Supporting One Another Around the World

 

I often look at our supporters following our various ways of reaching out to woodworkers worldwide and at one time only two or three countries were following our work. That’s massively changed; exponentially. Over the last two years we have seen an incredible increase to every continent and in the remotest of parts at that. The world seems suddenly to have become quite small as people interested in the simplicities and complexities of hand craft work are seeking international input to help them discover ways for working wood that are simple but relational, sustainable and skilful.

I have always been concerned when I write about inexpensive tools available to me and feel guilty that we in the UK are so privileged to have such a wealth of tools available to us for almost no money compared to others. I don’t have an proper working knowledge of eBay and secondhand markets in the rest of Europe, Asia, Australasia, South America, North America and Africa. I am fully conversant with what goes on in the USA having lived there since 1987 but I want we teach to go to the wide audience of followers we have seen grow over the past five years around the world. I do truly care about all of you and the principles of what we are teaching that  and is being adopted and adapted everywhere else. What tools do you use and have access to, what could I teach that would be adaptable. So many of you keep a piece of wire drill holes with or recut steel plate to make a saw from. You are all important and what can I do to help you  if you are Sommieres-du-Clain, Kuala Lumpur, Genoa, Melbourne or Bucharest and everywhere. I mean to say I would love to hear from you all wherever you are so that we can be more inclusive. What makes woodworking difficult to you and what’s available or not available to you. I talk about planes and saws you may never have heard of and that seems something we might be ably to adapt our teaching to or look at at least. More than that though, I have learned so much from friends in Japan and Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden. What you tell me inspires my work and spreads the good news of working wood with your hands and other methods too. 

 

41 Comments

  1. Shon on 22 July 2014 at 11:26 pm

    I’m from Korea. We also have our own furniture design different from China and Japan. The tools and techniques are very similar with western woodworking.



  2. Indranil Banerjie on 23 July 2014 at 1:57 am

    Thank you very much. I and many others in India have learnt much from you.



  3. sebastian on 23 July 2014 at 2:27 am

    Hi Paul,

    I’m Chilean but I’ve been living in Europe for a few years now. Last year got married with a german girl whose Opa is Geigenbaumeister, violin maker in Germany. I felt in love immediately of the hand work, and the precision you can achieve by hand. So last time I was down there, I started to look south america with other eyes, the eyes of the tool-hunter. We don’t really have a tradition of woodworking there. There is some beautiful carpentry from the old spaniards in Ecuador and Peru, but for what I’ve seen, that tradition didn’t survive modernity.

    Last summer (winter here) I spent one month in Santiago for vacations and build a workbench with a few tools taken from europe (japanese chisels and saws) and a few stanleys I found there in the flea market. They are expensive tho. On the other hand wood is cheap. Saws are almost impossible to find, just cheap chinese crap from the 80s. Don’t even try to get chisels.

    Next year we are moving to Chile with my wife, so I’m constantly thinking of what tools to take, and what skills to get. My limit is 23 kilos, the immigrant tool chest if you want. Since planes are in general heavy for example, I decided to take plenty of irons and make the bodies once there. Already made three planes already as exercise: a small carriage maker plane, a jack that ended up being slightly too low to be confortable, and a japanese block plane that doesn’t really lock the blade.

    As for skills, being able to sharpen everything I have is really important. I don’t want to be waiting for 3 months to get my saw sharpened and on top of that pay the shipping around the world. Also, learn how to make your own tools: your poor man’s router or the toothing plane are really good examples. I bought a saw plate with the brass back to try my hand at that too, I hope I can buy spring steel in Chile — at least I know I can buy tool steel to make plane irons and chisels.

    Other thing that I find really valuable from your teachings is the general attitude to make do. It’s not about how much money you put on your tools but how well you understand them and know how to use them. Once you see it is possible to shave end-grain with a number 4, you realise the problem was not the plane but your sharpening, and you improve. I think that’s why I like so much japanese tools, instead of capital and lots of energy to make tools, use wood and skill. And this is what we lack in south america, I think that big part of the poverty in which the whole continent lives is because we never realised we had hands to modify our world. We were told that buying would make us happy, and we believed that. One of the reasons to come back is try to change this, and show people that you can have beautiful and meaningful things made just there.

    I will let you know once I’m installed how’s the reality and what problems I find over there.

