A Day’s Working Unfolded Into a Day Full of Happiness

P1030791I opened the workshop door and watched as morning light spread from one bench to another and then another. I’ve seen this most of my work life now, 50 years of early morning entries I suppose. I often stop as soon as I step inside and as I did this morning to soak in the work of yesterday and recapture the last sentence of yesterdays worklife written in something or someone else made. P1030788This morning I saw partly made tables and boxes, chisel trays and Shaker candle boxes. The tools were waiting in clusters at the corner of each of the workbenches I built in the yard of my house over on the Isle of Anglesey when the snows fell, covering each one of them, 12 at the time, and I carried on working despite the cold. Memories build up as you grow more senior in years. I sank the last of my pension into starting New Legacy here in the UK because  I believed in the cause I had held for two decades and that is it’s worth investing in a new generation of people, yet to be born woodworkers, who want to become real woodworkers in their own right. This week I saw the rewards of my investment in the smiles of a shy dozen men who spent an extended week of nine days with me and Phil.P1040022

It’s been one of those amazing week of changing lives and having mine changed in the process of changing the lives of others. The boxes and shelves came together well and tomorrow the tables will all be done or left unglued for travel needs. We’ve had serious discussion, tested out theories and yet still got our work done.P1030973 Friendships were formed and memories made. We shared joy and happiness minute by minute and everyone laughed at different things not the least of which was if I made a mistake.

P1030940This plane, rusted though it was, was the source of much surprise and I will reveal that to you all one day soon I hope. We ran bevel-ups and bevel-downs alongside one another and more surprises came. Why would a #3 Stanley smoother cause such pleasant smiling coupled with surprise? Mid afternoon we sat and chatted and it was all about wood and working it. The feedback at this stage is always valuable and even though have yet 16 hours to conclude my efforts of change, I have already changed 10 men’s lives for life.P1030972

I remember when I lived in the Texas Hill Country 100 miles from the nearest city. Sitting on the limestone bluff above the Dry Frio River on my own at midnight I looked up and was just stunned by what I saw. P1030959P1030961P1030960P1030956P1030953 P1030952 P1030947With no street lights, house lights anywhere to be seen, the unpolluted skies spread out as never before. Stars so near and brighter than ever in my life. You see sometimes we have to switch off the lights to really see just how very bright the night sparkling star-filled skies really are. The classes do that here. No machine in the shop, just 12 men and 12 sets of hand tools. The real power in woodworking is the people who start to see that real woodworking demands hand work. So I doused the candlelights this evening and set off home just euphoric with delight at seeing and being with men smiling and laughing and become friends with one another as they worked wood with no ear protection in a dust-free environment and an exchange of lighthearted banter throughout each of the nine days they’ve been together.P1030990

Good night everyone!


  1. Randy Allen on 15 February 2015 at 1:16 am

    #3 Stanleys are the best 🙂

  2. gblogswild on 15 February 2015 at 1:38 am

    Those all with the same #3?


  3. gav on 16 February 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I have come across more than a few ways to express the essence of what I have read here Paul. Putting it simply I think the most basic and apt phrase I can think of is ‘You have got heart’ Due to the fact you care so do other people and they respond in kind. Understanding what you value and passing it on freely in a considered and tangible manner is a gift hard to match. Thanks

  4. Kieran on 19 February 2015 at 12:36 am

    I really enjoy reading your blog and your philosophy regarding hand tools strikes a chord. I go to a Woodworking nightclass at a local school but 80-90% of the time I am wearing ear muffs and I should really wear a dust mask, due to all the machines running! There is very little interaction or banter between the students due to having to shout over the top of the machines. I get the odd joke about being the only one using hand tools, but it is nice to make stuff that takes some of my own sweat and effort.