Woodworking globally and locally

DSC_0851I find myself testing the truth of good tools at the bench and know some things get harder to find around the world. Finding good tools should get easier but for some small principalities it seems hard if not impossible. How it is in Malaysia or the Philippines I don’t know but all the more our net has now encompassed distant regions of the world yet we do nothing except speak to simplify the art and reality of true workmanship.


I’m amazed that we are finally turning the corner here after half a century when we could never really get a toe hold in the door to reverse the damage of those decades. My work gets easier now by the day as people fight their way off the treadmill in their home towns and home workshops and now all the more enjoy complex woodworking using the simplest methods and simplest of dead ordinary hand tools too. I feel all we’ve ever offered is the reality of simplicity, realness and such.


I like the local level of my work all the more these days too. Perhaps it’s the flaw in me of not wanting to be some kind of rugged individual or the macho character but like those spheres where interdependency thrives and interaction deepens relationships of real value and consequence. I don’t just like it a bit, I like it very much.

P1050640Phil’s finishing off a box and has yet to conclude the actual finish on his rocking chair. We all have way too much to do with so little help. We’ve grown all the closer through the vision I have for establishing a crafting cooperative of woodworking craftsmen. You know, a place where we shove machines out so people can work safely together and talk as they work with one another as we do in the everyday of life. P1050635Now Sam’s come on board for a season of apprenticeship too. His bench is freestanding solidly squat square on it’s four legs and he should have the superstructure together hopefully tomorrow. He has the well to do yet and then he makes his drawer. I changed some features of this bench to go in my new bench making course and it’s made it really succinct and though this bench has always been my rock solidest design, the small additions make it all the more solid. Sam was able to customise this o

13 thoughts on “Woodworking globally and locally”

  1. Paul,
    In the past you had hinted at creating a video on retrofitting a drawer into the apron. the photo of the drawing housing in the apron reminded me of this. Are there any plans for publishing a video on this? If not could you breifly discuss the design details/
    Thanks again for all your efforts.

  2. Jim Williamson

    I will be building my bench later this summer and want to add the drawer …how soon will your new bench design be out or do you have a sketch for the drawer. I also subscribe to Woodworking Masterclass will out be on that site

  3. Paul,

    Could you share the changes in your basic bench design that you have made to make it more solid? I’m planning to build one in the near future and would appreciate any improvements you care to share. Thanks.


    1. Don’t get me wrong. The bench in it’s most basic and original form is totally rock solid. The additions are more like installing the drawer components as you build. Running grooves and rebates for the well. Changes to the wedges and such.

  4. New bench-making course eh? I’m also building my bench very soon and my interest is piqued.

  5. When I see the picture with the wedge above
    I think the screwed holder will prevent the wedge
    tightening up.
    So I would leave a 1mm gap between the holder
    and the wedges ramp to ensure that the wedge is
    only stopped by the dado wall.

    Don’t get me wrong, just my thoughts.

    Best reagards from Germany and keep up your great work!
    Thank you so much!!


    1. It is loose, but the wedge is only retained by the flip over retainer, that’s not tight either so it works fine to tighten as the leg shrinks or is racked at all.

  6. Paul, they say a photograph is worth a thousand words, thank you for that wonderful “essay” on the wedge portion of the bench! I was worried about that part but now it seems simple. I have recently discovered you and am in the process of reading all your old posts, collecting old, wonderful tools and teaching my younger children how much fun this is. Wish I could have met you when you were in Georgia. Thanks for all you do.

  7. Hi Paul, thank you so much for all your efforts. Following your videos and reading your blog has inspired me to take up woodworking as hobby and I someday hope it to become much more than that. Just out of interest, how does one become an apprentice at your school of woodworking?

  8. Mike Ballinger

    I see you have a husqvarna axe there hand forged in Sweden. What do you think of it so far Paul?

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