    Cheers



    • Barry Lowis on 24 July 2014 at 9:40 am

      That is a great letter Sebastian. Perhaps you will be able to create a blog to tell us the story of you experiences.



      • tsuresuregusa on 30 July 2014 at 10:57 am

        Barry: thanks. And don’t worry, I will. But I wanted to start it once I’m there… maybe I start a bit earlier and share the preparation.

        Gabriel: que gusto leerte. I know about the persa, there’s where I found the stanleys… and maybe you can buy half of the tools and I the other half? I still don’t think we can afford it tho.

        The story of the mill is beautiful. I would really love to visit your grandfather’s workshop, I almost can picture it in my mind.

        And I know the problem, that was one of the reasons I left Chile 6 years ago. Chile is the north korea of neoliberalism. But so it is pretty much the whole world nowadays. Our problem is actually a global problem, to which we need to find local solutions… I really don’t know how to convince people, nor it’s one of my priorities. I rather try to think how myself can live without money. Cause at the end of the day, what I care about is not money, but to have access to the social product, be it as food, knowledge or a mechanic workshop where I can fix my broken plane. If you have enough friends, you need far less money to live well, and you live better.

        Anyway I think that if you work to a high standard of craftsmanship, people will realise about it and they will like it. Doesn’t need to be fancy, but just honest, well made job.

        Drop me a line if you feel like talking in chilean: tsuresuregusa at gmail

        Ojala nos veamos pronto



    • Gabriel Meneses on 30 July 2014 at 1:35 am

      Intentaré escribirlo en inglés para adecuarme al contexto.

      Sebastian! Hi there,

      I’m a 22 years old chilean and i think it’s true that we don’t have a solid woodworking legacy. But if you travel to “Bio-Bio persa” you’ll find the last remains of our little tradition: the hand tools of the woodworkers that made the furniture of the old Santiago. Maybe from carpenters of the railroad and the tramway or the builders that made the University of Chile and the palace of La Moneda, you’ll be surprised of what you can find in that place. I wish i had enough money to save those tools.

      Here in Puente Alto (south of Santiago) is the old paper mill, in other times my great grandfather worked there as a full time carpenter: he mended and invented the old machinery (made of wood and steel in that era) with his hispanic woodworking legacy. Luckily his old workshop remains intact and i will use it.

      I’m an autodidact traditional woodworking student and for my word i’m gonna extend my work to this country as an proposal for a better lifestyle. I have no idea about how this will end but it seems right.

      The main problem you will find here is that people live in hurry and they believe that money will make them happy, if you find the way to stop them, please, you must share that invaluable information. Otherwise they will never see us.

      Sorry if my english is bad, i learned it by myself.

      Saludos! y procura que tu mano siempre esté firme.



  4. Joseph on 23 July 2014 at 6:57 am

    I’m from southern Italy, thank you very much for sharing your experience. I’m feel like a seeker of lost knowledge even the name of some hand tool are difficult to find (in my language),the hand woodworking is not widespread here, not anymore, and the old tool are rare and expensive, I loved your poor man’s hand router and the other video to tune up the tools. I’d like to see a video to fine adjust a spokeshave or to built a wooden one!
    Regards



  5. Andy in Germany on 23 July 2014 at 8:08 am

    The main tool suppler in Germany that I know of is Dictum GmbH whish have a wide range and also make their own brand versions of many tools they sell like chisels and scoop chisels, which have good reputation as far as I know, although the prices are high.

    Used tools are very difficult to get hold of in my experience, especially when it comes to things like planes. I was fortunate to inherit my Stanley plane from my grandfather, because what I’ve found tends to fetch high prices. Wood is also difficult to get hold of unles you are ‘trade’ which means you have to be part of a guild which means you have to be ‘qualified’ which leads to all kinds of hurdles. Any German readers who knows a source, please tell me.

    We suffer from the same problem as the one Sebastian describes: we’re told the answer to everything is to buy more and more expensive tools, as if they can replace skill and learning a craft.



