Thank YOU world!

DSC_0002I once lived more permanently in the USA and started teaching woodworking and furniture making on a local level in small town outside of San Antonio, Texas. It started with just a handful of people and was sponsored by the Texas Arts and Crafts Foundation. That small intro birthed a desire in me to pass on anything and everything I ever knew and understood about my craft. In the US 4,500 people attended the subsequent courses I developed curriculum for and now of course we are teaching on wider global basis. I didn’t just teach about hand tool traditions but everything I knew. Apart from the odd critic here and there, and usually they are quite odd, your support has been at the very least overwhelming. So much so I can no longer answer every email that comes my way. What I do and say is from how I feel we can involve others that were up until recent years excluded from the woodworking work zone for a variety of reasons and not the least of which was the industrial impact of mass-making machinery manufacturers downsizing machines for home use. Whereas there was a real value in this, that intrusion did do much damage to real woodworking and more than anything I care to imagine. Today of course advocates now use these methods for the most simple of tasks such as cutting dovetails or making tenons. tasks that take minutes by skilled hands and tasks that anyone and everyone can indeed learn.
Today, thankfully, I see more and more of you venturing into realms of real woodworking you once only dreamed might be possible and using methods that embrace the need of true skill. The pictures you send me are amazing and often I look at blogs done by others and see my stuff somewhere in the background or holding the workpiece. I see spoons being made with the new and now ultra-famous Hirsch 38mm #7 sweep gouge they most likely bought from Highland Woodworking and of course the similarly famed aproned workbench with the vise protruding past the apron. I remember a few short months ago the critics in the beginning saying that’s no way to make a bench and now today hundreds of you have indeed made your first “Paul Sellers workbench” which of course is not mine at all really. Now hundreds of thousands of people have watched the series for free on YT. I don’t take this lightly. DSC_0001
This morning I sat and allowed the Air Traffic Map of the world run for an hour. The pins kept dropping and showing me each of the pages people were reading. I haven’t really done this before but over a couple of hours a pin dropped every few seconds with almost always less than a minute as the max between them. Woodworkingmasterclasses always heightens after we post the most recent training video but then it keeps going minute by minute. I should have taken a screen shot now that i think about it, but anyway, it is very gratifying to know what we are doing is impacting the whole world and not just a isolated few this all began with when i first saw the need for apprenticing and passing it forward.
I say all of this to say a mighty big THANK YOU! Without you I would not do what I do. I also thank everyone behind the scenes who you only catch a glimpse of from time to time. These are my friends who work on the research we dod to test the efficacy of things and to balance out my imbalanced perspectives a little. When I am not sure of what I find I pass it to someone else to look at and examine. They test it and check and say I am wrong or I am right. We look again and find the answer or check elsewhere. Some of you jump in and make a statement or offer other perspectives and we listen. That’s what makes our work organic.
Finland and Israel, you are important. The single drop pin in the centre of Russia and the other one in the middle of China too, you are important. Newcastle and Perth in Australia, you are important and the pin that just dropped in Melbourne, I stop and think about who you are as I work on my blog and get ready for a lesson. Right now the west coats of the US is mostly asleep but the Eastern seaboard is hyperactive as it starts its day. Right now its 7am there. Someone in Edmonton Canada is reading my blog. I wonder about your woodworking and what you do. The whole of Germany seems to be covered with pins right and in fact most of central Europe too. Britain is as always pretty much obliterated as will be the USA in about five hours time. Hello Rio De Janeiro in Brazil. I see a pin or two down there. have a wonder-filled woodworking day.

32 Comments

  1. Brianj on 2 May 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Wow, how wonderful for you too be able to see the impact you, your family and team have had ! It seems the working wood movement is alive and well, thanks to wonderful people like you. With much respect,
    Brian



    • BrianJ on 2 May 2014 at 11:34 pm

      I might be your Edmonton reader Paul! When I move back to Niagara region later this year I may be looking into your course in NY whenever you decide to restart, since my hometown is right across from Buffalo NY. my wife is fully supportive, after my health issues the past few years. She sees the benefit it brings me mentally and physically. Brian



  2. Keith Peters on 2 May 2014 at 1:14 pm

    My daughter will be going to middle school next year, so we had a tour of the school recently. They have a very nice wood shop, and on display were hand-carved spoons in all stages of progress – wood with the outline of a spoon drawn in pencil, the basic shape chiseled out, and a couple more leading up to a finished spoon. I smiled as I had only just recently seen you carve out the exact spoon in your Working Wood video. Not that you invented wooden spoons, but the identical steps shown told me that you were most likely the source of that activity. So know that each year, hundreds of middle school students in Wellesley, Massachusetts are at least briefly getting a taste of your education.



