Future’s Calling

DSC_0080John fitted right back in to enhance things going on at the workshop. He on his third project which is the tool chest we did on woodworking masterclass three or four projects back. We will use it at the workshop for keeping my camera and lenses in to protect them during my work at the bench.

It’s not hard being with people who like being there, like what they are doing and somehow  strive to be a problem solver like John and Phil both do. I mention something, anything, and a few minutes further on into life they’ve solved what was wrong or at least found the answer. John is a natural when it comes to wood, woodworking, hand tools and thinking through all issues.

DSC_0085A few days ago Matt Richardson came in too. He’s spending another week here as part of his personal development and training. As a barrister in London his goal is to plumb the depths of woodworking over the coming months and years until he becomes a master craftsman and to do that he’s rented bench space near where he lives so he can make his own furniture. It’s all to easy to use words like amatuer, hobby and pastime, but that’s not what’s happening with John, Phil and Matt, their goals, no, their ambitions, go so much deeper, so much higher and so much wider than that. They plan to master what they do, master their craft, know their materials inside out and carve out that area of life we still call craft. I invest in these things. They invest in these things. We unite to share time and emotion working together and new woodworking masters are born with patience and love for their craft.

I’m working on the same tool chest again. Alongside them both. This ones in mahogany and this time it’s a gift for someone. I also designed a new project I am considering for woodworking masterclasses. The construction can be adapted to tables of any size and type, desks, beds, work platforms and many more. Beyond that the inner workings we call vocation lives in a reality not too many know and understand or relate to any more. DSC_0010To do what we are doing is a sacrifice. We give up something to do it. That something can be work, family, friends, money. The sacrifice is not just ours but those we relate to. But we think it’s worth it. Matts bench space costs him, but the guy he’s renting from makes fine guitars – the finest. A symbiosis will naturally occur for Matt in the same way it has for Phil. How do you know if it’s a vocational calling? Well, every time you hear something, anything, relating to the craft, your ears prick up, you stop mid step, twist to the sound and smell and catch sight of some wood and some old tools and you stare for as long as you can. When you don’t get paid for the work and the sweat pours, you still don’t stop. The difference between a professionals and amateurs is that the amatuer does it whether  pay comes in or not and nothing is going to stop them. Many professionals are amateurs.



  1. Very envious of those young lads good luck to them.

    It’s a journey I dreamt of taking when I was 14 never got given the chance.
    At 16 I was still to naive to know any better and got a load of wrong advice, as well as the pressure of getting a job to pay rent to my mum.
    At least I am doing woodworking as a hobby now.

  2. Mark,

    I’m 44 years old and bound and determined to transition from my current profession to become a full time maker. I’ve been training with hand tools for 1.5 years and I’m serving an apprenticeship in my own shop, like many others. My master is Paul and well, the rest of the Internet. My current job leaves me lots of time to work on my craft and I spend 4-12 hours in the shop nearly everyday. Sometimes that’s after my son goes to bed and i work into the night, but I get my work in. Thankfully I have the best girlfriend ever and she fully supports the change. Anyway, I’m glad you get the shop time and hopefully you can make up lost time.

    Paul, I hope to change professions soon and remain an amateur.



  3. Mark, stick with it, and you’ll get there. I don’t really have the time or money to jump right in, but I plug away regardless, salvaging or building the tools I need, and recovering whatever wood I can find. Where there is a will, there is a way. Every day I am better off than I was the day before.

  4. Mark I think a lot of us are and were in the same boat. I all ways had an interest as I took Industrial Arts in High School and went to Engineering School afterwords then a few years in the Army and got married ( 2 ) kids and Corporate America until I retired at the end of 2009.

    Since then Hand Tools and reviving my favorite Hobby has taken over many many years later, I guess the old saying you are never to old is true. I am learning and still struggle but I so enjoy it and thanks to Paul I will continue as long as I am physically able, and for the record I am 65.


  5. woodworking make life perfect , focus and concentration , woodwork is art , nobody knows except woodworkers

  6. Paul,

    I am ever grateful for your dedication and willingness to share your passion. The woodshop was a part of my life as a child, working with my father. I was only allowed to use the hand tools, thankfully. It has been many years since then, and my career kept my mind busy with things other than woodworking. Through a turn of events I won’t list here, I recently found myself unemployed with some time on my hands, but with tools in them, trying to remember the lessons of my father. I wonder now why I ever left the woodshop…

    The last paragraph of this blog describes me perfectly. I was recently in an art studio with my family and I was too busy looking at the carved wooden pedestals, shelving, and frames to notice most of the art. We then went to a collectables antique store (small items), and I immediately found a selection of old hand tools which I looked at until we left. I have a growing collection of lumber, salvaged from pallets or other people’s castaways. Woodworking is on my mind almost every waking moment now, amd sometimes even when I’m sleeping.

    I am currently trying to learn as much as I can from your youtube videos, and just signed up for the free Masterclasses. I also hope to find someome to apprentice under where I live (Maui, Hawaii). I know not what life has in store for my career, but I do know that I will never leave the woodshop again, and eventually follow your example and pass my knowledge on to others.

    W. Muse

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