    • Paul Sellers on 23 July 2014 at 9:40 am

      It seems very oppressive in some European countries I am afraid it could creep throughout the whole. The US has it the easiest of any country in the world. Low prices on wood, plenty of it, small mills with Woodmizer setups and such throughout the country and every state where lone millers come in and convert a tree or others that simply own 5 acres and a few big circular saws, bandsaws and a Nyle Kiln. Very nice. Enterprising and less controlling. I think several European countries have the same controlling hierarchy for the “protection” of the people. I love walking into a mill and seeing the wood I am buying come from a tree on the mill. The guilds were always controlling and secretive. It’s has always been the way. It’s this very thing that has seen the oppression that inevitably stems from selfish interest and self protection and furthermore the stymying of any thrust forward.
      We are gaining ground with reference to balancing out the sources of misinformation through misleading tool tests based only on opinions.



  6. John Z Zhu on 23 July 2014 at 11:24 am

    Reading about people’s difficulties getting tools and wood makes me appreciate living in the US.

    Every culture that had developed a woodworking heritage seem to have its version of the chisel.

    I suggest some lessons focused on using chisels.



  7. Andrew Wilkerson on 23 July 2014 at 11:28 am

    I’m in Australia in a small country town 2 hrs drive from Melbourne. The biggest hardwood saw mill in the southern hemisphere is right outside my lounge room window and I live in an old mill workers house. There used to be eight mills in this town but now there’s just one big giant and its not open to the public to just walk in and buy from. I can buy Cedar sent all the way from Canada at a much cheaper price than our local Mountain Ash timber which is processed within meters of my workshop and shipped all over the country to the hardware giants and moulding suppliers. Doesn’t make sense really but that’s how much things have changed.
    I use Falcon Pope brand planes which were made in Australia for a short time at the end of ww2. I buy from ebay or local flee markets as people don’t seem to put as high a price on them compared to the Stanleys. I fix them up a little and they perform just as good in my opinion especially the earlier models from around 1947 and I like the shape of the lever cap. By 1955 they were taken over by Stanley and dissappeared forever. At first I thought I might be a bit crazy fixing up old tools and getting back to basics with handtools then I discovered Paul and felt not so alone anymore. I no longer feel like I need the latest Lie Nielson or whatever to do good work which is the way other handtool gurus can make you feel sometimes. I just wish I had found him before I wasted my money on my expensive collection of waterstones, jigs etc.

    Thanks Paul for all that you do. I look forward to reading your blog at the end of each day when a new post pops up on my phone while I’m out in the workshop. You have changed the way I work and I am forever grateful.

    A quick question please.
    I have been given a large collection of auger bits, many still in packet. Stanley – made in Australia so they are great quality but they are scotch pattern bits. Are they worth using for woodworking or are they only suited to carpentry or rough work like fence making? I can post some to you if you’re interested Paul. I owe you so much already.

    Thanks for your time, I don’t know how you keep up with it all. I have enough trouble just trying to empty my inbox each day let alone run a blog and all the other projects you’re involved with.



  8. wotaewer on 23 July 2014 at 11:43 am

    I am from Germany as well and I can second what Andy said: Getting decent used tools is almost impossible. On ebay there are almost no tenon saws, stanley/record planes (forget sorby), jack planes, specialty planes, routers, vices and so forth. I am bought 2 jack planes, the record 52 1/2 vice and 2 tenon saws from ebay.co.uk and payed for the extra shipping. Which was a lot but still cheaper then buy questionable new tools over here in Germany.

    However, this is a solvable problem. It is mainly a question of searching online and investing some money.

    The real problem I encounter is getting decent wood.
    I have searched in German online woodworking forums and talked to carpenters (Tischler) and contacted local wood sellers: If you cannot resaw thick board that come from the mill, you are pretty much lost. In our hardware stores you only get laminated wood with the laminated pieces being about 5cm wide. So you get a not so nice looking board.
    I always shake my head in disbelief, when I see you choosing the boards in your local dealer or matching board so they look nice – it seems like such a distant dream 🙂
    The real reason behind this is, that most carpenters don’t build furniture anymore, they custom fit kitchens, doors, floors, windows. I asked 4 carpenters for quotes for resawn wood for furniture building (similar to what you use in your videos, Paul) and 3 said they don’t do resawing and don’t have any oak/cherry and the 4th gave me an outrages quote where I would have paid about 350 Euros for board to build maybe 5 small boxes.
    So there really is not much hand woodworking in Germany, as far as I can see.

    At least this is my experience in Berlin – it maybe different in the country. But we still have a lot of wood dealers and carpenters here.