    • Paul Sellers on 2 May 2014 at 6:52 pm

      Hurray!!!! Three cheers for Wellesley Middle School Massachusetts for revisiting real woodworking and bringing life into the classroom.



  3. Ron Harper on 2 May 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Keep up the good work… I find it amazing that you are a little controversial in some circles. For the life of me, I do not understand why. Keep up the good work. I so very much appreciate the growth of my skills as a Masterclass student.



  4. Bob Easton on 2 May 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Thank YOU too Paul!
    Woodworkers everywhere are better off for what you share.

    Now, a technical question: What specific tool are you referring to as the “Air Traffic Map?” A simple URL is all I’m seeking.

    THANKS once again,
    Bob Easton – part time wood butcher



  5. Andy e on 2 May 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Really enjoying your teaching Paul. You are giving a great gift.

    Andy in Canmore Alberta Canada.



  6. Grateful on 2 May 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Paul,

    One thing I like in your work, wood working and blog posting, is the honesty that shows through. It is refreshing to see your unvarnished views on everything. I really must acknowledge your influence regarding working with inexpensive tools, not obsessing with busy work. Before your blog posts, I was building various jigs to use power tools to cur mortise and tenons. Now that I have some proficiency in hand tools, the same thing gets done without the noise and the inherent danger of routers and table saws. It is not that there aren’t others who talk about hand tools and their advantages. You were the first one to call out the facts about hand tools. Frankly, you have saved me a lot of money by showing what can be done with a $20 vintage plane or $5 chisel.

    I also regret to hear that you won’t be able to respond to emails as before. I understand the consequence of reaching the large population. I felt a personal connection with you and sorry to see that changing.

    Please keep doing what you are doing. I know there are those odd critics who take issue with you assertion that Marples chisels will do a fine job of chopping mortises. After I did a test myself, I found your assertions to be quite valid. Quite frankly, people seem to be upset at you for exposing the nonsense of today’s woodworking voice as heard from magazines, books and blogs. I am glad to have you provide an alternative to the mainstream ideas of woodworkiing which projects pocket hole joinery as something we should be proud of.

    Continued good wishes from a grateful admirer.



    • Paul Sellers on 2 May 2014 at 6:10 pm

      I have now stopped reading any and all woodworking magazines because of what you and others say. I stand in the magazine racks and glance at the same old content being recycled. Ever since one of the leading wood mag editors said, “We don’t want complete project articles, we just want bites around the bait.” I thought, isn’t that the truth. Keep the punters coming back instead of seeing them grow to go it alone. On another occasion an editor said, “Cut the philosophy. Philosophy doesn’t sell books and magazines.” I suppose I started seeing things a bit more clearly as to the pressure they were under. Magazine subscriptions are generally dropping and perhaps we will never see them return to the same numbers. Not sure if that’s good or bad. They can be inspiring and I do glimpse the occasional possibiliy, but then something happens to disappoint me again.



  7. Maurice on 2 May 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Thank you Paul for sharing your thoughts and experience in such an unselfish and unassuming way. I think you have single handedly started a woodworking revival/revolution. If you want proof of it, look at the prices being asked for old stanley planes and Marples chisels and they are flying out the door.
    I am not a skilled woodworker (I’m an engineer with two left hands), but I’m teaching my children as best I can to use hand tools given that the school system in Australia has stopped teaching these skills (I don’t know why, but I have a feeling it’s related to the cost of insurance and maybe the lack of skilled craftsman).
    I value and admire your attitude towards the minimization of waste and hope your message goes far and wide. It’s the only way to save our precious resources and possibly the Planet.
    If you ever decide to make the journey to the Land of Down Under, I am sure you will find us an agreeable bunch willing to learn.

    All the best,
    Maurice Villari



  8. Andy in Germany on 2 May 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Finding your website made me realise I can do carpentry the way I want to, and work with people in a way that respecty them rather than being treated like a drone. I’m not sure how I’m going to make this happen, but thanks for letting ne see I can.

