The blog post sparked a blaze

paulsellers.comThe way everyone expressed their perspective on their starting spark fascinated me. I mean it meant so much and was undeservedly rewarding to me. Combining that with the last hundred or so emails, notes, messages in the last few days leads me to a place of respectful gratitude. I say this because of the days I spent in the years when people laughed at my endeavour to realign those searching for real woodworking but being unable to find what they were looking for.PICT0075 I mean the Bosch and Dewalt reps. The guy in the blue apron with red writing on it and then too the man pumping screws into holes and plugging them with queerly shaped plugs. My chisels with convex cambers polished like a mirror seemed to mesmerise everyone filling the aisles and so I find myself 20 years later smiling because it was so worth seeing that the efforts are rewarded and the mocking a thing of the past.

Paul Sellers Images

It’s hard sometimes to realise that a gallon of petrol is ignited by a tiny spark that drives a carat 90 miles an hour. Just a tiny spark. The spark at shows two decades ago wasn’t easy for me. I worked many weeks into the early hours to get ready for the shows. Handouts and information, display panels, hiring trailers from U-Haul,staying in hotels away from home and such. Not so difficult today. No satnavs then. No roadside stops to book hotels needed in an hour through cheap rooms dot com. No guarantees. Hard work and long days trained me and paved the way to a today I love all the more because of you. The real woodworking campaign began back then and becomes ever more successful day by day, even though we still have a long way to go and much to do to achieve my ambitions.

paulsellers.comEven though our numbers are high these days what matters the most is that you are discovering real woodworking and that it is indeed changing thousands of lives on every continent. I didn’t know this would happen setting up alone in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Mesquite, Texas, Denver, Colorado or Reno, Nevada. Now I will be returning to the USA some day, but I am looking over the water into mainland Europe too. Just thinking aloud tonight everyone!PICT0146-281x375

Thanks for your notes and letters and emails. They matter.

16 comments on “The blog post sparked a blaze

  1. Paul,

    Just returned from a 3 day seminar put on by MN woodworkers Guild. Friday Evening was a presentation of the life and career of Scott Grove and Saturday and Sunday was how to tips and techniques. last year Thomas Hucker Presented. This opened my closed mind to the possibilities around woodworking. If you come to MN if the future maybe you can do a fall seminar? I’m sure it would be well attended.

  2. You have inspired thousands of woodworkers!! You should be proud of all you have accomplished. Not bad for some one who is unteachable. lol

  3. Hi Paul,
    It only takes one spark to start a fire and you are responsible for this fire that is blazing in hand woodworking today. For myself I’m still the hybrid or “Fusion woodworker” (confusion?) as I call myself. But every time I use my hand plane and can hear the swish and see a wispy shaving rise from the blade I feel calmer gentler. I notice how aggressive the router now feels, my favorite “tool” up to now, as it forces it way though the timber. Thanks to you Paul my passion and inspiration for woodwork has been reignited though the video’s and blogs you have produced.

    By the way I do like the photo of the latest “Made by hand” woodwork machine …. you know, feed tree in one end and “finely crafted” table, chair, whatever out the other. LOL Sorry to offend, my “other” side showing.

    Pete

    • Pete,
      So often I wish I had a good concise word or phrase to differentiate between goods that are “handmade” with machinery and truly made by hand with handtools. Usually I wind attempting to make the distinction by saying something was made “by hand in the artisan tradition” or “handmade using only traditional hand tools methods” but somehow this seems awkward. I don’t mind when it sparks follow up questions about my methods of work, but I’m vexed when I’m unsure if people really understand the significance of the distinction. Times like that I have to remind myself that I work the way I do for MY satisfaction and not for the recognition of others.

  4. Paul, I am not exaggerating when I say, you have saved hand tool woodworking from a death into obscurity. I for one had no clue it existed and am greatful for you and all you do. I will enjoy hand tool woodworking for the rest of my life and I owe it to you. Thank you from bottom of my heart and best wishes to you sir.

  5. Paul, you have inspired and left me in awe with the things I watch you do in wood and only hope that one day I will be able to achieve half of what you can do. I didn’t start my hand tools work until my late 40’s with no idea of how to work any of them. Watching you work and my recent purchase of your artisan course 1&2 I realize that I might be able to some of the things you can by the time I reach your age. I get so much satisfaction using the hand tools and after so many years of listening to loud noises (military life) I find that the quiet has a very calming affect on me. Thank you for all the hard work you put into your videos and look forward to the release of your next book.

  6. Woodworking is changing my life. No matter how bad things get, I know I can always woodwork. The spark for me started when I watched the dovetail caddy video. I subscribed to the master classes and love to sharpen, flatten and thickness boards, and cut dovetails. My favorite projects to make is the jointers tool chest.