    So really, beside learning woodworking I really have to start buying large boards and resawing them. This is quite an investment, because you need a decent bandsaw.

    Also trying to find a workshop or seminar to learn hand woodworking is not easy. I have searched online and could not find any hand specific workshop. And even normal woodworking workshops are not common here. There are some in the south though.



    • Paul Sellers on 23 July 2014 at 6:31 pm

      Well, I am willing to teach workshops in Europe in the coming year so that we can increase the working knowledge of woodworking for everyone.



      • Andy in Germany on 23 July 2014 at 7:23 pm

        Paul, what sort of places are you thinking? My college has an appropriate classroom, and I could certainly figure out translation…



        • Paul Sellers on 23 July 2014 at 7:37 pm

          We just put this on the table recently. Just looking at scheduling really.



  9. JASON on 23 July 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Paul:
    Have you ever thought about connecting people in like areas? Perhaps this is something that can be considered in Masterclass membership….not sure how it would work with privacy and all but it could be good to know of others in our area taking the same course if we wanted to chat.



    • Paul Sellers on 23 July 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Yes, we discuss things like this regularly and have hoped that possibly guilds with chapters in regions could be formed to foster the spirit of sharing more widely. With enoug support this could really happen and have some substance to it too.



      • Roger Karrasch on 27 July 2014 at 10:22 pm

        Paul, I am an architect and have been following all contributions for two years. I am a member of the very active local ‘Men’s Shed’ (50 members). I also now have my own tools from garage sales etc. and a shed to boot. Count me in for a chapter in Orange, Central West New South Wales, Australia.
        Contact with other nearby followers would be appreciated.
        Can this be done by clicking on to your AUS followers?



        • Paul Sellers on 27 July 2014 at 10:28 pm

          We are looking into it all to see how we can make this work for everyone.



          • gblogswild on 28 July 2014 at 12:29 am

            We don’t have this in the US in the way you guys mean, I don’t think. How does this work?



  10. gav on 23 July 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Along the lines of what Jason is thinking- maybe even help each other out with tools. Occasionally I come across tools surplus to requirements, nothing completely extraordinary but compared especially with what sounds like a complete and utter void of tools in South America for instance in Australia we are spoilt for choice.



    • Paul Sellers on 23 July 2014 at 7:24 pm

      Yes, to this too. Much could be done through voluntary work.



  11. John on 23 July 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I can confirm Andys comments regarding the situation here in Germany. I especially find the wood issue to be difficult, although I have had good experiences with local sawmills. They are quite often willing to leave me leftovers or smaller pieces that aren’t attractive to industry or guilds, which are more than adequate for my beginners attempts. Many of the people I have met this way really enjoy talking about wood and woodworking too and have been happy to help me out. If push came to shove though I would even consider going and talking to a local forester, and putting in a little work to get some raw timber (plus having to learn and practise how to dimension it).

    As for tools I have found markets and also ebay to be useful sources. Dictum are admittedly not cheap, but I feel they don’t promote unnecessary tools, and the products they offer are usually of good quality (yes, that can be more expensive, but it doesn’t have to be). The same can be said for Dieter Schmid, who usually has some of his products on sale. If however you are interested in learning about old tools and how to restore them to working condition I would suggest going to fleamarkets and old workshops. I have found numerous second-hand tools that way, that turned out to be great work-horses once I’d cleaned them up, and additionally I have found that the old tools not only work great, but also have a great look and feel to them and more character than their modern counterparts.

    Paul, I have found many of your videos focussing on restoring tools and creating affordable solutions to be a great help and joy to watch. And you are right, the world has changed a lot over the past years, not only promoting exchange, but also providing ideas and pointers as to how to get started with things (Youtube certainly did it for me). I very much hope this continues.

    Thankyou for your inspiration and for sharing your experience and expertise!