    Any German speakers out there near Stuttgart/Esslingen am Neckar? Please get in touch if you do…



    • Paul Sellers on 2 May 2014 at 5:53 pm

      I just received an email from one of your fellow countrymen and a fellow woodworker too. He said the same as you, that the state has to qualify you as fit for purpose if you sell your work as a woodworker. That means jumping through the dictates of politicians not craftspeople and proper guilds. I don’t think any of you should give up and should shoot for changing the laws. Form yourselves into a guild and challenge authority. A very large percentage of amatuer woodworkers I know knock the socks off of professionals as far as skill and care goes. The same is developing here in the UK and I can see a day when woodworkers will face the same imbalances of power.



      • Andy in Germany on 3 May 2014 at 5:07 pm

        Hi Paul and thanks for the encouragement. Feel free to give my email to people looking for other German woodworkers.

        I think your idea is key to what we’re trying to do. My apprenticeship will allow me to be employed as a carpenter. To be self employed I should theoretically complete two more year to be a ‘Master carpenter’ which seems a bit silly.

        On the other hand, I’ve met people here who have found ways around the rules. a friend who works as a photographer called herself a ‘Photo Technician’ or similar, so we could call ourselves ‘Woodworkers’ as this isn’t a ‘protected job title’. There are other little loopholes, but I din’t know them. Maybe as we get networked we’ll figure things out…



        • Paul Sellers on 3 May 2014 at 5:42 pm

          What a wild thought! Who knows what freedom can come from this throughout the European regions. We do not suffer the same kind of authoritarianism here, as yet, but there is a need to have the ability to kerb governments and local authorities. Minorities should have their voice and not be controlled, manipulated or in any way intimidated by any kind of politician or union. Are we not in a democratic union of Europe. Everyone should be heard AND listened to AND politicians and councillors should be accountable to members of their state and country regardless of amounts and quantities.
          I also love the thought of finding the loopholes or even developing them. An association fo woodworkers covers a lot of woodworking spheres. it would take something to ensure every member was indeed responsible and sets the bar higher than the law for whatever they make but all of that is doable.



    • Claus on 3 May 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Andy,

      Yep, how about Stuttgart?

      Regards

      Claus



      • Andy in Germany on 3 May 2014 at 4:47 pm

        Esslingen am Neckar. Could you contact me through my blog (Link in my name, I think…)



      • Andy in Germany on 3 May 2014 at 5:08 pm

        Sorry Claus, something wierd happened with that comment. Great to hear I’m not alone, though. Hope to hear from you soon… Andy



  9. Henry on 2 May 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Paul,
    I was lucky enough to watch you demonstrate techniques in Saratoga NY a couple of years ago. That experience was something of a tipping point for me in my conversion from power to hand tools.

    I fully appreciate your very common sense and low key approach and join others in thanking you for your willingness to teach, share what you’ve learned through the years and share your opinions as well. It makes a huge difference in a world that can sometimes be a little on the crazy side. Thank you.



  10. Martin Ericson Borgh on 2 May 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Hello Paul – I’m glad you seem to feel so empowered by all of us reading your blog. I think also it’s fair to say that all of us also have a responsiblility to try to spread the word and get more people to believe in the skills of their hands. I get so inspired by reading your blog, and others, and my promise to all of you who put in so much of your time and energy to learn and inspire us readers and followers is to learn my daughter everything I can pick up from you. She is two and a half years currently but I have already introduced her to safer tools such as a rasp and a small egg beater style drill. Holes galore! =)
    Tomorrow I’ll go to the post office and pick up a beautiful bronze no 2 hand plane she’ll be recieving for her birthday come september.
    Thank you for your inspiration and sharing of knowledge and experience.



  11. Martin Ericson Borgh on 2 May 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Hello Paul – I’m glad you seem to feel so empowered by all of us reading your blog. I think also it’s fair to say that all of us also have a responsiblility to try to spread the word and get more people to believe in the skills of their hands. I get so inspired by reading your blog, and others, and my promise to all of you who put in so much of your time and energy to learn and inspire us readers and followers is to learn my daughter everything I can pick up from you. She is two and a half years currently but I have already introduced her to safer tools such as a rasp and a small egg beater style drill. Holes galore! =)
    Tomorrow I’ll go to the post office and pick up a beautiful bronze no 2 hand plane she’ll be recieving for her birthday come september.
    Thank you for the inspiration and sharing of knowledge and experience you provide me with.



