Investing in Future Woodworkers—A New Wave Yet to Com

15442_104650906216470_100000146822354_127498_5417127_n My children are adults now. I thought that when they reached this point my work would be done, but now I discover at this ‘other’ end of life that life really comprises multi-layered spheres of periodic development in growth proportions high enough they become important memories. We might compartmentalise  this as phasing or stages, but somehow that seems to me at least to stultify the length and depth and breadth of organic vibrancy into mere historical archived steps—a bit like a museum of history. Birth and death are two landmarks of beginning and ending and the stuff sandwiched there in between these two points is where life is forged. For me, these many diversely different interactions build a dynamism that then bridges time lapses to unite those ever-important past spheres of creativity with the present and future, forming realms of perpetuity, sustainability, individual responsibility and volunteered accountability. It’s where our living in 3D translates into a fourth dimension that defies agism, sexism, racism, nationalism, politicalised dimensions and so on  to create a culture of shared life. Now within and beyond my family it means creativity is deeply woven into our DNA.

DSC_0041 John and I talked last night about his plans setting up shop in Patagonia. He’s doing well and says “Hi.” I am excited to see him so enthusiastic and inspired by his return. He has a lot to do to establish himself but he is so well equipped to get started on the right road.

P1010809 With my family grown I find it all the more important to continue my working with people I come to meet and know and those I may never know. It means I can extend myself into helping them achieve objectives they might until now have only dreamed of. Its viability becomes all the more possible when people are searching for an alternative cultural reality that defies what most see as normal but actually would have seemed abnormal a hundred or so years ago.. Most progress is a bandaid on unfixed and unresolved issues. That’s by the by, but within these spheres I refer to as creativity in reality, the real doing and making and building of things is life itself. It’s something we can tangibly relate to when a plane irons out the ripples left by band sawn cuts into dead flatness and a polished steel square awaits a hand to place it to wood. DSC_0582

When I started writing it began with articles about hand work because I knew there was a need for change. I’d grown tired being bombarded with article after article about machine work. Back then I’d  handpicked a magazine I thought to be best suited to my work in restoring an affection for the efficacy of hand tools. One I thought had values in many spheres of creativity and one that exemplified good editorial effort. As internet grew in DSC_0009 popularity and communications improved, the doors opened to a new and greater independence with the freedom to reach over a million woodworkers worldwide in any given month. This alone created new spheres for us to change and transform the face of woodworking and indeed restore possibilities for a new means to apprentice and enable people to become craftsmen and women wherever they lived and whatever their background. Knowing how many people looking for instruction ended up in front of a tablesaw with a salesperson offering £1000 piece of equipment as life’s answer to woodworking, it didn’t take much to nudge the balance on the scales just a tad. People have now become fascinated by the tradition and modernity of my craft. The gameplay shifted over a two decade period, building a strategy that seems now to be dynamic and full of life. Just as creativity takes on a life of its own when a man or a woman has an idea, so too creativity always surprises the status quo with ideas that just have a way of transforming human life.

P1010831 This week Lea (pronounced Leyah) came in to work and train with us again. She’s from Slovakia and she loves woodworking. She hopes to continue training with us over the coming year, as part of her vision for establishing an eco-village in Slovakia with friends and colleagues. Our plans have yet to unfold, but this extension to her previous month of training with New Legacy will enable her to work effectively as a furniture maker and woodworker. We’ll keep you posted on progress as her skills grow.


  1. My woodworking has improved since I discovered this blog a few years back. Now if only I could get my English skills closer to Paul’s level. English is my native language by the way but I almost needed a thesaurus to read some of this. Impressive writing skills Paul and inspiring as usual although I do have a slight headache now. I guess our Tech schools here in Australia weren’t the best when it came to teaching writing skills.
    I feel a bit uneducated now.

    1. Well, you are not the first to complain on this. Someone else said stick to woodworking and forget ethos and philosophy so perhaps there’s something to that on the blog at least. I worry that if I stop putting down feelings and thoughts then I think perhaps my blogging would, well, dry up too. That will happen one day I am sure. The issue for me is that as a lifestyle woodworker I don’t switch off home life from work life and take lunchbreaks to bells and whistles. I don’t start and stop as others do and my life feels wholly blended together in peace most of the time.

  2. Paul, I’d suggest keeping the more philosophical posts, as they feel very honest and I think a lot of people get a lot out of your honest craft.

    I learn from the woodworking posts, but I’m just as inspired by the more esoteric.

  3. Sorry if I sounded like I was complaining. I would never tell you how to write your blog. It’s your blog and I love reading everything you write no matter what the topic so please don’t take my comment or anyone elses in a discouraging way. I had the same problem reading some of Christopher Shwarz as well so don’t worry it’s not just you. I’m just a slow reader and like to be thorough understanding it all. It’s good for the brain to stretch and much better than just reading technical sraight to the point articles with no emotion or personality.

    1. Andrew, I wasn’t referring to you or any individual as such really. I think it’s really good that people feel they can express thoughts and feeling whether I agree with them or not. And it’s not a bad thing to express dissatisfaction with me or anyone else and I would indeed trust what you say. I do like to make people think about the future, about the magazines that generally regurgitate everything every six months, about false information and other stuff like that. You have always been good to read and so a hope you don’t stop because of this or anything else. It’s good for me to consider something I might say that might be out of it or unnecessarily controversial. I mostly just want people to think and rethink. I have had to backtrack on issues I might have been an exponent on a few weeks, months or years ago. I need you and others as sounding boards.

  4. Hi Paul! I think that the ethos and philosophy is part of what people like me are wanting. It’s part of the whole picture that you are helping us fill in. I think if anyone sat down with a long practicing craftsman they will find philosophy in some form is a big part of their lives and a big factor in what made them choose the life path that they did. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

  5. Somebody once said to me “life is the biggest teacher of all”. I suppose there is some truth in that, but it’s sure is nice when people share their experiences as Paul does on this blog.

    A great way for an older person like me to learn, as you can usually relate to what is being said and written about.

    Anyway Paul, I really enjoy your blog, even when you are sharing some of your inner thoughts about life with us. Maybe your time in America helped you to develop those thoughts.

    ATB and great blog!!

  6. I love how you make us think. You have taught me to believe in myself again. I now know that I can build anything that my mind can visualize. Thank You.

  7. Paul,

    Your words are like a hot iron. And it is by the heat of the iron, your long acquired philosophical insight, that you enable us – your unknown students – to glimpse the truth and beauty that your passion has revealed. As if applied to the many wet fibers in a damp rag, your wisdom is a catalyst that energizes us to find and extract real truth and wisdom and insight in our own space and time, like nicks and dings coming to correction. Your teachings here reveal truth not only from the perspective of woodwork and craftsmanship, but also from a life well lived and well appreciated on reflection. At university and in life, as a father, a man, a human person, I pursue the knowledge of where theory meets truth and reality – I believe that there I will find meaning and beauty. I believe your work embodies this nexus and I thank you for sharing it – in deeds and words.

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