Two-day Introduction for Hand Tool Woodworking ‘n’ More

After last week’s Nine-day Foundational and all the new friends I made I am looking forward to this coming weekend immensely. Today I worked on the tool chest, the sapele one I am making for the more advanced series we have been filming for the past few months. We are about to conclude the series and then I will be passing on some shorter projects that will perhaps make  great gifts for the coming season of Autumn and Winter.

I just finished my saw horse series as promised and we have yet to do the series on starting your own walking stick and cane company. I still have work to do to make that happen but it may well be that you can start making gifts for Christmas from this and for some it may mean that you could launch into your own business. We also have some ideas for birdhouses and feeders that are quick, simple and very functional. They cost almost nothing to build and they sell well. I once made my living from making these, which were all my designs and these nesting cavities have unique thermal properties that keep nesting birds warm or cool as needed using the natural properties normally attributed to living tree cavities. They also maintain good temperature and moisture levels for egg incubation, chick nurturing and work so much better than squared-off  chop-saw types and can be the answer in areas where bluebird trails need an extra boost. The Paul Sellers’ bluebird nesting cavity design retains heat and keeps the nest cool too even in dry and arid regions like Texas or Arizona so these nest cavities really work. Regardless of the bird type, these cavities are infinitely variable in size and can be sold throughout the USA, the UK and the whole of Europe. I am sure they will work throughout the world too and even be a part of improved conservation.I made them for 25 years and they are perfect for all other cavity nesting birds such as woodpeckers, titmice, chickadees and nuthatches. Watch this space for more.

Today I spent some time reflecting on the past 25 years since I started adding woodworking classes to my high-demand world of creative woodworking. It’s been an amazing passage of building and designing furniture some of which ended up in the White House Permanent Collection and the homes and offices of people ranging from US Presidents and Senators to everyday people like me. In the mix of all this I’ve trained many apprentices and journeymen and helped struggling woodworkers along the way. It’s been a wonderful life for me and I will always be eternally grateful that I was able to answer what people often look for but seldom fine, my vocational calling.

The above picture shows how my creative workspace is today. It fits me!

This weekend, actually, tomorrow, my next class begins and it’s full up once more. Why is that? Well, we give everything we can out of my 49 years of working wood, that’s true, but it’s about who we are. You know, the behind the scenes people that support our work and make it happen. The benches are clean and orderly and the tools are sharp. The wood will be ready tomorrow and we are going to lecture, demonstrate and physically work wood. For some it will likely be the very first time in a class. We will bust many myths and mysteries surrounding woodworking and in so doing we will demolish the sources of misinformation. I have a list of things I feel critical to setting the foundation stones on which real woodworkers can build their future. Creative strategies that have now worked for 4,500 woodworkers around the world. and now, through the online broadcast,, we can add many thousands more. What we teach in the classes here at Penrhyn Castle we teach online too. That’s how woodworking is changing and that’s how we pass on our skills to the next generation. To those of you coming in for the weekend, safe travels and a big Welcome from everyone behind the scenes that make this thing called working wood work. See you soon!


  1. Looking forward to the new upcoming projects 🙂 PS is there going to be an update on the assembly of the tool cabinet base unit soon? Thank you.

  2. How lovely to see some bikes in the workshop. I’m not surprised to see a nice steel frame, traditional (non aerodynamic) brake levers and traditional down-tube shifting levers. The kind that can’t break down. The frame is probably a Raleigh or some other English brand and the bike is definitely build to ride endlessly instead of showing off. The leather handlebar wrapping makes it complete, and i expect a Brooks B19 leather seat (a design that’s been around for over 100 years).
    The choices made in the bike setup show so many similarities with the choices you make in your woodworking.
    Old stuff can be really great, traditional materials have so much advantages, and there is no such energy as muscled powered energy!

    1. This one is Phil’s bike. He and Hannah have the same make of bike I think. He really likes his.

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