DSC_0021Every so often I pull a book from my library and find myself unintentionally glued to its pages for an hour. It wouldn’t be a book that would at first grab your attention and its been out for over three decades but it contains more information about ‘Hand Tools, Their Ways and Their Workings’ than almost any publication I have ever advised anyone to buy. I blogged on it at some time in the past, but here is the UK Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday and it’s an ideal gift for this and for any birthday or Christmas gift too.

DSC_0025Aldren Watson wrote the book from his background as the son of a woodworker and a woodworker with much insight himself. Aldren Watson has recorded a legacy of woodworking information in his 450 pencilled drawings that equals the quality of an academic work second to none.  DSC_0023This book went out of print for some time and I am ever thankful to W W Norton and Company for ensuring the book is available to woodworkers today. The illustrations are hand drawn, inspirational and highly informative. DSC_0022Combine that with the insights of an illustrator, designer and woodworker and you have a stunning training manual that’s both stimulating and interesting. I have several copies both in the UK and in the USA and I think I would suggest this as the definitive suggested reading for any hand tool woodworker. Though I love the illustrations, the written content is well worth the reading of it. I will leave the rest up to you. If you buy this book and read it, you won’t regret reading one page of it. DSC_0024Few writers I have known encapsulate the essence of traditional hand work and the tools we use more than Aldren Watson. The retail cost is around $21.95 or second hand $10

DSC_0004Progress on my Tool Box

As for my weekend; I managed to make some really good progress on the tool chests and chopped 20 mortises for the frames for the tops and bottoms. That saves time in filming. DSC_0018We have a couple of weeks of wonderful weather here and it’s always tempting to walk around the castle and take stock of the important things life has for us. I carried the redwood limp section into the workshop and am ready to slab parts for a box from it. It will stay there for the week and then I will slab it on the bandsaw before I return to the US next week for the Nine-Day and Month-Long workshops in two weeks time.


  1. Stephen P on 10 June 2013 at 4:05 pm

    I am really looking forward to this project! I am currently building the carrying tote for my wife for her garden tools. It’s a great quick project. I have so much more confidence after attending your school and watching the videos.

  2. Brandon Avakian on 10 June 2013 at 8:15 pm

    The book sounds wonderful. Already ordered one. Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. jmpurser on 10 June 2013 at 8:43 pm

    His book has been on my wish list for some time. I just moved it to the cart.

    On a related note, do you have an arrangement with any retailers regarding purchases made on your recommendation? I think I remember you saying you did not but I thought I’d double check. Most of my purchases are used and local but you’ve been responsible for sending a few of my dollars to various internet vendors.

    • Paul Sellers on 11 June 2013 at 8:27 pm

      No. We have never received any income from any of the suppliers we recommended. That ,makes it clean and simple for us and means we are never compromised to freely express our views on products. I am glad you raised this issue here. It’s good to clearly state the reality.

  4. jmpurser on 25 June 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I leave my copy in the garage where I’m building my shop. When my back wears out or I just want to sit and think I open it up and read a chapter or two. I wondered at how useful his information would be when I read the chapter on “Anvil”. In a woodworking shop? Then the next day as I was hammering together a stud wall for a chicken coop I had to dig around for a pair of cinder blocks to brace the wall against while I drove the nails in. Sure could have used a nice 12 lb anvil right about then.

    Okay, live and learn. Unless you’re REAL careful of course.

  5. Jeff Polaski on 2 December 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Have a healthy and happy Father’s Day.

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