    • gav on 24 July 2014 at 1:00 pm

      In regards to timber supply in Perth we have a broad range available from around the world at wildly varying prices depending on what you are after (some prohibitively expensive) from timber merchants. Flooring stores that sell solid timber flooring can also have some great species and sizes in t and g. My biggest source is usually demolition timber because hardly anyone wants to deal with small amounts that have fixings and paint etc stuck in/on it. Jarrah, Karri, Wandoo, Sheoak, Radiata pine, Baltic pine, Meranti, Oregon are to name a few. Power tools are the weapon of choice to clean off the accumulated rubbish. Old furniture past its use by date, broken furniture that people don’t want to repair. Construction waste bins and industrial areas all provide opportunities. Then, if keen, there are a variety of small sawmills that can be hunted out and small operators with portable mills. It is not always economically viable for commercial work which I do as well but working out the best way to deal with what you come across efficiently does pay off with perseverance. Storage and space then become the main drama:)



      • Andrew Wilkerson on 24 July 2014 at 2:00 pm

        One can never have enough storage space for timber. I had to build space to store a whole lot of rare mixed rainforest species sent down to me from the council cleanup after cyclone Yasi ripped through QLD. Problem is now I don’t wanna use it. I’m always saving it for that special project I might make one day. Too good for everyday use. Good to see another Aussie on here. There’s a few of us. We should band together and try to convince Paul that he should take a working/holiday tour down under. Would be great to meet him one day.



    • John Taylor on 24 July 2014 at 2:58 pm

      We had the good fortune to holiday in China2008. I spotted in a local market a group of excited men watching as a seller was demonstrating his invention for drilling holes in wood……..a bow string wrapped around a home made drill…..one hand on the bow end, pushing back and forth the other with a piece of rag in his palm on the end of the drill pushing down. And we say we can’t get tools??



  12. Damien on 23 July 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Finding handtools is not a major problem here (liking them is another story), and through ebay I can and do get used German, French, British and US tools. My only regrets are the apparent absence of German tools-methods blogs to help me with my German tools and shipping costs that keeps me away from Stanleys #5 and bigger.



    • Jens on 25 July 2014 at 6:05 pm

      Hi Damien, maybe you ask Uwe Salzmann or Tracheide2. You can find them on You tube.

      Uwe is an amateur woodworker and uses hand tools exclusively.
      He saws anything! (even logs to timber) by hand with self made (turning) saws.

      Tracheide2 is a master cabinet maker and restores antique furniture using traditional methods.

      I hope that helps.
      Jens



  13. Jugnu Jethi on 24 July 2014 at 7:59 am

    Hi Paul! Heya guys!

    I am from Malaysia, live here in Kuala Lumpur. Honestly even though one of our
    main exports is lumber but there seems to be very little woodworking going on
    here at the hobby level at least. Hand tools are a challenge to find. I was
    able to locate a shop which had two Record no. 4 which I bought immediately.
    They had plastic handles and cost me almost $100 dollars each. Discussing
    planes with the shop owner had him reminiscing about the olden days. Anyway, I
    fettled one into working condition based on your videos. It turned out real
    well.

    Then I got a new Stanley 60 1/2 block plane which I found out after much
    fettling had a skewed cast bed. So the blade always came out skewed from the
    mouth. That now serves as a $63 dollars paper weight. I recently got an Irwin
    no 5 for about the same price of the dud block plane. Looked and checked out
    alright out of the box but yet to tune it up.

    This week I bought a Stanley 71p router plane off eBay for a whopping $220
    dollars but it seemed quite good. It comes with an extra fence and a few more
    extra cutters. This left me a little sour because a Veritas was priced just a
    little more and I’d be supporting a company which actually makes good tools.

    Buying stuff off eBay is quite pricey. The import duties and transportation
    charges come to an average of $50 dollars easy even if I were to buy something
    for a buck. Funny.

    Got some money saved up and was thinking of purchasing a few more planes.
    Buying surfaced lumber is quite expensive but rough sawn lumber is rather
    cheap. So looking to joint my own boards. Meaning looking for a scrub, fore and
    a jointer plane. Been reading up on the various brands reviewed here and
    elsewhere. Considering LN, Woodriver and just now Jumma. Another reason for
    this is I need to set-up a base workshop with proper tools. Good quality tools
    which can also serve as references. eBay is but a gamble. In fact nowadays
    quite an expensive one.

    Woodworking is however so AWESOME. And thanks to you Paul, so doable and
    enjoyable. Your sharpening method is seriously good. My chisels are a joy to
    use. My plane can give S4S lumber a glassy smooth surface. Your tips,
    techniques and skill reveal a different totally unknown world of woodworking to
    me. Your videos are so educational and inspiring. You put in an enormous amount
    of effort just to share your knowledge. So thank you thank you thank you.



