After 30 yrs away Paul Sellers returns to England

We left our home in readiness to migrate to the USA in spring of 1987. We bought a travel trailer and a good sized sherpa van, sold off all we owned and toured England for 32 weeks. By then our visas came through and we picked up our papers from the US Embassy in London. Then the next day we loaded 13 suitcases onto a train for Heathrow airport; my wife, Liz and three boys and myself. We didn’t have much but the adventure began then and continues now. The bit in between was often wild and exciting. This past weekend I returned to live in my native country for the first time in almost 30 years. We lived and worked in the US for 23 years and then in Wales to date. We have had two more boys since then who were born in the USA.  DSC_0612

Moving back to England and preparing myself for this move has been something of an emotional time for me. I never left the UK because I didn’t like it at all. On the contrary, I loved it, but the world has changed me as indeed it is supposed to. The journey home has been a long time coming and my life is all the richer from sharing so many years with so many of you. DSC_0584 My new garage measures 12 feet by 20 feet with an 8 foot height. Here I will soon be assembling my home workshop to work in. I am looking forward to this as I am building yet another workbench to work from. I will no doubt keep you posted.

The house is already feeling like home now we have our furniture in place. Joseph and Kat came in and helped unpack the million boxes and Phil and Hannah came over to help too.  This is the new kitchen now fully loaded and ready for working. DSC_0586


Once the kitchen is good to go it seems all else just slides into place. I will feel better when my garage is a shop too. Currently I am in transit to gather some of my tools that I left until the house was set up right. The school and my full studio workshop will come together over the next few weeks starting in two weeks or so. meanwhile I will rest some more, walk along the Thames river and learn about some of the new wildlife here. I am going to miss my time down by the sea and the estuary and of course the woods I came to know like the back of my hand.


It is an exciting time when you see kites in such plenty. Never despise the day of small things my friends. This is indeed a big thing that will be unfolding.  DSC_0581



  1. Wishing you much joy in your new home! Welcome back to England!
    I look forward to more videos from a new venue. 🙂

  2. Paul, Congratulations on your new move. When you build your bench and your shop would it be possible to share some of your insights and design decisions on what, how, and why you set up your workspace as you do? Also, might you detail how you mount the drawer in the center of the apron? Is it a box enclosure or a hanging set of guides?
    Thank you for all you do and wishing you a prosperous new year in England.

  3. I know how emotionally taxing a move can be. Made worse when you don’t have a shop set up yet! Enjoy settling into the new home and please don’t feel obligated to churn out new content for our sake.

  4. welcome home, congratulations the house and garage look fantastic great to see joseph keeping an eye on things, looking forward to seeing your home workshop coming together after your well earned rest of course.

  5. Paul – there’s some great walking in the Oxfordshire area; from the colleges, to the Thames area in Abingdon, to Burford. Farmoor Reservoir is worth a look too.

    Out of interest, roughly where is the new school going to be (north/south/east/west of Oxford)?

    1. We are still working on the details but most likely south of Oxford, hence our choosing Abingdon for a home town.

      1. Ah. I’d assumed you were going to be in Oxford. From a purely selfish point of view that’s even better; I’m about 8 miles to the south!

        Totally off topic (to the point that I won’t pollute your blog entry with details here) but if you’re after good pub and/or restaurant recommendations I’d be happy to give you some details.

  6. The house looks very nice Paul and mansion like which begs me to ask is it a house or a town house. I ask because the front door isn’t situated in the middle but off to the right.

  7. Best of luck to you and the family. You’ve come a long way. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us with the new studio. The house looks awesome. Enjoy it.

  8. Best wishes to you and your family Paul with your relocation. Life is truly a blessed adventure.

  9. Paul;
    Such a loss for the United States but I have always felt that at some time a person is meant to return home and you have returned home. I say take some time, slow down just a little and walk along the Thames, say hello to the young folks with a smile and a wave of the hand. There really is no place like home, so love, live and enjoy. God bless.
    Pat Walls

  10. Can’t wait to see what you do with that garage space. Mine is almost exactly the same size. Unfortunately I “went in another direction” before I found Paul Sellers Real Woodworking.