  7. Thank You!,… probably says it all. You have nearly single handed brought artisan hand woodworking into the 21st century. Thank goodness,.. there are still a lot of old #4 Stanley’s waiting to be saved and put back into use by the next generation. The disconnect from hand methods, with the collapse of apprentice systems in the west, has taken it’s toll. But, the tide is turning thanks to your continued efforts.

    Classic hand woodworking is as old as the pyramids. A little history of this occasionally in the blogs (example: Roman metal planes) may help younger enthusiasts to recognize they are part of a very long human crafting tradition.

  8. You continue to inspire.
    Thank you for always being pragmatic and passionate.
    Thank you for not only talking the talk, but walking the walk.
    Thank you for never sugar-coating the fact that there is hard work involved in real woodworking… But with hard work comes the reward of simply making.

    When you’re ready to open up a school for woodworking on the West Coast I hope you’ll consider San Francisco!

  9. Thankyou Paul!

    In case you haven’t noticed the Lidl chisels are back today. £6.99 for 4. Bought a set. Nearly bought 2.

    Cheers Paul.

    Recently on my daily walks with the dog. I keep looking at hedgerow trees and thinking could someone make a living out of harvesting them and selling the timber. In reality probably needs machines rather than attempting it by hand, but gearing up for it shouldn’t be that expensive. I know hedge row timber is not as good as forest grown, but it was a source for village carpenters in the past. Seems a shame when I see them in a state of dying. Would need to persuade farmers but it would be grate for someone to make a success of doing this.

  10. I have been “woodworking” for some 40 years, but my journey into real woodworking, and understanding, truly, what was meant by James Krenov meant when he wrote to use only those power tools that truly ease working with wood (different degrees of the extent of power tools needed for each person), but don’t interfere with working with wood…I am slowly attempting to get there – I will, ideally, end up with a drill press, band saw, several cordless drills, and that’s it. I have already gotten shed of a lot of my tooling, but still have some to go. I appreciate your videos, and your philosophy!

  11. Jeffery – isn’t it interesting how going back to the older ways of doing things is a vast progression. Today I quickly boxed out some pipes in work to conceal them on my lunch break. I did this in under an hour and to within a millimetre. My tools, a 10tpi panel saw, coping saw, tape, chisel, mallet, pencil, knife and a steel rule. I managed to bring it all into work on my bike this morning. Now that’s progress! I simply couldn’t have work so fast and accurately before I discovered Paul Sellers.

  12. Thanks Paul.
    Thank you for your honesty, thank you for keeping alive the flame of hand woodworking, thank you for your disinterested teaching, for your post, your videos in you tube, your free classes on masterclass, thank you for all the questions answered in your blog, thanks for being a “non-profit guru”, many talk and talk … you do and do and also free. Thank you also for your “philosophy”
    Thanks, was nice meeting you.
    Gracias
    Natxo

    • Hello Natxo, Hope you are well and your support. Apart from the storms this week all is going well/ Hope your woodworking is going well and also that your family is well. Gracias! Paul

  13. Thank you Paul for what you do. As I have mentioned I been working wood in some form of another all my life mostly with the corded cousins. I am not a professional but enjoy building things from homes, cabinets etc. to some “crude” furniture.

    I didn’t get serious about Hand Tools until about 10 -12 years ago when I met Roy Underhill in Atlanta and Norm retired. But during the last 3 years or so since discovering you I don’t even want to look at a power tool if I can help it, then it is only a Band Saw, Drill Press ( Shop Smith new since 1982 ) and occasional corded 3/8″ Drill. I still have pretty much a full power shop in which some of the tools have hardly if ever been used.

    This last year however has not been good for me physically and haven’t had hardly any shop time but hope things will will be different in 2016. I love reading your Blog and of course look forward to the weekly Woodworking Master Classes videos with hopes of building many of your projects. I especially want to start carving spoons etc.

    I am your age so I feel I have a few good years left and am retired with ( 2 ) beautiful Grandkids I want to spend some shop time with. Please keep up the good work and am looking forward to your new book when ever it is available.

    Steve

  14. Jeffery, I’m fully onboard with the hand tool movement and absolutely LOVE real woodworking. Having said that, I would counsel to try doing without your thickness planer and jointer before getting rid of them. I rarely use mine because most of my projects are small, but when I have a large project I am grateful to be able to break them out and dimension my rough stock. If you only make small items or buy dimensioned s4s lumber it might not be an issue for you, but when making large furniture or working with rough timber, I would curse myself for selling them. Just food for thought.

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