Happy 65th birthday to Paul!
Paul is 65 today. I would like to welcome you all to wish him a happy birthday in the comments.
Last year I did a guest post and let everyone know it was his birthday. This year I thought I would do the same but also take the opportunity to do a brief roundup of the year just past.
While 65 is a personal milestone, it is also interesting to reflect on the fact that Paul began his formal apprenticeship at age 15. This means that Paul’s woodworking experience now extends over 50 years. Paul has an unique level of experience and he is also among only a handful of people who were part of a centuries-long tradition of the apprenticeship system.
Sixty-five is the official age of retirement in the UK. You will all be pleased to know that he has no desire to retire any time soon. He is delighted by the interest in his craft and feels a sense of responsibility to help others learn woodworking.
2014 in review, and the future
This year there has been an unprecedented interest in Paul’s teaching. We recognise that numbers are not an end in themselves but this little graph shows a comparison of visits to Paul’s blog over the last four years.
The New Legacy School of Woodworking has had a great year and we expect that demand will exceed spaces this year. The Woodworking Masterclasses website now has over 7,800 members (most of those are subscribed to our free plan but a significant number are paying members). This coming year we have many ideas and projects to share through Woodworking Masterclasses.
Paul is always working on various manuscripts that we hope to publish in the future. However, I am pleased to say that we have solid plans to release Paul’s next book which will be published in the first half of this year. I will leave to Paul to reveal the details over the next few months.
We want to help others
I thought about raising some money for Paul’s birthday to give him a present from those of you who follow this blog. However, when I mentioned this to Paul he said he would prefer to ask you to help him help more young people get into woodworking.
This blog and YouTube have a small but significant following from 18 to 25 year olds. However, very few of those young people pay for classes or join our paid site on Woodworking Masterclasses.
Paul has been working to balance this in the classes by offering two free spaces on every class for the past year.
Last year this was aided by an anonymous donor who has helped to cover the expenses of offering the free classes. This same donor has covered the expenses of one free space in each of the nine-day classes that will be scheduled in 2015.
You can help Paul to help others
We would like to ask for help from the community to help raise the money to cover the expenses for the other free spaces we want to offer. This is around £2300 (around $3500) which helps us to cover the out-of-pocket expenses of giving away classes. This includes rent, materials, shop assistance and accommodation for those who need it. We are hoping to also start a programme to allow young people to join our Woodworking Masterclasses site. If we get more than this we will use the extra to kickstart that programme.
Please wish Paul a Happy Birthday in the comments below, regardless of whether you can help out with a donation or not.
Thank you all for your support.
– Joseph Sellers
Thanks to the following people and many more who wished to remain anonymous who donated money to our work in helping engage young woodworkers.