    We live, we learn.

  11. Congrats Paul on the start of a new chapter in your life. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how you configure your home shop.

  12. Hope you do some blog post on the garage /shop, would love to see how you set up your shop.

  13. Wait a minute here. Did I miss something in the blog? Here’s what I’m getting, you were born and raised in England, then you moved to the United States. The blog makes it sound like you’ve been in U.S. up until now, but that can’t be right because you’ve been in Wales for a while. There’s a bit of the story missing, the part where you moved from the U.S. to Wales. Is that right? Anyway, I hope the new location works well for you and your family.

    1. It’s funny. It takes me a while, too, to realize that for an Englishman Wales is a foreign country as US or France are!
      Anyway, the sound of the Jack plane is the same anywhere you are. All the best for your new life, Paul.

        1. Thank you very much for the link, Gordon;Very informative and (unintentionally) humoristic!

          1. Far too fast to understand for me but in short, if you belong to the Crown, I assume it’s better to know where you are to know what you are, right? Thanks, anyway.

  14. Best wishes Paul. As Robert Browning would say(perhaps a bit earlier than April)

    O, To be in England
    Now that April ‘s there,
    And whoever wakes in England
    Sees, some morning, unaware,
    That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
    Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
    While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
    In England—now!

  15. Thanks for sharing with us Paul, the house and shop look really nice. It looks like it’s snowing and raining there. Wishing y’all the best in 2016 am looking forward to your next post!

  16. Nice coincidence … Abingdon for decades is twinned with Lucca (Italy) the city where I was born and raised and where my family still resides …
    I hope you are right there!!

  17. Congratulation on what seems to be a successful move, and good luck, to you all, with everything in the coming weeks.
    I’ve just spent 4 days moving stuff out of my living room, just to decorate. Actually packing everything up to move house, as you’ve just done is something I daren’t contemplate. Well done!


    Matt Sims

  18. It all sounds exiciting! Was wondering if the new bench you plan to build might be a more-quickly buildable variation of the Youtube one. Something like a 10-hour build duration one for beginning artisans just starting out. If memory serves, you had mentioned something along these lines.

  19. Congrats, and good luck with your new surroundings. We really enjoyed seeing you at the castle and dining with you and the lovely Liz.
    Incidentally your video on gluing up the tool cabinet almost gave me a nervous break down.
    Best regards, Barb and Dave Crane

  20. So happy for you Paul! I will probably kick myself forever, though, for not getting my act together in time to attend your course while you were still at the castle.

  21. So, does THIS convince the critics that you CAN make and HAVE a GREAT living as a woodworking artist?
    Congratulations on the move – I wish you could have come to the states again, but home is home.
    Thank you for all you do for us, we REALLY appreciate it.

  22. Paul –

    Congratulations. I’ve followed your blog for just over a year now, completed my bench in a 10′ x 8′ basement with 6’2″ ceilings this past fall and have loved every minute of my woodworking thanks to you. More importantly, I find it inspiring to read about the things going on with you and your family and I wish you all the best in your woodworking and in life. Good luck with the move and in starting a new chapter for yourself.

    Thank you!

  23. Hi Paul, If you’ve moved to Abingdon then I’d like to point you in the direction of the Wood Centre just south of Abingdon, this is a small charity that is trying to promote a wood culture in Britain and has just built a new Centre. They are providing workspaces to fledgling and established woodworking businesses and are probably a cause that you would be very interested in. Their website is and I think they still have workspace to rent. They are also looking to promote the use of British timber from our woodlands, something that I think is fantastic to promote.

    If you’re looking for a timber merchants in Abingdon, Adhectic on the Radley road industrial estate aren’t too bad and Deep in Wood just outside Abingdon supply locally sourced timber.

