A Future for Others

When despair for my craft becomes weary, and I tire at the loss I now see, I remember that many are out there searching and surfing for something to make them real crafting men and women beyond the mundane of daily life in their own right. I set aside my thoughts and work with my hands to make a piece they can learn from and there at my vise a plane comes from a block of wood and a piece of steel. The plane shaves and I see the need to set the plane so others can learn as I set the plane. I stand at my bench and tap the iron and the wedge and another in Dubai and Israel watches. Others in India, Australia, Poland, Sweden and Finland follow too. A few in China are fascinated by the possibilities they see and then hundreds more in New Zealand and Argentina. 2,000, 3,000; no, 6,000, 7,000 watch around the world in any given day and learn how to work with a #4 Stanley, how to sharpen a dovetail saw or make a dovetail. My despair lifts in a matter of seconds as I read my emails. Here’s a snippet from one:

…(first off, I’m absolutely loving the master classes. It is so nice to have a visual way to learn woodworking through the guidance of a wonderful teacher. Your ability to harness new media is truly humbling… This comes from someone who works as a software engineer, or a software craftsman as I’ve begun referring to myself)…

What is truly humbling is the support I have from my friends that work alongside me to restore what’s been lost and of course my personal family and what has become a family of woodworkers around the world. I do lament the loss of craftsmanship in the workplace and home workshop where methods for mass-making dominate, but I believe the continuance of revival in respect for craft will reward those who discover the art and craft of hand work, and, even though it will never return through industries giants in manufactured machines and magazine pages, I do see its preservation through the work we are doing and in the lives of people exactly like you.

In the last year we’ve recorded 50 hours of video to train woodworkers worldwide and now every centimetre and inch of it is readily available online. The projects are diverse and uniquely designed specifically to develop the lost skills so that the are preserved in the lives people. My blog goes out every day and we have hundreds of training articles that never grow old. Yes it takes time, much time,perhaps even time I don’t have, but I believe in you and I believe in what I am doing to train a new generation of woodworkers. What this will look like in one year’s time may be as different as it looks now after a year of hard work has passed. Get ready for change. It makes a difference and it really matters!

5 thoughts on “A Future for Others”

  1. Paul, you and your devoted crew are not alone in trying to educate the world on woodworking. However you and your group do it better than most. Thank you for all your efforts and dedication. Besides a fantastic woodworker you are a gifted teacher, as your group are gifted dedicated techies. Together you make a great educational team.

  2. Paul,

    There’s never room for despair. There are literally millions of people around the world looking to experience the satisfaction of creation and discovery by working with their own hands. To get away from creeping ‘virtual reality’ and back to the beautiful ‘real’ world. Thankfully there are those like yourself who are encouraging people to give up being viewers and start being doers.

  3. Paul, you are giving me an opportunity I have up to now only dreamed of doing, apprenticing. You’ll never be able to fully understand the dramatic ways you are enriching the lives of so many craftsmen and women.

  4. Paul, who would have thought I could use a hand plane to install a rail fence or to quicken the building of a shed? As I took shavings off a rail to fit it in a post there were onlookers with an expression of wonder.

    Your tutorials spread wider then you think.

  5. A few years ago I worked on an old shop (well old for Perth Western Australia, 1900’s) and nearly every piece of finish joinery required substantial working to achieve a reasonable fit. A recently qualified carpenter with a three year apprenticeship watched as I used a no. 4 smoother and commented” I wish I knew how to do that” It wasn’t the method or technique, it was the fact that he had not been taught how to use a hand plane at all. He sounded disheartened when he added, “I don’t even know how to adjust one of those” I have not been taught or mentored past high school and it is the few minutes I can cram in at the end of the day with blogs such as yours and the resource books I have acquired over the years that deepen and develop what understanding I do possess. You are a great inspiration in bettering oneself and the efforts made do not go unnoticed or be forgotten. In time, in a small way, I aim to assist others as you have done and in the meantime develop with continued practice in work. Thanks.

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