Woodworking Brings Change Brings Life

P1030116This is the first nine-day foundational of the year and I wonder of it’s a sign of change as I look at the demographics. It’s rare but this class is all male and the average age has dropped from the mid early 50’s to around the mid 30’s. It’s a low-maintenance class and for the first time ever I think they were all within a few minutes of one another as we closed the door this evening.

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They cross from bench to bench from time to time throughout the day and talk about their work, their thoughts and the tools they’re using.They joke with one another and now they are sharing how the were amazed and disappointed. P1030078Gutted and ecstatic and all within a few seconds of each other. It’s nice watching them become friends like this. P1030345Two of the men work for the same organisation in the same building and had even seen each other at work but never knew one another until this week. It’s somewhat surprising but I suppose at least half of them come from other countries and that has been a definite shift from when we held our first classes. P1030459Men born in Tunisia, Lebanon, Austria, Spain, Ireland, Wales and England are all working together with a common love for woodworking bringing them the the New Legacy workshop in a castle in North Wales. Another aspect of the demographic is that five of the ten men want to become woodworkers and include it in their living as part or all of their income producing work. Two if them already are woodworkers. P1030502This is another shift. Before this class most students never saw this as a real possibility, but these men do. P1030494If you listen to them, as they chat back and forth, you hear a heartbeat of woodworking pulsing rhythmically back and forth. The planes are a source of conversation as are the jokes about the Aldi chisels or the poor man’s router. It’s organic, this pulsing beat I mean, just watching and listening and I feel my own spirits soar as I go, “Yes!” this is working, they are listening and they are learning lifestyle is very, very real.

P1030318Yesterday Eddie Flynn made it in to the workshop for a little while. Some of you know Eddie for his volunteer work helping his fellow woodworkers on the woodworkingmasterclasses forums. We had a good old chin wag as he shared some of his vision for establishing a new Men and Sheds group in his region of Liverpool.

P1030411I return to my work testing out some of DMT’s Dia Sharp sharpening plates to see how the grits worked on fifteen chisels and three plane irons. P1030469I also unwrapping two new old-stock Marples wooden planes and then finished off making a square awl with a propane torch and some O1 steel.P1030449I write some passages for the new book and look at the new pictures we have from the photo-shoot last week. Stunning, just stunning. Phil passes me another cup filled with freshly made home ground coffee and I sip  and think to myself, “How is all of this possible?” It’s really happening at last. After three decades fighting my corner for lifestyle woodworking. Three decades dismantling the damage  has proven all the more worth the effort. P1030498New woodworkers are being born and are yet to be born and we are equipping people and making it happen! One million people, one million, will watch or read about our work in using hand tools again this month. Actually, more.  I’m teaching a class and planning two new books that will hopefully bring more and more sense and meaning to woodworkers around the world and it means something. I suppose I shouldn’t really call this going to work.

17 comments on “Woodworking Brings Change Brings Life

  1. Great post Paul! I recently built a desk with a friend of mine for a room in our house and became hooked on wanting to not only learn more about wood working but also becoming more proficient at it. As a 30 year old myself, I look forward to a long and fruitful journey and recently picked up Working Wood 1 & 2 to help me learn the basics.

  2. thanks for allowing me to visit the castle workshop in the middle of a class, i totally enjoyed watching you work at your bench in the flesh so to speak, thanks for the encouragement and the offer of help it really does mean a lot.

  3. Hi Paul, I’ve been using the DMT plates for a while and have the extra course (220 grit) and extra fine (1200 grit) following the grit suggestions you’ve made in your sharpening videos. I’ll add the fine plate in the future. I notice you have the course and extra extra fine and wondered if there was a reason for trying these finer grits? PS I’m in my mid thirties too and would love to come to the 9 day course. Family commitments mean that isn’t possible at the moment, but I’m enjoying being a distance learner!

  4. Great post. I like the plane in the last pic. Nice long shaving with a slight curl to it. My planes always seem to produce shavings that curl tightly the other way. Why do some planes curl shavings the opposite way? I tried to make one of the braclets you’ve briefly mentioned once before. With my daughter’s name written on it. But it curled up so the name was on the inside.

  5. Great post. Its strikes me how truly thankful you are, for what you have been building, for what technology allows in reaching out across the world. It is I, (we, if i dare say) that are so thankful that you have chosen to make your skills, your experiences, your life available to us. Thank you and bless you!

  6. Though I still look forward to being able to join and learn in one of your classes, Paul; seeing and reading blogs such as this one helps me to feel just a sliver of the peace shared there.

  7. Fantastic post, and congratulations on seeing fruit of your hard work bringing woodworking to the world! Good to see Eddy in your post, too!

  8. Paul you dont know how I’m enjoying the course, despiste my problem whith the lenguage. The first day was like a dream, it was like being inside one of your videos you tube, but no, it was real and I feel alive. Thank you. Muchas gracias

  9. When I look at the pictures the first thing I noticed was the smiles and enthusiasm on the faces of the students. What a joy it is to see people loving what they are doing and hungry for there new lives to begin. Great job Paul and the team.

  10. Hello Paul. Nice to see younger generations are getting interested in learning how to work wood with hand tools. Back in the mid 1960’s I failed my 11 plus exam, which with hindsight was lucky, because it meant 5 years of woodwork lessons at secondary school! The last 2 were for my woodwork CSE exam (certificate of secondary education) – shame kids today don’t get that opportunity. The views of your workshop and videos take me right back to my school woodwork classroom. Regrettably, a career in woodworking didn’t follow school, but when ever wood in the house has needed the attention of a saw, chisel or plane, the basic skills and knowledge imparted to me by my teacher have always proved invaluable. Recent early retirement means I now have time to enjoy woodworking once again (hurrah) and I really appreciate the help you provide through your web site. Also, of course, I’m deeply envious of the people on your course who are clearly enjoying your expert tuition first hand!

  11. I used DMT diamond stones for a year or two, doing wood in spare time. The diamond surface ended up being rubbed off in that short time and use, so I switched to EZlap. The DMT’s may deserve a long term test.

    • I have used DMT from time to time but have yet to try them over a longer period of testing. I just got used to EZE-Lap when I bought my first set and found them to last so I stayed with them. I read what people say as the the comparison between the diamond types and those selling DMT’s say they last longer but that hasn’t shown to be the case at the bench, which is where it matters.

  12. You sir are creating a vibe, and its tone is resonating through all of us! The younger generation is here and we want to know!

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