    • gav on 24 July 2014 at 12:39 pm

      I do not know if it is possible for you to do so Jugnu but if you could get a cheap flight to Perth in Western Australia and you had enough time for a holiday/tool gathering expedition you could be pleasantly surprised at what you could find. Local knowledge helps but so does lateral thinking and dogged determination. I have found that personally it is a lot of small gains from a variety of sources that determine the success of an objective. Online sites like Gumtree, ebay, Quokka(this is not a joke, it is a cheap sales paper named after a local marsupial) weekend paper, garage sales, friends, second hand/antique shops ,in my case work colleagues, some of my customers and family have all been sources. My wife shudders when’ I stop to have a look ‘ as quite often I find something of interest. I did pick up a couple of nice moulding planes and a spokeshave on our honeymoon a few years back and stashed them in our luggage.



      • Jugnu Jethi on 29 July 2014 at 10:52 am

        Hey Gav,

        Thanks for replying. It is a good suggestion. Time to stalk AirAsia’s website.



  14. Carlo on 24 July 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I live in Italy and here only a few men work with hand tools. Most of the past knowledge is lost. I do my best but i am only a newbie. Thank you Paul



  15. gblogswild on 25 July 2014 at 1:26 am

    I thought it might be a good idea to cover in a video series how to get around a lack of quality used/new tools. If one cannot get a #4-sized plane, for example, how to go about building one. Or marking gages, mallets, marking knives, wedge vices and other work holding methods, etc. So many take these simple things for granted but those of us who are just beginning do not have the luxuries of the accumulations of time.

    Much of it is simply critical problem-solving, but pushes in the right direction and useful suggestions for those in tool deserts might help increase the number of us galoots out there in the wild. It’s especially nice when one can see a need they might have and be able to come up with a tool to service that need.

    I also believe that self-made tools are somewhat more personal and allow a more intimate connection between a craftsman and his craft. It’s sad that the traditions of so many have been obliterated in the way that they have; some are lost forever, but all it takes to build new traditions is working experience and a desire to pass on what has been learned to others.



    • gblogswild on 25 July 2014 at 1:29 am

      Oh, and one more thing: Thank you, Paul! You’re my woodworking hero. Your videos have opened up worlds for me. I can only hope that I can manage to finally sharpen my saws as well as you can sharpen yours!



    • Indranil Banerjie on 25 July 2014 at 5:16 am

      It would be wonderful to make tools such as you suggest. In India, not only are many tools not available but they are also often of very poor quality. Traditional Indian woodworkers manage to do great work with the most primitive and simplest of tools but for a hobbyist it is rarely possible to put in years of practice to master those simple tools for complex tasks.



  16. Brian Joyce on 25 July 2014 at 1:37 am

    Reading the above accounts, I feel blessed to be living in an area that provides both new (lee valley) and second hand tool options( antique stores or flea markets) as well as an abundant source of wood species available from a variety of sources. Central Canada ( southern ontario, near Niagara Falls) is also a border to the US, so that is also an option too. We all progress at our own comfort level, with the tools we have available, new folks join, some old names pop up on the board or contribute on the blogs, membership grows, and in my opinion every time we are connected on the site, we open ourselves to learning more. That’s what I think is so great about the site and message board, some are experienced craftspeople, others for hobby only. Some are pursuing as part of employment, some are just beginners, others have a garage full of forgotten tools learning to breathe new life into them – and we all come here to learn, to grow in skill, to communicate and share ideas. I love the idea that we can lift up what was on its way to being forgotten craft, and build up people as well as projects.Thank you Paul and team for providing the venue for this to happen. Many thanks, with much respect,
    Brian



  17. Michael Ballinger on 26 July 2014 at 1:24 am

    I’m a Kiwi living in Dublin, Ireland. My biggest problem is space. I live in a 1 bed apartment with my wife, a toddler and another on the way. We are very creative with our wee home and have managed to maximise its usage through thinking about how to make our home work better. I converted a hidden cupboard (has pipes running through it) to house all my tools. But a work bench, a vice, a place to keep wood – that I dream of. One day I will have a little workshop but for now I have learnt to work in tight spaces, on the floor, in our kitchen, in the carpark downstairs when security don’t bust me, wherever I can. If there’s anyone here from Dublin drop a reply on here, it would be awesome to hear from you and who knows we might start a wee guild around something that doesn’t involve drinking!