  24. I forgot for nearly 8 months to contact my local Forestry office and change get a new scavenging license last time I moved. This is a great time of year for getting lovely blanks from all the wind-fallen trees that haven’t survived the bad weather. The old forests in Oxfordshire are magical, coming from the quite barren windswept west coast of Scotland I’m often in awe of English Forests.

  25. All the best on the rest of the move for you and yours. Cannot wait to see your new shop in action. I LOVE the fact that my shop is about the same size as your shop. It blows my mind that one of the best woodworkers in the world will be in a somewhat modest shop just kicking butt.

    1. Well, believe it or not I just got an email from someone who said that he was just getting around to “building a little shop in back of his house.” and it was 25′ by 35′ with 10′ ceiling. Talk about slumming it!

      1. 25x35x10′; it’s a hard life for some isn’t it!

        My garage ceiling is so low I occasionally hit my head on it, and it’s not as though I’m particularly tall.

      2. It sure makes me feel better about my 20×20 garage-workshop I have to share with the lawn mower, tires, garbage can and everything else.

      3. Ha! Must be rough. The great thing about a hand-tool shop is that I now have the space I need; I always yearned for a large 60 x 40 shop with 12 foot ceilings so all my machines would have plenty of space and I could maneuver around easily, but now that I’m changing into a hand-tool shop I find that I am getting rid of many of those machines and the space I have is plenty adequate; it’s a great feeling to know that really nothing holds me back from building what I want now with the added benefit of being a BETTER woodworker! 🙂

  26. Hi Paul
    I only found your You Tube videos just before Christmas and now I have finally accepted retirement they have become very pertinent as I now have time, I hope, to get woodworking and woodturning.

    One question concerning your workshop, have you planned where everything is going?

    My wife and i moved house 7 months ago and it involved me moving from a 20′ by 20′ brick garage that I used for my business (storing the wood working tools that I sold and imported from America) plus the odd wood working job into a new property with no garage and a 8′ by 6′ shed.

    I have seen better sheds on bonfires, it has more holes than a colander. I did get permission for a new workshop 16′ by 12′ and it is up and I am now happily ensconced.

    I raise the question about planning the layout because the layout I have now is not at all like I planned. It has gone through three layout changes to what I hope will be the final one. Funnily in moving house I think I have suddenly realised that hand tools offer a better way forward than a shop full of power tools, maybe being retired gives one time to use hand tools.

    Where in the UK have you put down roots, I note that your got your priorities right and sorted the kitchen first.

    Welcome back!

    Radar Roger

  27. Welcome to Abingdon Paul.
    With the school moving to Oxfordshire, me attending one (or more) of your courses is going to be very hard to resist!

  28. Welcome to Abingdon Mr Sellers, Good choice sir, as a life long dweller of this humble town I wish you and your new venture all the best. As a word of advice though. ..Avoid the A34 if you can ! Looking forward to seeing what the new school has to offer and location ?

    1. I am enjoying the brief respite I am getting and trying to discover the walks around the Thames and such. The town is nice enough too. I like small. It is much more aggressive though; cyclists, cars, trucks and buses. Suppose I must get used to that though. Looking more for back roads. Much more crowded, but I do like it and am enjoying the choice we made.

      1. I moved from a house in Sussex to an upstairs apartment in Prague, Cz. It’s surprising what you can get used to and find work-arounds for… Nearly finished building my first workbench (600 x 1200mm is the biggest I can fit in!). No cast iron Bailey planes from car-boot sales here, but the wooden ones commonly available actually work surprisingly well with a bit of tweaking. I wish you and yours happiness in the new location and thank you very much for your generous online help and inspiration to folks like me.

  29. I have watched all your vids, but never new you were in the us all this time I thought you were in the uk. I wish you will post weare you are in the vids

    1. Easy. I live and work in the UK. I lived in the USA for 23 years but have lived back in the UK since 2009. I also teach and travel to teach so I can be in other countries. So far all of the video work ever done is from the UK in our own studio. We employ our own film making team to produce our films, write blogs and articles and then our books too full time.

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