  12. Eddy flynn on 2 May 2014 at 7:18 pm

    The world thanks Paul Sellers, well the world of hand tool users does its amazing to think although i only live (relitively speaking) around the corner from your workshop there are people on the other side of the world getting the very same education and enjoyment out of your teachings if only goverments could take notice and remember a border does not define people ,whio would of thought somthing as simple as woodwork with proper tools could unite so many Thank you Paul and the masterclasses team .



  13. Jorge on 2 May 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Thanks Paul from Colombia, South America. A few year ago I started building my life dream woodworker shop. I didn’t know to much about hand tools at that time, so I checked with one experience woodworker what was the best hand saw I could get. He said; ” hand saws are history, you should get a good table saw, a chopper saw and a band saw and a router That’s it.” I was no happy with his answer so I began a web research in my free time and discover your site. I have been following your Master Classes, reading all your new and old blogs and learning real woodworking. I have learn to sharp my tools, including my hand saws. I have learn to buy those fantastic old tools and putting to work. Now I can hand cut very nice and decent dovetails!! I really enjoy your view of life and I wanted to express my gratitud for sharing your skills and your wisdom.



    • Paul Sellers on 2 May 2014 at 10:31 pm

      Thank you, Jorge, you are too kind. This is a lot of work but it’s not hard because i find fulfilment in it. I still get to make my pieces and we have new plans for the coming two years where I get to make a whole houseful of designs no one has ever seen for upcoming woodworkingmasterclasses.

      Best regards to you and to Colombia,

      Paul



  14. Jens on 2 May 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Shame on you Paul!
    All Grandmas on the Planet will curse you!
    All the fine firewood made to furniture, just because of you!!
    So little sawdust, so little waste wood, so little left for the oven!
    What shall all these Grandmas do in Winter?
    Are they to burn the fancy wooden stars, the lovely dovetail caddy, the beautiful wallclock, their husbans helpy walking cane, their sons wonderful tool chest, the families everlasting book shelves and coffee table?

    Your fault goes ever deeper!
    You just dont teach how to build those things, you teach how to cope with wood that was declared as fire wood!
    The knotty Pine, the awkward Sapale?
    Getting to fancy furniture not warming fire!

    So shame on you and your little helpers!
    How could you seduce us to build such fine furniture, when all these Grandmas are freezing?

    Best wishes from Germany
    Jens



  15. peter on 3 May 2014 at 4:24 am

    Have just read that there is only one person in melbourne, victoria,Australia, plugged into your blog and master course. I have found the one tutor, that makes the education I seek, so emence and logical, I would have thought you would be a equivalent to a virus. Am greatful for that all that you and your family have aided myself. Many thanks Peter



    • Paul Sellers on 3 May 2014 at 7:47 am

      No, we do have many more and many across Australia. It was just at a time when Australia was sleeping I think. Australia is a big supporter of our work to make woodworking more real and increases steadily every week.This minute there have been 722 page views from Australia today so far. I kinda thought Australia would be in there because it seems to be a very hands-on nation.



      • peter on 3 May 2014 at 10:02 am

        very good news to hear on behalf of the thirsty, wishing to learn community. ta muchly



  16. Carlos Viloria on 4 May 2014 at 4:37 am

    Would you look over Venezuela? If you see something, that might be me!. Of course I would love to know of more venezuelan followers of this generous teacher. Blessings, Paul!



    • Paul Sellers on 4 May 2014 at 7:37 am

      There are 14 people in Venezuela right now, Carlos.



  17. George on 5 May 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Anyone from Cyprus? 🙂



    • Paul Sellers on 6 May 2014 at 3:53 am

      Yes, 12 right now. You’re not on your own my woodworking friend.



  18. Ben on 7 May 2014 at 9:43 pm

    I got hooked on woodworking from the moment I ran my first dados in my shop project bookcase, and tried my hand at turning a small end-table-top that got affixed to flat-stock that I scrolled and then welded together.

    I’ve been itching to get back into woodworking since leaving high school in 1997…. but I never could.

    I was living in military barracks, and then apartments. How could I possibly fit a table saw, thickness planer, routing table and jointer in an apartment?!

    And then I stumbled across your youtube channel.

    I’m not sure how it happened… but it did… and since then I’ve watched every video you have posted on youtube.

    I’m now slowly acquiring quality hand tools and, once I have what I need to start my bench, I’ll be subscribing to the master classes.

    Thank you so much for opening my eyes as to how low the barrier for entry really is, when it comes to woodworking.

    Cheers,

    Ben
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada