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Update On the Shaker-inspired Deacon’s Bench – It’s Finished

Being well is a healthy thing and working with your hands really brings helps.

Yesterday my handwork was concluded and I have written as deeply as I know on the value simple conclusion of almost anything brings to our personal wellbeing. As I mouthed the words ‘it’s finished’ yesterday I felt that physical resonance inside. It’s an unmistakable sense and I always feel it, but I want to explain the feeling and the sensing as I see it and feel it.


Wellbeing is almost always deep after completing almost any work but all the more when the work demands something from you and indeed you enter realms of uncertainty starting out. Chances are you may never have used the methods we used in making this bench seat. It may well start out with some level of doubt and perhaps an uncertainty, but I think this is important for any craft and skill development.


Integrity in work deepens with hand work and many of you are now realising this more and more.

The more integrity you strive for in being honest throughout your work the greater the level of fulfilment and the more your honest work stands in the face of scrutiny and that includes your own. For me my work’s resonation always comes when something I was making is no longer a ‘becoming’ but an ‘is’.  My speaking three seemingly insignificant words is as much of the making process as the first thought preluding the pencil stroke I make in my sketchbook. The words may not seem consequential in the scheme of things but most of it is about taking something from the very birth of a concept in a man’s mind to its final conclusion where there is nothing, absolutely nothing, left to be done. It’s not anything super etherial but I do know that just speaking these words somehow releases the deepest sense of wellbeing after hard working. 


The different woods I decided on complemented one another and using a brush and a pad to apply the shellac filled the grain quickly. I think the overall finish took me from raw wood to a fully filled surface in about two hours sepalled  in between by cure time overnight before I applied soft furniture polish as the final surface. Buffing the wax is very fast and the softness to my fingertips was like the tool chest we built a few months ago.


Shaping the legs and rails using common hand tools like drawknives and spokeshave becomes quickly intuitive and you will be surprised how accurate and well they look when shaped using traditional and uniquely different methods as apposed to any type of lathe. 

In closing I look forward to what some of you will soon be building as shown here and think toward that day when I will be feeling what you will be feeling again as you too work through the different phases in zones I can relate to. It will be an upcoming project on the




  1. Richard Mallard on 7 July 2014 at 1:28 am

    Beautiful! Looking forward to learning how you shape the legs and rails.

  2. Russ Baze on 7 July 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Lovely. Nice, tight job.This project should be fun.My drawknife needs a touch-up though. Do you prefer a straight blade or a curved one? How do you sharpen yours?

    • Paul Sellers on 7 July 2014 at 10:34 pm

      I like both straight and curved equally. I use an upturned diamond plate for honing and a strop for buffing to a full edge.

  3. Randy Allen on 8 July 2014 at 4:01 pm

    That’s a really lovely piece Paul. I love the simple lines of Shaker things. Can’t wait to see this build come up as a Mastercraft project.

  4. Steve Massie on 12 July 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Paul a beautiful project, I like your wood contrast and also a big fan of Shaker style furniture and the fact you didn’t use a lathe for the spindles is intriguing to me and look forward to this project coming up on Woodworking Master Classes.


  5. chavafloresv on 19 November 2014 at 3:14 am

    Looks awesome

  6. Trevor on 1 December 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Paul, love your work. I’m wondering what your preferred furniture polish is? Sounds like it’s possibly beeswax-based, but is there something particular you look for in your polish? Thanks so much.

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