    • Barry Lowis on 26 July 2014 at 9:47 am

      It sounds like a “hack space” or “men’s shed” would be perfect for you Michael. Perhaps an advert locally might put you in contact with guys in a similar position. Good luck with your search. Barry



      • Michael Ballinger on 27 July 2014 at 9:16 pm

        That’s a great suggestion – never heard of it before. Cheers Barry.



  18. Fredrik Jambrén on 4 August 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I’m from Sweden and the market for second hand tools here are good. Little bit more expensive than the UK but not much. Our local branch of ebay, Tradera has a lot to offer. And there is lots of old tools available from flea markets.

    Our long traditions of ironworks make the secondhand market for quality tools large. For example Erik Anton Berg, are known for good quality chisels and blades. But as many other swedish toolmakers they are now long gone and with them lot of knowledge unfortunately.

    Sweden have a long tradition of woodworkers, I’m from the south of Västergötland, and if you go back just 30 years, there was at least one wood based industry in each small village here. The neighbouring village here had five small factories creating quality furniture, doors and windows. But nowadays most of them are gone or bought by big multinational corporation and crank out cheap mass manufactured goods.

    I must say that as many other countries the availability of quality wood is really bad. The large home improvement chains has taken over the market and the quality of their wood is abysmal at best, it’s impossible to find anything good there. And the few saws/shops that sells quality wood usually doesn’t sell to hobbyist. And we are talking Sweden here, one of our largest exports are quality wood and wood based products you would think that quality wood should be cheap and easy to buy but that is unfortunately not the case. On the other hand, we also created IKEA, sorry for that.

    But lets end on a positive note, I have newly finished a space at home for woodworking, and have started to collect tools and knowledge. With the dream to maybe some day, maybe not make a living from working with wood, but at least create quality goods for others and carry on the traditional ways to work wood as a small side business. I find your videos and blog post very inspiring, and hope that you some day would find time to come to Sweden and teach.



  19. Claudio on 29 November 2016 at 3:43 am

    I’m from Chile. We don’t really have good tools here, which is why I have to buy from ebay, but that means A LOT of money from shipping and taxes. Still, considering that these are tools that you have to buy only one time, it’s totally worth it. I don’t know if this is the case in england or US, but good quality electric tools is a much cheaper way to practice woodworking here. Still, I got some years ago a bailey n4. Since I felt it going through the wood I knew that I had founded a new passion. I’m not sure how to express it, I’m not very poetical in my daily talking and much less in english, which is not my native language (as you can probably notice if you are reading this), but I just wanted to do more and more woodworking with hand tools.

    I truly am happy for you guys who live in the UK or US. You have access to so much cool things at a low cost (and fast shipping, I usually have to wait 2 or 3 months for a tool to arrive), but I have to admit that I also feel a little envy, because a lot of you have the chance to adquire tools just for testing them, even if you have the same one from another brand. I would love to compare a stanley plane with a bedrock, or an old spear and jackson saw vs a Thomas Turner, etc. Here we have to be very selective with what we are going to buy, because it will mean a big investment.

    I recently got robbed and lost a lot of power tools, but the ones that hurted the most were some hand tools that were stored along with them: a Stanley 71 router plane, a 75 bullnose rabbet plane and my
    Eclypse saw set (those things are not even known here, the guy who took them probably didn’t even know what they were), which has lead me to search for replacements. Instead of a Stanley 71 I really want to try a Preston router, but damn those things are hard to find! I take a look from time to time in ebay for tools, but I only found one of those months ago, and the guy didn’t offer international shipping… which leads me to this request guys: if you sell in ebay, please try to offer international shipping. You have no idea how cool is to find tools that we like and that we can actually receive, because the feeling of “I have the money, but no one sends it here!!!” is horrible.

    Well, before I stop writing I just wanted to say that I’m glad we have the internet (and sorry for the ones that don’t have access to it); because I would love to have a master to teach me about woodworking, but since that is not happening I can learn online from Mr Sellers.

    Thank you Mr Sellers for all your online classes, advises and for all the inspiration you provide me (and I’m sure that a lot more people too).