years; how time flies. I would like to voice my appreciation to you for your influence in setting me on the path of becoming a craftsman. Teaching me to be gentle in my approach to making furniture has applied in many other areas of my life, not just work. Also, trusting my hearing & feeling when using hand or electric tools has become an invaluable part of my work. It was not just your voice I recognized, but also what you were explaining in your demonstration on hand cut dovetails to cultivate your natural abilities to be accurate instead of depending on tools & jigs. I have taught all my children these wonderful principles.


Thank you,

Steve B